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Sign language-related courses help teachers of Deaf students with new curriculumhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4100Sign language-related courses help teachers of Deaf students with new curriculumLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">Last year, the first South African Sign Language (SASL) curriculum was rolled out nationally in South Africa after it had first been piloted as a project at the De la Bat School for the Deaf in Worcester from 2011 to 2013. Now, thanks to three short courses of the Department of General Linguistics that focus on language teachers, including sign language teachers, those who have to implement this curriculum will also have the necessary skills to do so effectively. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Dr Frenette Southwood of the Department of General Linguistics of Stellenbosch University (SU), the department has been offering shorts courses in the Foundations of Linguistics, Sign Language Linguistics and Literature of SASL to teachers of Deaf learners since the beginning of 2015. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"South African Sign Language is now acknowledged as a first language by the Department of Education, just like Afrikaans and English, and is also taught in schools," says Southwood. SU is one of three academic institutions in South Africa that offers these types of courses.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The courses are intended for language teachers who do not have a sufficient background in linguistics or literature and helps these teachers to interact optimally with the curriculum they have to teach."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The three courses were created after the department presented the first intensive five-day Foundations of Linguistics course to 31 teachers of Deaf learners and staff of the Western Cape Education Department (WCED) in June 2015. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Ms Minna Steyn of the WCED, who also was the project manager of the pilot project at De la Bat, teachers in the Western Cape were provided with basic training by the WCED to implement the new curriculum. A year later, training was done at the national level. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"During the training at national level we realised that there was not enough training that focused on literature and poetry, although these form part of the new curriculum. The idea therefore was to show teachers and teacher assistants how to teach poetry and literature in sign language. I thus was keen to offer our teachers who teach Deaf learners more in-depth training and then discussed the possibilities with the Department of General Linguistics. The ETDP-SETA was then approached to find funding for 30 students to undertake training at Stellenbosch University," says Steyn. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Steyn has been involved with the education of Deaf people for the past three decades and was head of the Thiboloha School for the Deaf and Blind in Qwaqwa in the Free State before being seconded to De la Bat for the launch of the SASL curriculum. She also completed her MA in the SU Department of General Linguistics in December 2015, focusing specifically on language and literacy acquisition by Deaf Foundation Phase learners in her thesis. In a report of the WCED in 2015, she said the following about the implementation of SASL as a first language: "Deaf children who are born into hearing families do not have the privilege of learning language in a natural manner from birth. It is only when they go to school that a Deaf child is exposed to Deaf adults and friends and that they learn sign language. South African Sign Language is the first language of Deaf people in South Africa and is equivalent to any spoken language. It has been proven scientifically that a child's mother tongue must be established firmly and be in place before an additional first language can be mastered."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">During her time at De la Bat she noticed how Deaf learners in the pre-school classes started participating more in lessons because they now had sufficient Sign Language vocabulary to participate more easily thanks to the pilot project. Previously, sign-supported Afrikaans or sign-supported English (these are spoken languages that are converted into signs word for word, some of which were artificial, non-SASL signs) were used as language of teaching and learning in schools for the Deaf. This deprived learners of exposure to SASL in the classroom. With the rolling out of the SASL curriculum, SASL is also implemented as language of learning and teaching in schools for the Deaf – as early as in the preschool classes. Deaf learners' SASL skills therefore are being improved from early on and they have the opportunity to receive their school training in a natural language.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The courses of the Department of General Linguistics accommodate 30 people at a time, who complete the Foundation and Sign Language Linguistics courses over six weeks, with one week of lectures on campus and the rest being done by way of directed self-study and distance teaching. The course on the Literature of South African Sign Language runs over two days and comprises lectures that are presented on the SU campus. According to Southwood, the purpose of the training is to sharpen teachers' knowledge of language and sign language as a language so that they can be better language teachers. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This is not a sector that received much attention in the past and the quality of teaching therefore is not up to standard. There also are some teachers who cannot use sign language fluently but who have to teach in sign language. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"So besides for teachers' sign language skills needing to be improved, they also need to have knowledge of this first language of their learners so that a teacher can be better able, for example, to teach their sign language-using learners English or Afrikaans as language of literacy. Through these courses we help our teachers to do the latter by helping them to understand what language is, how it works and how it is learnt. Our courses cover concepts such as the nature, function and structure of human language, how human languages are used and understood, how they are processed and produced, and how these aspects are applicable to sign language."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Steyn believes that the courses will not only lead to better equipped SASL teachers, but also will raise the profile and visibility of sign language. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"South African Sign Language is a stigmatised language, with rules and principles such as any other language. It therefore helps the image of the language if academic institutions such as Stellenbosch University offer courses on it." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Steyn has herself completed three courses to gain a better idea of the type of training that teachers received by way of the courses. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"There is no other way to describe it other than to say that it is really wonderful for me to know that teachers are now empowered to implement this curriculum with the knowledge that they have received from SU."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Thus far, a total of 61 teachers completed the three courses in June to October 2015, with a further 36 who started training in April 2016. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Steyn is now encouraging other provinces to build up similar co-operation with local universities in their environment and to ensure that teachers are empowered in this manner. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">For Southwood and her colleagues, this co-operation with the WCED also offers many other exciting opportunities for the training of students at US. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Our department is very grateful to be part of this. Sign Language Linguistics is now a section of our second-year module in General Linguistics and we will also offer it as a third-year module from next year. We are also planning to offer Sign Language Acquisition to students as a subject in 2017. We therefore are not only busy strengthening the expertise of current teachers, but also preparing a new generation of students to qualify themselves as teachers of Deaf learners." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">For Steyn, the broader impact of the project, which they started in 2011, is the most important result of a longstanding aim of ensuring that SASL is recognised as a fully-fledged language. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The Deaf child now receives the type of education that prepares him/her academically. My dream is to have SASL as a subject in our mainstream schools and that hearing people are also given an opportunity to learn sign language."</p><p><em>Photo: Nine Deaf students (of whom seven are teachers of Deaf students) completed the courses in Foundations of Linguistics, Sign Language Linguistics and Literature of SASL in March and received a certificate from Stellenbosch University. Mr Christopher Dontsa (fourth from left) completed all three courses. In front, from left, are Prof Johan Oosthuizen, Ms Annette Humphrey-Heyns, Nodumo Same, Christopher Dontsa, Phumla Mosia, Ncumisa Loliwe, Andiswa Fayindlala, Lazya le Roux, and Dr Frenette Southwood. At the back are Christoffer Galada and Simon Ndaba.</em></p>
Faculty's centenary celebration highlights art and social sciences contribution to shaping our worldhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6066Faculty's centenary celebration highlights art and social sciences contribution to shaping our worldLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">​“The faculty has had an interesting trajectory since its inception, even before the formal establishment of SU in 1918. It was  the first faculty to appoint a woman at the professorial level, but has not escaped controversy. During the apartheid years, some academics supported government policies, but notably there were also strong critical voices of opposition." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">These were the words of the Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Prof Anthony Leysens, at the 100<sup>th</sup> anniversary of the faculty which 300 students, alumni, staff and the general public attended.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“These forms of opposition is perhaps most vividly demonstrated by the public debates between the “verligtes" and “verkramptes". In February 2013, a request from a young anthropologist and doctoral candidate to the SU Museum to gain access to a case bearing Eugen Fischer's name led to the discovery of a human skull and instruments used to measure human hair and eye types.  Fischer was a Nazi eugenicist of the 1930s and this discovery unearthed another aspect of our troubled history which pointed to eugenics," said Leysens.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Today our faculty is at the forefront of wide-ranging transformation, as illustrated by the “Indexing the Human" and the “Indexing Transformation" projects. Both grapple in a real sense with the issues which were raised during the student protests of 2015-2016. There is also the African Open Institute, an innovative groundbreaking initiative to research and embrace our music in all its richness and variety, while our Graduate School has delivered 114 doctoral graduate since its inception, all of whom have gone on to become academic leaders of note on the continent."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">As part of the celebrations, guests were treated to music by the jazz band <em>Ecclesia, </em>which comprises students from the Music Department's Certificate Programme and a performance by Ms Ncebakazi Mnukwana from the Music Department, who played the uHadi and uMrhubhe bows. <em>Ecclesia's </em>band members consist of Mark Lynch (saxophone), Thabang Sithole (trombone), Joshua America (guitar), Brent January (guitar), Dillon Cornelius (electric bass), Melisizwe Plaatjie (keyboard), and David Jones (drumkit).</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The musical performances were followed by three panel discussions focused on <em>Spectres of Racial Science: From Rehoboth in Colonial Namibia to Berlin, Stellenbosch and beyond</em>, <em>Art as Protest and Social Change</em>, and <em>Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the future of jobs, ethics and machines taking over.</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Participants in the <em>Spectres of Racial Science</em> panel included  guest lecturer and teaching assistant in the Sociology and Social Anthropology Department at SU, Ms Vanessa Mpatlanyane; Ms Nomzamo Ntombela, a final-year student studying towards a BA in Humanities degree with majors in Anthropology and Sociology; Prof Steven Robins from the Sociology and Social Anthropology Department at SU; Maties alumnus Dr Handri Walters; and Dr Rudi Buys, the Dean of Humanities at Cornerstone Institute who is also a Matie alumnus.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Dr Leslie van Rooi, the Senior Director: Social Impact and Transformation, and Ms Stephané Conradie, a lecturer in the Visual Arts Department at SU who was also a member of Open Stellenbosch and an organiser of artist interventions that took place during 2015; focused on Art as Protest and Social Change. Van Rooi is responsible for, amongst others, coordinating visual redress at SU. He is also responsible for the SU Woordfees and the SU Museum.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The <em>Artificial Intelligence (AI) </em>panel included Prof Bruce Watson, the Chair of the Information Science Department in the faculty; Mr Marc Tison, a Matie alumnus and Chief Operating Officer at Zing Holdings; and Dr Martin Berglund, a postdoctoral fellow at SU from Umeå University in Sweden.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Conradie started off the <em>Art as Protest</em> panel discussion by providing guests with background to the #FeesMustFall student protests, explaining how from  May 2015 until early 2016, the student activist Open Stellenbosch protested the lack of post-1994 institutional transformation at SU highlighting, amongst other things, the discriminatory ways in which the then official university language policy (2014) was implemented at the university. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In Open Stellenbosch and during the #FeesMustFall student protests, art was used as a way to signify or allude to the misgivings students had with the university institution."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Added Van Rooi: “This panel has allowed us to shed light on life at SU post #FeesMustFall. As such it allowed us the opportunity to reflect on what has changed and what still need to change. In all of this the critical role that Arts can and should play in discourse must be highlighted and appreciated."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Robins started off the discussions for the <em>Spectres of Racial Science</em> panel highlighting his own research of his family history which traced the final years of his grandparents', aunts' and uncle's lives during the Holocaust. His research was sparked by a photograph of his grandmother, Cecilie, and his aunts, Edith and Hildegard, displayed in his family home and led to the publication of the book <em>Letters of Stone, </em>which provides a deeply personal and painful reflection of the true horror and extent of the Nazis' racial policies against Jews.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The rest of the panel discussion focused on the role of eugenics as a “travelling science" and broader questions concerning the legacies of the forms of knowledge and institutional culture produced at Stellenbosch University and other universities in South Africa. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Such reflection on institutional histories poses important questions that might move us forward in our commitment to present-day transformation," said the panellists. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Tison, Berglund and Watson provided guests with some interesting insight into the developments within the artificial intelligence field and also responded to issues raised by guests. One of those issues included the discovery that an AI recruitment tool developed by Amazon.com Inc to review job applications to find the best candidates for employment was biased towards women. According to Reuters, “computer models were trained to vet applicants by observing patterns in resumes submitted to the company over a 10-year period" however, most of these resumes had come from men, reflecting “male dominance across the tech industry. The tool was eventually terminated. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“That was rather concerning," said Watson. “Most people have a reductionist idea of what knowledge is when speaking about artificial intelligence. Knowledge is experiences that are shot into a computer system. However, before all the learning takes place, it is still possible that even if someone with good morals was doing the teaching, you could have an unforeseen outcome. For example, we can teach our kids good morals, but some things are picked up inadvertently. So you may find a kid swearing because they heard it from a peer or making ill-informed decisions. It is much the same with machine learning, however, unlike with kids, you are able to get into the system and still wipe the slate clean." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Tison shared some of the work he has been doing in Africa to bring affordable banking and micro insurance to individuals on the continent who were unbanked and uninsured.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Our product, which is a digital coin that can be used to purchase any goods and rewards customers with free insurance life cover, was launched on the 10 September this year, and by the end of September, we already had 120 000 customers who had signed up. So we are using AI all the time to manage claims, to do predictive analysis of fraudulent claims and to embed efficiencies by automating processes. It is not something that was  invented in the last few years."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Speaking to the guests, Leysens also shared the vision of the faculty going forward. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Ultimately, we want to maintain and continue to be excellent. In this sense the essence of the faculty is the richness and diversity of its academic project and the quality of its academic and support staff and I want to express my appreciation for their dedication under what have been challenging times within the higher education sector," said Leysens. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I also believe that our identity must be shaped by where we are –  locally, nationally, and continentally – and supported by the idea that “I think where I am" in order to address the  challenges of where we are without divorcing ourselves from the global storehouse of knowledge and its associated networks."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Leysens further explained that the faculty was currently concentrating on the renewal of its academic offering, “ not to primarily address the demands for cost-effectiveness, but with our eyes on the rapidly changing world of work and the relevancy of a humanities degree."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I believe that our aim must be to provide and return to a broad-based and inter-disciplinary humanities education which allows our graduates to, in the words of a recent book by George Anders, “go anywhere"."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“The graduate attributes of such a humanities graduate should be: Independence, adaptability, challenging conventional answers, innovative thinking, insight and understanding of complexity, and being able to apply their minds to problem-solving within a group and inter-cultural context.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">He added that “academic renewal in the humanities must confront the realities of the fourth industrial revolution" and that we needed to “accept that students require a basic literacy in data science and an introduction to its applications in the digital humanities".<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">​“Ethical considerations in data science projects cannot be considered outside of the technical work, nor can they be considered late in, or after a project has been completed. They are integral. The role of the humanities is just as integral and has wide-ranging applications."<br><em><br>Photo: Guests that attended the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences' Centenary Celebrations could choose to attend one of three panel discussions on art as protest, racial science, or artificial intelligence. They also enjoyed traditional music during the event. (Lynne Rippenaar-Moses)</em><br></p>
SU names building after Krotoahttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=8515SU names building after KrotoaCorporate Communication and Marketing Division<p>​The RW Wilcocks building of Stellenbosch University (SU) has been renamed the Krotoa building. This building on the Stellenbosch campus houses the departments of History and Psychology, the Division of Research Development, SU International, the SU Archives, as well as the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology.<br></p><p>Krotoa (1642–1674), a woman of the Khoe people, lived at the Cape in the time of Jan van Riebeeck, who came to establish a settlement for the Dutch East India Company (the VOC) at the tip of Africa in 1652. Named “Eva" by the Dutch, Krotoa served as, among others, an interpreter and interlocutor between her people and the VOC. <a href="https://www.sahistory.org.za/site-search?search_api_fulltext=krotoa"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">Click here</strong></a> to read more about her.</p><p>SU's Executive Committee of Council (EC(C)) approved the renaming at its meeting of 16 August 2021 after the Rectorate received a shortlist of proposals from the Committee for the Naming of Buildings, Venues and Other Facilities/Premises in June. Following extensive debate and taking various aspects into consideration, including Krotoa's complex personal history, the Rectorate proposed the name to the EC(C). </p><p>“The name Krotoa is particularly significant now that we are celebrating Women's Month. Apart from a few residences, no SU buildings have previously been named after women," says Dr Ronel Retief, Registrar and chair of the Naming Committee. </p><p>“The Rectorate also considered it important that the name, although linked to a historical figure, has symbolic value and, as such, represents more than simply a person. The name Krotoa is not only linked to a woman, but also to an entire underrepresented group of people indigenous to Southern Africa and the area now known as the Western Cape. As such, it acknowledges the heritage of the First Nation people of our region, and we also acknowledge something of our shared and complex history.</p><p>“In addition, Krotoa's role as interpreter between different cultural and language groups is a demonstration of bridge building, which is particularly relevant to conversations on multilingualism, inclusivity and creating a mutual understanding between different groups of people," Retief concludes. </p><p>“So, with this name, we wish to send a strong message about our commitment to transformation and redress at SU."</p><p>Dr Leslie van Rooi, Senior Director of Social Impact and Transformation, and member of both SU's Visual Redress and Naming committees, adds: “SU acknowledges the role and place of the First Nation people in the broader history of Southern Africa. The significance of linking the name Krotoa to a prominent building on campus should also be understood against the backdrop of ongoing conversations about supporting and formalising Khoekhoegowab language-related courses at SU. </p><p>“SU decided in 2019 already to call the new dining hall of Goldfields residence Sada Oms, a Khoekhoegowab term for 'our home'. Therefore, this added symbolic acknowledgement through the Krotoa building forms part of our ongoing partnership and engagement with the First Nation people of Southern Africa.</p><p>“Conversations about the name, also with the relevant Khoe structures, gives recognition to Krotoa as an important figure, but does not ignore her complex, tragic history as a person."</p><p>Installations contextualising both the Wilcocks and the Krotoa stories are being planned for inside and outside the building.</p><p><strong>Process</strong></p><p>Back in 2019 already, the Rectorate gave approval for the Registrar and the Senior Director of Social Impact and Transformation to follow an institutional and inclusive process for the renaming of the Wilcocks building.</p><p>As part of the process, various stakeholders were interviewed. The University also notified more than 100 community organisations and institutions of the planned renaming. These included the Stellenbosch Co-management Forum (including Die Vlakte Forum), Stellenbosch Municipality, the Western Cape Education Department (Stellenbosch), the Stellenbosch Civil Advocacy Network, and the Stellenbosch Ratepayers' Association, all of whom have seats on the University's Institutional Forum.</p><p>A <a href="/english/rw-wilcocks-building"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">call for proposals</strong></a> was distributed among all staff and students as well as members of the community (as represented by the structures serving on SU's Institutional Forum) in July 2020. In October 2020, the Naming Committee, which had been expanded for the purpose of renaming the RW Wilcocks building, agreed on the process to arrive at a short list. The 17 proposals received were subsequently whittled down to the most suitable options, which were presented to the Rectorate. </p><p>The Rectorate also requested that the relevant stakeholder groups be approached to determine whether there would be any opposition to using the name Krotoa in the context of SU. Keen support for the use of the name was expressed by the relevant leaders and representatives of the First Nations structures.</p><p>A date for the unveiling of the new name is yet to be determined. In the meantime, SU's new Visual Redress Policy will serve before Council for approval in September. </p><p><strong>More information</strong></p><p>The RW Wilcocks building was opened in 1966 and named after Prof Raymond William Wilcocks, who was Rector of the University from 1935 to 1954.</p><p>The renaming of the RW Wilcocks building forms part of a long-term and extensive visual redress process on SU's campuses in an attempt not only to remove certain symbols, but also to introduce new visual symbols that point to a shared history, our diverse stories, and public spaces that are welcoming to all.</p><p>This process was launched a few years ago, and much progress has been made in recent years to create student and staff-friendly living and work spaces that meet the needs of a diverse group of students, staff and other stakeholders, and at the same time promote a welcoming campus culture.</p><p><strong>Recent name changes at SU:</strong></p><p>Some name changes over the past few years include the Coetzenburg Centre (previously the DF Malan Centre), the Stellenbosch University Library (previously JS Gericke Library), the <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6115"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">Adam Small​ Theatre Complex</strong></a> (previously HB Thom Theatre), <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5997"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">Pieter ​Okkers House</strong></a> (7 Joubert Street, now named after the first resident of the building, Mr Pieter JA Okkers, 1875-1952) and <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5315"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">Simon N​koli House</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1"> </strong>(39 Victoria Street).</p><p>Recently constructed buildings have been given the following names: Russel Botman House (named after the late Prof Russel Botman), Ubuntu House, <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5662"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">Nk​osi Johnson House</strong></a> and the <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5422"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">Jan</strong> <strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">Mouton Learning Centre</strong></a>.</p><p><strong>Other recent projects:</strong></p><ul><li><a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6690"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">“The Circle</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">"</strong>, a bronze art installation featuring 11 phenomenal South African women thought leaders (including Krotoa), which was erected on the Rooiplein towards the end of 2019</li><li>Welcoming messages carved on benches in public areas on campus in 15 languages, including in Braille, South African Sign Language and San</li><li>Installation of a map of Die Vlakte at the entrance of the Arts and Social Sciences building, which is built on land from where families were evicted under the Group Areas Act in the 1960s</li><li>The creation of the <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6727"><strong class="ms-rteForeColor-1">Lückhoff Living Museum</strong></a></li><li>Displaying the University's Centenary restitution statement at the SU Library<br><br><br></li></ul>
SU again among leading universities on QS subject rankingshttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=10562SU again among leading universities on QS subject rankingsCorporate Communication and Marketing/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking<p>​​​​Stellenbosch University (SU) is once again among the leading higher education institutions globally in the broad subject areas of Life Science and Medicine, Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences, Social Sciences and Management, and Engineering & Technology. This is according to the <a href="https://www.topuniversities.com/subject-rankings"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">2024 Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings by Subject</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"> </strong>released on Wednesday (10 April 2024).<br></p><p>For the 2024 edition, 1,559 institutions have been ranked across 55 individual subjects in the abovementioned five broad subject areas.</p><p>SU is ranked in the top 250 in Life Science and Medicine, top 350 in Arts and Humanities, top 450 in Natural Sciences, top 400 in Social Sciences and Management, and top 500 in Engineering & Technology. </p><p>SU improved in three of the five broad subject areas in South Africa. It occupies the second position in Life Science and Medicine, and Arts and Humanities, the third spot in Natural Sciences, and the fourth place in Engineering & Technology (the same as in 2023) and Social Sciences and Management (the same as in 2023).</p><p><strong>SA's best in Agriculture, Theology</strong></p><p>As far as specific subject categories are concerned, SU is still the leading tertiary institution in South Africa in Agriculture & Forestry (top 100 globally) and Theology, Divinity & Religious Studies (top 140 in the world). It is also among the top three in Development Studies (top 100), English Language & Literature (top 250), Engineering (Chemical – top 350, Electrical & Electronic – top 530, Mechanical, Aeronautical & Manufacturing – top 400), Biological Sciences (top 350), Environmental Sciences (top  250), Mathematics (top 550), Economics & Econometrics (top 400), Education and Law (both in the top 350). Overall, SU improved in four subject categories, kept the same position in seven, and moved down in five.</p><p><strong>Indicators</strong></p><p>The QS subject tables use academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper, H-index and international research network (IRN) to rank universities. The first two of these are based on global surveys of academics and employers that are used to assess an institution's international reputation in each subject. Research citations per paper measures the average number of citations obtained per publication, and is an estimate of the impact and quality of the scientific work done by universities. The H-index assesses the stability of impact and quality of the work published by an institution's academics. The IRN is a measure a university's efficiency of establishing stable research collaborations in each of the five broad subject areas.</p><p>Over the last few years, SU has been consistently ranked among the best tertiary institutions globally on the <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9049"><span class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0"><strong>QS World University Rankings by Subjec</strong><strong>t</strong></span></a>, the <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=8646"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">Times Higher Education World University Subject Rankings</strong></a>, and <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9329"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0">the ShanghaiRanking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects</strong></a>.<br></p><p>​<br></p>
Mental illnesses among youth often ignored, says SU experthttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5995Mental illnesses among youth often ignored, says SU expertCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Alec Basson]<p>​Young people with mental health problems, especially those in low- and middle-income countries, are often being left in the lurch when they need help. They don't always get the necessary treatment despite the fact that mental illnesses among young people are on the increase globally. <br></p><p>“Mental health problems among young people are serious. If left untreated, they can adversely impact young people's social, personal and academic development. Young people with mental illnesses also face problems with social stigma, isolation and discrimination," says Dr Jason Bantjes a senior lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Stellenbosch University (SU). Bantjes does research on the suicide prevention and the promotion of mental health. His work is supported by a grant from the South African Medical Research Council.<br></p><p>Bantjes says it would be naive to think that young people do not develop serious mental health problems like anxiety disorders and depression. Young people are also prone to stress- and trauma-related disorders, and behavioural disorders, including problems with attention and impulse control. <br></p><p>“The fact that the theme for this year's World Mental Health Day (10 October) is 'Young people and mental health in a changing world,' shows that this is much more serious than we may think."</p><p>Bantjes also points to studies that highlight the gravity of the situation.<br></p><p>“The World Health Organisation reports that worldwide between 10 and 20% of children and adolescents have mental health problems. Approximately half of all mental illnesses begin by the age of 14 and three-quarters start by the time an individual is in his/her mid-20s, although these often go undiagnosed and untreated."<img class="ms-rtePosition-2" alt="SU Student Mental Health Infographic-english.jpg" src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/SU%20Student%20Mental%20Health%20Infographic-english.jpg" style="margin:5px;width:476px;height:333px;" /><br></p><p>“A large international study found that one-fifth (20.3%) of university students experienced a mental disorder in the previous 12 months; 83.1% of these cases had pre-matriculation onsets."<br></p><p>“Ongoing research as part of the Caring Universities Project, undertaken by a consortium of researchers from UCT and SU, suggest that only about only about one fifth of first-year students with a mental health problem receive treatment."<br></p><p>“Closer to home, a study of school-aged children in Cape Town found that 22.2% of children met diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder."<br></p><p>While genetic factors and temperament play a role in predisposing young people to mental illness, Bantjes says there's evidence that early childhood adversity makes individuals vulnerable to mental and physical health problems.  He adds that the psychological wellbeing of children also suffers when their parents have untreated mental health problems.<br></p><p>Bantjes says it remains a concern that in many parts of the developing world, young people with mental illness struggle to access effective evidence-based mental health care and face the possibility of exclusion from educational institutions. <br></p><p>“Left untreated childhood mental disorders persist into adulthood and cause impairments in both physical and mental health. Longstanding mental health problems impede a person's ability to lead a fulfilling live, form mutually satisfying relationships, and be an active engaged member of their communities."<br></p><p>According to Bantjes, there are many reasons why so many young people with mental health problems do not receive the help they need.  <br></p><p>“Common barriers to accessing care in low- and middle-income countries include ignorance about the signs and symptoms of childhood disorders, a lack of understanding about children's emotional and attachment needs, a lack of suitably qualified mental health professionals, and inadequate child and adolescent mental health services."<br></p><p>He says it is not always easy to recognise a young person with a mental illness. <br></p><p>“Sometimes we dismiss the signs and symptoms and think that the person is being demanding or is just going through a 'difficult phase'."  <br></p><p>“When it comes to children who need psychological care, it is not uncommon for them to be labelled as naughty or uncooperative by those who don't understand the emotional needs of children and don't recognise that children sometimes use challenging behaviour to communicate psychological distress." <br></p><p>Bantjes calls for accessible, affordable and effective psychiatric and mental health care services for young people and their families, as early intervention and the provision of evidence-based treatments is one of the cornerstones of promoting mental health.<br></p><p>“Schools, universities and families have an important role to play in facilitating young people's social and psychological development and building their resilience. We need schools and universities which are safe, free of bullying, and where young people can find a sense of belonging and connectedness."<br></p><p>Bantjes says we must help young people learn interpersonal skills, so that they foster mutually satisfying relationships, since interpersonal connections act as buffers against the vicissitudes of life.<br></p><ul><li>​Photo courtesy of Pixabay.<br></li><li>Infographic by Nicolas Dorfling (Corporate Communication Division).<br></li></ul><p><strong>FOR MEDIA ENQUIRIES ONLY</strong></p><p>Dr Jason Bantjes</p><p>Department of Psychology</p><p>Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences<br></p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 2665<br></p><p>E-mail: <a href="mailto:jbantjes@sun.ac.za">jbantjes@sun.ac.za</a>    </p><p><strong> </strong><strong>       ISSUED BY</strong></p><p>Martin Viljoen<br></p><p>Manager: Media</p><p>Corporate Communication</p><p>Stellenbosch University</p><p>Tel: 021 808 4921</p><p>E-mail: <a href="mailto:viljoenm@sun.ac.za">viljoenm@sun.ac.za</a>  </p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p><p><br> </p>
New Afrikaans thesaurus result of more than 20 years’ workhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=8265New Afrikaans thesaurus result of more than 20 years’ workCorporate Communication & Marketing / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie & Bemarking [Alec Basson]<p>“Afrikaans is as alive as never before, it grows, it surges and it growls, it struggles, but it grows all the time, literally every day."<br></p><p>This is according to the former Director of the Stellenbosch University (SU) Language Centre, Prof Leon de Stadler. He was speaking at a lunch discussion last week (14 May 2021) with Prof Rufus Gouws of SU's Department of Afrikaans and Dutch at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. The topic of the discussion was the revised edition of the <em>Tesourus van Afrikaans</em> (Thesaurus of Afrikaans) that was published earlier this year. This was the first revised edition since 1994 and published by Pharos which is a publishing name of NB Publishers.</p><p>De Stadler, also previously associated with the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, worked with his wife, Amanda, to update the Afrikaans thesaurus. When the idea for the revised edition took hold in the 1980s, they consulted many thesauruses and finally decided to use Dr L Brouwers and Dr F Claes' <em>Het Juiste Woord</em>, the largest inventory of synonyms, style and meaning variants, expressions and contradictions in Dutch, as a guideline. They had to adapt the underlying conceptual structure of the thesaurus to reflect the Afrikaans living world. As part of the revision of the thesaurus, the structure was kept but the internal organisation of thesaurus articles was renewed and improved.<img src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/Leon_Amanda-de-Stadler-Pharos.jpg" alt="Leon_Amanda-de-Stadler-Pharos.jpg" class="ms-rtePosition-2" style="margin:5px;width:535px;height:305px;" /><br></p><p>The new edition of the <em>Tesourus van Afrikaans</em> contains more than 140 000 entries in 855 fields of meaning, of which 20 000 are new entries. It has cross-references, idioms, fixed expressions and also more varieties of Afrikaans. </p><p>“Since the appearance of the Thesaurus in 1994, the Afrikaans vocabulary has grown in leaps and bounds –  think for example about the vocabulary that relates to modern technology, but especially also in the current era of the pandemic vocabulary that has enriched the language," said De Stadler.</p><p>​“And the irony is that the language continues to grow every day: When the manuscript was already on its way to the printers, new words emerged that were not included in the current edition. These include words such as bioborrel, druppeloordraagbaar, superverspreider, afstandskepping, voetgroet, elmboogkug, superverspreidergeleentheid."<br></p><p>De Stadler added that they especially enjoyed being able to focus on the varieties of the language such as annerlik, jits, newwer, newwermaaind, nema, voorlik, omtes, oralster, klossie (kleinhuisie), moewies, habba, piemp, liksens, mouter, skorro-skorro, loslappie, komvandaan, barakat, ottermaklottertjie, boom en koelpatats (marijuana), madjat, sjoekran, properse, sterkgevreet (sterkgevriet) (sterk van gees). These words highlight the richness of the Afrikaans vocabulary.</p><p>“It was important to give recognition to the varieties and make it clear that we have to pay attention to them. We still have to do more, of course – the more than 300 entries are just a start."<br></p><p>De Stadler said that while working on the project, he became aware of Afrikaans as a living language. According to him, the revised thesaurus proves that it is not busy dying out. According to him, the revised thesaurus shows in dramatic fashion how alive the language is.<br></p><p>“It was fascinating to see what had happened to Afrikaans in a period of more than 20 years. The language lives, you can feel its pulse all the time. The revised thesaurus is about the beating of the heart of Afrikaans and the revised thesaurus lets you hear this heartbeat in the more than 20 000 new entries."<br></p><p>“I have bad news for anyone who wants to make you believe that Afrikaans is dying. It simply isn't true."<br></p><p>De Stadler believes that everyone who writes will benefit from the revised thesaurus. He added that there are also other “spaces" where it could be used. <br></p><p>“It was a joy to see that the book attracted the attention of teachers and that they wanted to know more about how it could be used in the classroom." </p><p>De Stadler said they have been invited for interviews with teachers to share with them how to utilise the thesaurus to the benefit of the children.</p><ul><li>The <em>Tesourus van Afrikaans</em> costs R450 and is available at leading bookstores as well as online at Takelot and Amazon Books.</li></ul><p><strong>Photo</strong>: Prof Leon de Stadler (left) and his wife Amanda hand over a copy of the <em>Tesourus van Afrikaans</em> to Philip de Vos who has been supporting the dictionary for many years.<br></p><p>​<br></p>
Polyandry strikes at the heart of patriarchyhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=8300Polyandry strikes at the heart of patriarchyLize Mills & Amanda Gouws<p></p><p>Polyandry gets men hot under the collar because it strikes at the heart of patriarchy and can break their monopoly over women's sexuality, domestic and care labour, and their property. This is the view of Dr Lize Mills (Department of Private Law) and Prof Amanda Gouws (Department of Political Science) in an opinion piece for <em>Daily Maverick</em> (1 June).</p><ul><li>​Read the article below or click <a href="https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2021-06-01-mostly-men-are-up-in-arms-over-polyandry-because-it-strikes-at-the-heart-of-patriarchy/"><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style="">here</strong></a><strong class="ms-rteThemeForeColor-5-0" style=""> </strong>for the piece as published.<br></li></ul><p><strong>Lize Mills and Amanda Gouws*</strong><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In South Africa, there are men who have as many as ten wives according to polygynous marriage practice that is legal in South Africa. But when women desire to have more than one husband, also called polyandry, all hell breaks loose. Or this is what the reaction to the mere mention in the Green Paper, published by the Department of Home Affairs in May this year, that “activists submitted that equality demands that polyandry be legally recognised as a form of marriage" shows. Mostly men are up in arms. Some have claimed that polyandry will “destroy family values", “has never existed" and will demand more DNA tests to determine who the father of a child is.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Hence, a woman must never be allowed to have more than one husband, let alone ten. Nor must same-sex partners be able to have more than one spouse. What is good for the gander, cannot be good for the goose.  What this means is that South Africa must ignore section 9 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996; the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, 4 of 2000; the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa 2003; and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979 (CEDAW), all confirming women's equality, because the social evils that will follow will be too much to bear. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, a study published in 2012 by Starkweather and Hames of 53 societies outside of the classical Himalayan and Marquesean area that permit polyandrous unions, found that polyandry may have existed throughout human evolutionary history. Polyandry, which is also practiced in parts of Nigeria, Cameroon and Kenya, becomes more likely where the operational sex ratio is male-biased (there are more men than women in the society), environmental resources are scarce (it is believed to limit population growth and enhance child survival) or men are forced into prolonged absences from home. In these societies, men are committed to be involved in the raising of children, because the children belong to all of them (no man can be certain of his paternity), and in the case of fraternal polyandry (brothers who marry the same wife), a joint estate remains intact from generation to generation.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The benefits of polyandry show that because there is no single (male) authority in polyandrous households, power is dispersed through the union.  Property is usually owned collectively which means that nobody is excluded from property ownership, even after one of the husbands dies. These unions are also economically more prosperous because women are not economically dependent on one man. Paternity is not located in who fathered the child but in the knowledge that any of the men can be the father and therefore fathering is a social and collective issue and men are more committed to be involved in child rearing. Children and property belong to families not individuals. As far as women are concerned, it gives them more agency (decision making capacity) and control over their sexuality and their bodies. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In May 2021, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women again expressed its concern regarding the “alarmingly high" levels of domestic violence and femicide in South Africa. In several of its reports, it has called for the abolition of polygamy since it has “grave ramifications" for the human rights of women. Their 2021 report was issued following information that was submitted by several NGOs working with female victims of violence, pointing out that the extraordinary levels of gender-based violence in this country are also exacerbated by polygyny. In fact, in a joint general recommendation in 2014, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and the Committee on the Rights of the Child discussed the relationship between polygynous relationships and violence against women and children, criticising “[c]onstitutional and other provisions that protect the right to culture and religion … used to justify laws and practices that allow for polygamous unions". The South African Recognition of Customary Marriages Act of 1998 allows for polygynous unions. By permitting only polygyny, the Government is contravening Article 5(a) of CEDAW, an international legal instrument that the country ratified in 1995, and thus negating to take appropriate measures “[t]o modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, with a view to achieving the elimination of prejudices and customary and all other practices which are based on the idea of the inferiority or the superiority of either of the sexes or on stereotyped roles for men and women". <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">So, why is the reaction of men so stark when it comes to polyandry? We argue that polyandry is deeply threatening because it poses a challenge that strikes at the heart of patriarchy. In most heterosexual relationships a man enjoys a monopoly over his wife's sexuality, domestic and care labour and her property and can claim a right to children born of that union.  A father therefore can know with great certainty who his children are. Polyandry diminishes male dominance and the control over women's sexuality, something that is integral to patriarchy. In her landmark article “The Traffic in Women: Notes and the 'Political Economy' of Sex" (1975) Gayle Ruben (a cultural anthropologist) argues that we need to understand kinship relationships and how women fit into “gift transactions". Women are the objects of exchange in monogamous or polygamous marriages.  As she puts it - women are given in marriage (the father gives his daughter away), taken in battle, exchanged for favours, traded, bought and sold, or forced into arranged marriages.  In this gift exchange men dispose of women, but women cannot dispose of men, giving men power over women.  But more than merely the exchange of women, kinship systems also exchange sexual access, genealogical statuses, lineage names and ancestors in concrete systems of social relationships.  It spells out the rights of men in relation to women - this is embedded in the power and the control over women's sexuality that determines how families are constructed and governed.  What polyandry does is that it undermines these power relations, prevents control over women's sexuality and enhances women's agency, at the same time as it demands of men to care for their children.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Polygamy and polyandry therefore are not symmetrical systems, because polygamy gives men access to more than one woman to satisfy his sexual needs, with the benefit of having multiple wives rearing his children, very often with little help from his side. Research shows that polyandry, on the other hand, is more egalitarian, ensures greater care equality and more harmonious relationships between all parties involved. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">By legalising polyandry nobody will be forced into such marriages. It will be a matter of personal decision, just like same sex marriages is a personal decision.  It is time that South Africans who still oppose same sex marriages and now polyandrous marriages reflect on their attitudes that are deeply sexist, homophobic, unconstitutional and offensive.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>*</em><em>Dr Lize Mills is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law at Stellenbosch University (SU). </em><em>Prof Amanda Gouws is the SARChI Chair in Gender Politics at SU.</em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>​ ​</em></p><p>​<br></p>
Dr Khosa conquers PhD 'obstacle course'https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=9038Dr Khosa conquers PhD 'obstacle course'Sue Segar<p>Graduating with her PhD in Social Work from Stellenbosch University (SU) yesterday (6 April), Priscalia Khosa was not only celebrating her academic achievement but also her victory over numerous personal challenges and obstacles to reach this point.<br></p><p>This mother of three children aged 7, 8 and 11 completed her doctoral studies whilst juggling being a full-time academic, residence head, and mentor for her students. And as her husband was attending to his businesses in Johannesburg, all household and Covid-induced homeschooling responsibilities were hers too. “It was a case of trying to ensure that I fulfilled all my roles to the best of my ability," she says.</p><p>This was no easy task. As an academic and mentor, she had to be available to advise her students, while navigating the extraordinary circumstances brought about by Covid-19. As residence head of Sonop, which is home to approximately 260 female students, she had both administrative responsibilities and the duty to offer guidance and emotional support to students.  </p><p>Priscalia and her children moved from Johannesburg, where the family lived previously, to Stellenbosch for her PhD, while husband Wisani, an entrepreneur, stayed behind. He joined the family in Stellenbosch earlier this year. “I started my PhD in 2019. So, while I was still trying to find my feet in my new environment, the pandemic hit," Priscalia recounts. “That brought its own challenges. While many students left campus, some stayed in the residence. I had to do daily check-ins with them and make sure they were mentally, physically and academically OK. And I had to build a sense of community to make sure they did not feel alone."</p><p>The pandemic also meant that she had to supervise her children at home when schools closed. “I had three kids in the house all day long during the lockdown. There was limited quiet time for academic work and to focus on my PhD," she says. “When restrictions eased, the children went back to school on alternate days. Homeschooling them while trying to find the time to work on my dissertation was extremely challenging. I tried to catch up on my work in between helping them. I had to completely change my work routine and would sometimes work through the night because that was the only quiet time I could get," she said. But she displayed resilience and steely commitment and stayed the course. “I thrived against all odds!" Priscalia smiles.</p><p>For her PhD, she studied the implementation of the supervision framework for the social work profession in South Africa by a designated child protection organisation. Priscalia has published widely in the field of social work, and also supervises master's students researching gender-based violence as well as social work in school and medical settings. In addition, she was recently selected as one of two seminar exchange fellows under the Ubuntu Dialogues project. This exchange programme between SU and Michigan State University in the United States was set up in 2019 to build bridges between young people in South Africa and the States.</p><p>Originally from rural Limpopo, Priscalia says both her husband and her mother, Emily, were pillars of strength throughout this challenging journey. “From the get-go, my husband was supportive. He understood completely how difficult it was for a woman to pursue what I was doing. And my mother kept telling me I was not getting enough sleep!"</p><p>Asked what personal resources she drew on to get through all her challenges, she says: “I love what I do. Each of my roles gives me so much satisfaction. Yes, it takes physical and mental energy, but it's all worth it. So, I guess what kept me going was my passion for what I do."</p><p><strong>Photographer: </strong>Stefan Els</p><p>​<br></p>
Study shows how Afrikaans music recordings reflect the country’s historyhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4099Study shows how Afrikaans music recordings reflect the country’s historyLynne Rippenaar-Moses<p style="text-align:justify;">"While many researchers who write about South Africa's history view history from a political perspective, my research is an attempt to look at the history from an entirely different perspective. Music offers that other lens. Many people listen to music, and my research shows that there is a link between the music we listen to and the values we hold." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">This is the view of Dr Schalk van der Merwe, who is not only a lecturer but also a freelance bass guitar player, on his research on the history of Afrikaans music in South Africa that he did as part of his doctoral thesis in the History Department. Van der Merwe obtained his PhD degree from Stellenbosch University in December last year. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"It was my attempt to look at ordinary people," says Van der Merwe.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">His thesis analyses the interaction between political events and popular music, with specific reference to recorded Afrikaans music over the last 115 years. It started with the first recordings of the national folk songs of the Boer republics during the Anglo-Boer War and concluded with expressions of racial exclusivity in post-apartheid Afrikaans pop music. His research provides examples of the support of, and resistance against, the master narrative of Afrikaner nationalism as it existed for large parts of the twentieth century, and also provides examples of how these values still are manifested in the present. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"By using popular music as a lens, a clearer idea could be obtained of the lives of ordinary people, viewed against the background of fundamental social and political change. By creating an overview of popular music over a long historical period, certain noticeable themes in the development of Afrikaner culture over this period – for example class tension and the repeated attempts of cultural nationalistic entrepreneurs to co-opt popular Afrikaans music for the Afrikaner nationalistic project – are exposed," he explains. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The first Afrikaans music recordings, says Van der Merwe, were recorded by musicians who lived in London in the early 1900s. By studying that music he could look at how these artists depicted their identity at that time. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"It was clear from music and correspondence that some of them were stalwart nationalists and also supporters of Hertzog. In my investigation I therefore did not concentrate on what the music sounded like, but at how the political history is reflected across the various decades of recordings. For example, in the thirties there was conflict between record companies that released country music (<em>boeremusiek</em>) records and the <em>Federasie van Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge</em> (FAK; Federation of Afrikaans Cultural Associations) – basically the FAK did not like the country music of the time because they regarded it as inferior. Afrikaners outside the FAK, however, thought very differently of their culture and Afrikaner music," says Van der Merwe.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">His research also highlights the power struggle and elitism that developed between Dutch Afrikaners and other Afrikaners in the first decades of the 20<sup>th</sup> century.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"To make recordings therefore also was a form of nationalism," he says. "For example, there were very strong class elements in the music – there was your country music and then you had the FAK, which had strong nationalistic links to the Broederbond. The only capital that they had as journalists, ministers of religion and teachers was their culture. The FAK therefore was strongly opposed to this other Afrikaans culture of listening to music and dancing and partying. There are even articles on how poor Afrikaners spent their money on records and music!"</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Although Van der Merwe's research focuses specifically on Afrikaans music that was recorded by white artists, he explains that Afrikaans music has strong influences from all sides. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Just as Afrikaans is a fluid and multiracial language with many cultures that influence it, so also is Afrikaans music. The roots of <em>boeremusiek</em>, which has now become such a big white symbol, are not nearly exclusively white. It was just that the coloured artists at the time were not given many chances to record their music.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Some of the important fathers of country music, such as Hendrik Susan, performed with black jazz musicians such as the <em>Jazz Maniacs</em> in the thirties and he is known as the father of light Afrikaans music," says Van der Merwe. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">He adds that kwêla music, for example, became very popular among white musicians after they heard the music style from young, black boys who played their penny whistles to while away the time while they waited for their mothers in the afternoons – women who usually worked as domestic workers in white communities.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In the sixties, Afrikaans music developed a strong European flavour with recordings such as Gé Korsten's <em>Erika</em>. "There was a positioning of Afrikaner culture as something European, as something that was not from Africa."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">At the same time very little was sung about the political climate in South Africa, and especially about apartheid, but, says Van der Merwe, "that apparent hegemony had started to unravel, especially after events such as the Soweto uprising in 1976, as well as the arrival of TV in South Africa the same year."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"The border war also had a very big impact on the psyche of white men, and therefore the music of the seventies and eighties started to focus more on such issues."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">During the eighties, artists started talking more about the border experience and the deconstruction of the male protector through cabaret and literature, and one also started seeing more of these sentiments in Afrikaans music. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"I think the Voëlvry movement in 1989 was the most acute outburst of this. Before this, David Kramer started projecting a clear message by means of his work, among others also with the late Taliep Petersen."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">At the onset of the post-apartheid years in the 1990s there again was a resurgence of Afrikaans music and a growth in music festivals. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Besides playing bass guitar for groups such as <em>Delta Blue </em>and, more recently, <em>Bed on Bricks</em>, Van der Merwe also performs with Karen Zoid on a regular basis (and can be seen in her award-winning TV series <em>Republiek van Zoid-Afrika</em>), and he has also worked with some of South Africa's best-known Afrikaans artists, such as Anton Goosen, Laurika Rauch and Valiant Swart. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Because I am a musician myself I have worked with many artists in the Afrikaans music industry and therefore know it quite well. The irony is that politics and Afrikaans music now is something that is more prominent among some mainstream artists, and no longer alternatives as in the eighties. The political content also differs completely. Artists such as Steve Hofmeyr, for example, appear regularly in the media in relation to political remarks on Afrikaner identity. His concerts function as culturally homogenous – and exclusive – platforms where people of a particular conviction feel safe to say what they want to say and that cannot necessarily be said in a public space – and that naturally can be problematic."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">On his own research and the contribution that it has made to research on the history of Afrikaans music, as well as the impact of his research on current debates on the development of Afrikaans within university environments, Van der Merwe says: "My research offers a critical view on, and is a deconstruction of, the white <em>verstalting </em>of Afrikaans. It is an attempt to show how Afrikaans culture was subjected to a system that wanted to send it in a specific direction.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"I hope it is a history that shows how wide the boundaries are of what it means to be Afrikaans."</p>
Do you have what it takes to build the career you want?https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=4324Do you have what it takes to build the career you want?Development & Alumni/Ontwikkeling & Alumni-betrekkinge<p style="text-align:justify;">Do you have what it takes to build the career you want? This is the question that the Alumni Relations office will try and help students answer during a series of<strong> </strong>Careers Cafés to be hosted by Alumni Relations, in conjunction with various faculties at Stellenbosch University (SU), starting in October. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The first of these Careers Cafés will be held in collaboration with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences on 12 October in the form of a TedTalk-styled talk by Google SA Country Manager, Luke McKend, who is also an alumnus of the Faculty. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">McKend completed a BA degree in English and Philosophy and after working for a number of online businesses abroad, joined Google UK in 2007. Over the years he has worked with some of Google's largest clients developing their digital marketing strategies across a number of industries in the UK and is now responsible for building Google's business in South Africa.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">By collaborating with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences for the pilot talk, the Alumni Relations office hopes to provide a platform for alumni to engage with the university in a different manner by offering their time and skills to help current students prepare for the careers they want.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">"Whilst we are always very thankful and appreciative of the financial contributions and gifts that our alumni continue to make to their alma mater, it is not the only way for alumni to support and engage with our university and faculties. We have come to realise that there are alumni who would like to give back to their university and/or faculty, but would prefer or are only able to contribute their skills and time, which are equally valuable resources," says Mr Shaun Stuart, Manager: Alumni Relations at SU. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">While a graduate destination survey conducted by the Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC) amongst a 2010 cohort of graduates from Western Cape universities indicated that SU had the lowest number – 4,1% – of unemployed graduates in South Africa in 2012, also of concern is a global trend that indicates that while degree studies may equip students for the jobs they will perform in future, they often tend to lack the soft skills, such as communication, time management, conflict resolution, presentation and interpersonal skills, to further excel in the workplace. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"So while this institution and our faculties are equipping students with the relevant skills and knowledge to perform the work required from them when they enter the workplace and as it relates to their specific degrees, we are realising that there is also a need to focus on improving our students' soft skills in the long run."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">The first Humanities Careers Café in October will allow the university to do just that and at the same time build more personal relationships with past graduates. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This is part of a bigger drive at the university to connect with our alumni in a variety of meaningful ways, to build more intimate relationships between alumni and their faculties, and to start connecting with our future alumni and inspire them to think about their lives beyond university and start building the career they want now."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Invites have already been sent to students from the Faculty and those who RSVP will receive a free bagged lunch that they can enjoy during the talk, which will held between 13:00 and 13:50 in Room 230 of the Arts building. Students are also encouraged to like the University and Alumni Facebook pages to receive more information about the talk in the weeks preceding it and to enter the Facebook competition to win a free dinner with Luke and members of the faculty and the Alumni Relations office on the evening of the talk. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">"This will be a great way for two of our students to get to know Luke in person as well," says Stuart. </p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li>After the event, a survey will be conducted amongst students on ways to improve the Café going forward and a lucky student will also stand the chance to win a voucher for two from Hudsons in Stellenbosch during this exercise. If you want to follow this event, tag us by using #BuildYourCareer |#BouJouLoopbaan and #SUCareersCafe | #USLoopbaanKafee.​</li></ul>