Select Language: English Afrikaans

News

​​​​​​​​​​

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ News Eve​​​​nts
​​

 

 

Madonsela to lead courageous discussions on ‘breaking the back of poverty and inequality’https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6027 Madonsela to lead courageous discussions on ‘breaking the back of poverty and inequality’<p>​​Prof Thuli Madonsela, the Law Trust Chair of Social Justice in the Faculty of Law at Stellenbosch University (SU), will lead discussions at the first Social Justice M-Plan Expert Roundtable to take place on 27 October 2018 in Stellenbosch. <br></p><p>The ultimate outcome of the roundtable is to work towards “breaking the back of poverty and inequality" in South Africa, Madonsela commented on the event. “The best role that academia can play is to help the state to plan its policies better and to assist in the process to design South Africa's social fabric." </p><p>The event is part of consultative processes aimed at the design and implementation of a comprehensive national plan similar to the post World War Europe Recovery Marshall Plan.</p><p>“The Social Justice M-Plan, or Mosa-Plan, is a social justice accelerator programme that aims to catalyse the process of ending poverty and equalising life opportunities by 2030 as envisaged in the National Development Plan (NDP) read with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)," says Madonsela. </p><p><strong>Speakers</strong></p><p>Justice Dunstan Mlambo, Judge President of the North Gauteng High Court, will deliver the keynote address while Dr Pali Lehohla, former Statistician General, will speak about social justice planning, monitoring, measuring and funding tools. Prof Ben Turok, former anti-apartheid activist, Economics Professor and former South African member of parliament, will address the roundtable on the state of social justice in South Africa and its implications for Democracy. </p><p>SU speakers include Madonsela, Prof Nicola Smit, SU Dean of Law, Prof Geo Quinot, African Public Procurement Research Unit, Law Faculty, Prof Sope Williams-Elegbe, Law Faculty, Prof Nuraan Davids, Education Policy Studies, Prof James Volmink, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Dr Njeri Mwagiru, Institute for Future's Research and Prof Josephine Musango, Complex Systems in Transition. </p><p>The Round Table will be conducted in a workshop style with plenary sessions and parallel commissions on various social justice priorities such as education, health, wellness and nutrition, poverty, ICT, land, property and agriculture, and the economy. </p><p>“The workshop will be a first step in seeing who's doing what and to work from there – amongst others to establish a social justice think tank to help government accelerate progress towards socio-economic inclusion and related shared prosperity as part of anchoring democracy and the rule of law," Madonsela said.   </p><p>The key result areas of the Social Justice M-Plan are:</p><p><strong>5 KEY RESULT AREAS</strong></p><ol><li>Enhance state capacity to pass laws that reduce poverty and inequality through leveraging data analytics</li><li>Mobilise societal and corporate resources to contribute meaningfully to funding accelerated reduction of poverty and inequality</li><li>Foster social accountability in government fiscal planning and expenditure by technology and leveraging people as eyes and ears of government</li><li>Leverage international relations to promote support for the Social Justice M-Plan</li><li>Sponsor a national drive to healing the divisions of the past regarding inherited social relations<br><br> <br><br>SU staff members and students who would like to take part in the discussions are requested to liaise with Diane Gahiza, P.A. to Prof Thuli Madonsela and Project Coordinator: Chair for Social Justice at tel 021808 3186 or e-mail <a href="mailto:socialjustice@sun.ac.za">socialjustice@sun.ac.za</a> before 23 October 2018.</li></ol><ul><li>The workshop takes place at Paul Roos Gymnasium, Suidwal Street, Stellenbosch from 08:30 to 15:30 on Saturday 27 October 2018. <br></li></ul><p><br> </p>2018-10-18T22:00:00Z 2018-10-18T22:00:00.0000000ZCorporate Communications / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie
'You have to play the cards you're dealt'https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6028'You have to play the cards you're dealt'<p style="text-align:justify;">​​“You have to play the cards you're dealt." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This was just one of the tips that Matie Alumnus and Technical Team Manager at Amazon Web Services, Philip Parrock, shared with the 350 strong student crowd at the second Careers Café hosted by the Alumni Relations Office at Stellenbosch University (SU). <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Philip, who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma (cancer that develops in one's lymphatic system) in February 2018, talked not only about how he had turned what would be devastating news to anyone into a learning opportunity, but shared other important advice with the students too.<br></p><p>“Be honest about your skills and abilities. Set and manage your deadlines and be clear about how much work you can do. Try to think of success in the long term, not in the short term. If you have to work ludicrous hours to get a project completed, you might end up sacrificing quality and that will reflect poorly on you. In most cases, a well-executed project, completed in a reasonable amount of time is worth a lot more than a rushed, low quality project," he said. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Careers Café series was launched in 2016 by the office to provide a platform for alumni to engage with the university by offering their time and skills to help current students prepare for their future careers. Through this interaction, current students are able to learn from the real-life experiences of Matie graduates in the corporate world and benefit from advice and tips from them as well. Other career development opportunities on campus are also promoted through this event, encouraging students to further improve their work preparedness.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Philip's journey at SU started in 2010 after he returned from England, where he had worked in the hospitality industry. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">After travelling more than 13 000 kilometres from South Africa to England to see the world, discomfort with where he found himself pushed him to return to Cape Town six months later. Back in Cape Town, he took up a full-time job working as a care assistant for a local retirement home. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I spent a lot of time in Stellenbosch over weekends, because a few of my friends from Pretoria were studying there. That's when I first started thinking about studying at Stellenbosch University."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I actually applied very late, on 28 August, with only two days left before applications for degree programmes closed on 30 August," he adds and laughs. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Philip enrolled for a BA in International Studies in 2010 and upon completion of that degree, finished an Honours and Masters in Political Science at the university as well. As a student who lived off-campus in private accommodation, Philip joined the private student organisation (PSO), Pieke, in his first-year at varsity. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">PSO's are student house committee structures that are formed for private students. They are similar to the house committee's (well-known as HKs at Maties) of residences and usually grouped with residences and other PSOs to form clusters that work together to coordinate student social, cultural and academic activities, represent students in matters on campus and provide a united voice for those who fall outside of the more traditional university structures. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">As a student, he played both rugby and soccer in his second year. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I was not as focused on getting involved in student governing structures on campus," he says. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">But, by his second year, his interaction with male students from Pieke piqued his interest in these structures. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">At the end of his first year, he volunteered for Pieke's Second Years Committee and in 2012 became a member of Pieke's HK focused on social activities for students. A year later he was elected as Pieke's Primarius. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Working within university structures and being exposed to different people of different backgrounds, I had my first taste of bureaucracy, which would stand me in good stead as I went on to work in a massive multi-national company."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“By the end of 2014, I was working on the last draft of my Masters and getting ready to start looking for permanent work. I sent out 60 CVs to a number of companies in South Africa, but received no response from any of them. It's at that point that you realise you don't have the experience to compete with other applicants and that you need to gain that somehow."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">When he spotted a seasonal job advertised by Amazon Web Services, which is owned by Amazon, he submitted a CV, not sure where it would lead. AWS is the single largest cloud computing company in the world, with a 41% market share in public cloud computing and is larger than its next 10 competitors combined.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“After being told about seasonal jobs at Amazon Web Services, I applied and was called in for an interview. But during the interview they offered me a permanent job as a Technical Customer Service Associate in their global customer service department training new staff recruited to the company." <br></p><p>At the time Amazon Web Services was also expanding its customer service base in Cape Town. When Philip started at the company in 2015, there were around 50 people in the department. This would grow by 169 in 2016, and on to over 300 people today.<br></p><p>A year and a half later, he was appointed as a Team Lead for new Customer Service Associates where he oversaw a team of 15 people. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Suddenly there were additional responsibilities, beyond the overall performance management and administrative duties I was responsible for. Now I had HR matters to attend to, was expected to understand how to implement labour law practices, oversee staff welfare and various benefits."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Life was good. However, in February 2018, what had started as pain in his hip in late 2017 and had led to a full hip replacement, was diagnosed as cancer.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“An MRI scan showed that there where lesions on my femur moving right up into my back and that those lesions were coming from the inside of my body. The cancer had started eating away at my femur." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Two weeks later, Philip was sitting in the oncology ward at the Kuilsriver Netcare, getting his first round of chemotherapy.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I was out of commission for seven months and received chemo five days at a time." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">It's been less than a month since he was told that he is in remission, but already he is back at work. In September, he received a promotion and is now a Technical Team Manager. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“This demonstrates my third tip – prepare yourself for the job you want so that when the opportunity comes, you are ready for it. So, while it may not seem like the right thing to do, if there is a promotion you would like to work towards or a different position that you would like to fill, do not think of it as an opportunity to prove yourself, think of it as a reward for proving yourself. In the business world it is very difficult to be given a chance, rather go out and make your own luck, prove that you can do the job so that when it comes to the promotion or job interview, the interviewer is so convinced by your ability that the interview is just a formality."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“In the time that I've been with Amazon Web Services I've learnt that the base of knowledge and experience you accrue at university is useful, but to be truly successful, you have to go above and beyond what is expected of you to be successful in the long term."<br></p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><em>​​Photo: Matie alumnus and Careers Café speaker, Philip Parrock (second from the right), with the students who won an opportunity to interact with him and learn about the soft skills one needs t0 develop a career. From the left are </em><em>Phathiswa Hohlo</em><em>, Marvin Koopman, Alumni Relations Coordinator at the Alumni Relations Office, Thandeka Mwakipesile, Olona Ndzuzo, Philip and his wife Lisa, who is also a Matie alumnus. (Lynne Rippenaar-Moses)</em><br></li></ul><p><br><br></p>2018-10-18T22:00:00Z 2018-10-18T22:00:00.0000000ZDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni
Giving ‘roots and wings’ to the Rooidakke communityhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6025Giving ‘roots and wings’ to the Rooidakke community<p>​​​The provision of affordable housing is key to improving quality of life and ensuring that household members have a secure asset to ensure a better future.<br></p><p>The reality is often different because of the sub-optimal quality of houses handed over to beneficiaries. The quality of houses has often been so inadequate that the municipality could not confer title deeds, meaning that the houses are not legally recognised as transferable assets.</p><p>In order to address this, a collaborative initiative was established between the Stellenbosch University faculties of Engineering and Economic and Management Sciences, the University of Bath in the UK, the Western Cape Department of Human Settlements, the local municipality, building contractors and the Rooidakke community.</p><p>The aim of the initiative is to introduce an accountability intervention in the construction of subsidised government housing so as to improve the quality of the houses being constructed. </p><p>A pilot project was initiated in Rooidakke, a community just outside of Grabouw, based on the hypothesis that additional oversight could improve the quality of the houses, and in doing so, improve the satisfaction and sense of ownership of the beneficiaries.</p><p>The economics of the situation is very difficult to resolve. Due to a high demand for housing, there is a serious backlog of houses that need to be completed. Inflation and inadequate housing subsidies mean that poor-quality labourers have to be employed from the community, with little or no skills. The construction company then has to transfer these skills to the labourers, who subsequently leave for better pay elsewhere. This in turn leaves semi-skilled labourers to train unskilled workers, resulting in quality issues, and in the longer term, more resource being required to rectify these issues.</p><p>But who is responsible and can anyone be held accountable? Is it government, the construction companies, the labourers, budget constraints or the state evaluators?</p><p>Students from the Department of Civil Engineering engaged in weekly visits to the building sites to perform inspections. The students then reported their findings to the contractors so that issues could be rectified and feedback could be taken into account. Training was also given to field workers recruited from the Rooidakke community to empower them to assist the community with providing feedback.</p><p>Afterwards, a survey was conducted to gauge the satisfaction of the beneficiaries, who all indicated a much higher degree of overall satisfaction with their new homes. Beneficiaries were also equipped with the knowledge needed to provide their own feedback when issues arose.</p><p>“The collaborative work done by the students was instrumental in bringing all the stakeholders together to discuss problems and work on solutions together, thereby enhancing working relationships and dealing with quality issues as they arose, rather than after the fact. It has also given the students insight into real-life problems in a working environment,” says Marisa von Fintel, lecturer with the Department of Economics of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences.</p><p>The next steps for the initiative are to expand the scope of the project through the development of an app to capture real-time inspection checks and the introduction of workshops for all related parties.</p><p><img alt="collage.png" src="/english/PublishingImages/Lists/dualnews/My%20Items%20View/collage.png" style="margin:5px;" /><br> </p>2018-10-17T22:00:00Z 2018-10-17T22:00:00.0000000ZDivision for Social Impact
Don't let anyone tell you you can'thttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6022Don't let anyone tell you you can't<p style="text-align:justify;">​Back in Grade 9, 15-year-old Jenny Pienaar had already decided that she was going to be a lawyer. However, when she found herself unable to pass Private Law 1 while studying towards a BA Law degree at Maties, she did what only a student with blind determination would do – she refused to listen to her lecturer. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I was struggling to get through Private Law 1 and I managed to fail it twice in two years. When I told my lecturer that I wanted to go into law, he told me outright 'you will never a become a lawyer'," says Jenny. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I knew then that I had to find another way to get into law, so I did a BA degree in Classical Culture and Political Philosophy, got my BA degree and then went to the University of Cape Town and did my LLB over three years because I did not have any law subjects," says Jenny who graduated with an LLB degree from UCT in 1991.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Today Jenny is a qualified Trade Mark Attorney, a Partner and Co-Chair of the Trade Marks Department, and acting as the Chair of the Trade Mark Litigation Department at the well-known law firm, Adams & Adams.  She practices in trade mark litigation, domain name registration, securing domains from unlawful proprietors, litigation related to copyright, passing-off, unlawful competition, and company name objections. She also has experience in advertising law and regulatory compliance. ​<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Adams & Adams represents 240 of the Forbes 500 companies in the United States as well as other countries, with a wide variety of clients from the FMCG (Fast-moving Consumer Goods) to the banking sector and pharmaceutical industry. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">On 24 October Jenny will tell students more about how she defied the limits others had set for her to become the lawyer she always dreamt of being. This TedTalk-styled event, known as the Careers Café, will take place between 13:00 and 14:00 in Room 230 on the second floor of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences building on the corner of Merriman and Ryneveld Street and is open to all students. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Careers Café series was launched in 2016 by the Alumni Relations Office to provide a platform for alumni to engage with the university in a different manner by offering their time and skills to help current students prepare for the careers they want. Through this interaction, current students are able to learn from the real-life experiences of Matie graduates in the corporate world and benefit from advice and tips from them as well. Other career development opportunities on campus are also promoted through this event, encouraging students to further improve their work preparedness.   </p><p>If you want to attend this free talk, you can RSVP for the Careers Café here. <br></p><ul><li>For more information about the Careers Café, follow the Alumni Relations Facebook page at <a href="http://www.facebook.com/stellenboschalumni">www.facebook.com/stellenboschalumni</a> and the SU Facebook page at <a href="http://www.facebook.com/stellenboschuniversity">www.facebook.com/stellenboschuniversity</a>.  </li><li>Two students can also win a seat at the dinner table with Jenny on the evening of the Careers Café by entering the Careers Café Facebook competition that will be advertised on the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/stellenboschalumni/">Stellenbosch University Alumni page</a> or by submitting your entry to <a href="mailto:marvin@sun.ac.za">marvin@sun.ac.za</a>. <br></li></ul>2018-10-16T22:00:00Z 2018-10-16T22:00:00.0000000ZAlumni Relations Office
FMHS paediatrician selected to influential academyhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6014FMHS paediatrician selected to influential academy<p>​Dr Amy Slogrove, a senior lecturer in Paediatrics and Child Health in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, was recently selected as a member of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS).<br></p><p>The academy – established in 2011 – is an initiative of the Department of Science and Technology aimed at bringing together young scientists across a range of scientific disciplines to jointly think about solutions to societal problems in South Africa. It also aims to give young scientists a voice in influencing national policy.</p><p>Ten new members are appointed to the academy every year for a two-year term.</p><p>Slogrove's research looks at the effects of early-life exposures during pregnancy and infancy and their long-term impact on the health trajectory of children. Her specific focus is on evaluating in utero HIV and antiretroviral drug exposure on HIV-uninfected children born to women living with HIV. She is based at Stellenbosch University's Worcester campus.</p><p>“It was unexpected, but such a tremendous honour to be considered one of the ten leading young scientists and to be part of such a broad group is a huge opportunity. I am excited to work with people from different scientific disciplines and to hear other perspectives on how to deal with the challenges we face in our country," said Slogrove.</p><p>She said being based in Worcester means she can bring the rural perspective on health and development. “We see such inequalities in services and outcomes for people. As well as advocating for children, I will always advocate for rural and remote populations.</p><p>“We are realising more and more that what you experience early on in your life has a major impact on where you end up as an adult. This is often forgotten when tackling major societal problems. I will be advocating for investment in children early in life so they can reach their potential.</p><p>“As a very advantaged young South African woman I hope to contribute … through membership of SAYAS to reducing inequality in South Africa, either through collaborating with other young scientists to find solutions to pressing societal challenges or through mentorship of the next generation of young scientists," Slogrove concluded.<br></p>2018-10-15T22:00:00Z 2018-10-15T22:00:00.0000000ZSue Segar
Faculty of Science boasts with two Havenga-prize winners in 2018https://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6010Faculty of Science boasts with two Havenga-prize winners in 2018<p>​Two scientists from the Faculty of Science were awarded the prestigious Havenga-prize for Life Sciences and Physical Sciences respectively from the <a href="https://www.litnet.co.za/sa-akademie-vir-wetenskap-en-kuns-2018-se-pryswenners-bekend/">Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns</a>.<br></p><p>The Havenga prize is an annual award for original research in the natural sciences and can be awarded only once to an individual. The award ceremony took place on 21 September 2018 in Stellenbosch.<br></p><p>This year's recipients are Professor Emile van Zyl, distinghuished professor in Microbiology, and Professor Ben Herbst, emeritus professor in Applied Mathematics.</p><p>The Havenga prize for Life Sciences were awarded to Professor van Zyl for more than ten years of research into finding environmentally-friendly alternatives for fossil fuels. In the 2000s he developed, in collaboration with several international co-workers, stems from brewer's yeast in the laboratory which could produce cellulose-enzymes in sufficient quantities to break down cellulose and ferment ethanol from the associated sugars in one step, a process known as consolidated bioprocessing. At the time it was a world-first.</p><p>Prof. Van Zyl says biofuels will remain significant in the search for renewable biofuels for especially heavy motor vehicles, the marine and aviation industry: “The commercial production of biofuels from non-edible plant rests promises to become more sustainable, environmentally-friendly and cost-effective, without competing with food production. In the future cellulose-ethanol will be the better and more affordable alternative, especially if one takes into account that the cost of global warming is not accounted for in the use of fossil fuels".</p><p>The Havenga prize for Physical Sciences was awarded to Professor Herbst in recognition of an academic career that spanned over 40 years. During this time he was involved with the South African Mathematics Olympiad for 15 years. In 1998 he became closely involved with the establishment of the annual South African Symposium for Numerical and Applied Mathematics (SANUM). In 2015 the symposium celebrated its 40<sup>th</sup> anniversary with a list of selected international speakers. Today the SANUM conference is an established conference for numerical mathematicians from all over the world.</p><p>In reaction to the award, Professor Herbst said while awards have never been part of his frame of reference, he is thankful for the recognition: “Everything that I have done, I did out of passion and curiosity. And where I could work with enthusiasm, together with colleagues and students who meant so much to me, it was rewarding in itself". </p><p>During the event he also gave recognition to his mother, Mrs Lenie Herbst, who attended the event despite her mature age of 91. For that, she received a round of applause.</p><p>Another academic from Stellenbosch University, Professor Marlene van Niekerk, received the CL Engelbrecht prize for Afrikaans Literature for <em>Kaar</em>; Professor Lizette Joubert, chief researcher at the Agricultural Research Council's Infruitec-Nietvoorbij research institute and an extraordinary professor in the Department of Food Sciences at SU, received a medal of honour for her research on rooibos and honeybush.<br></p><p><em>On the photos above, Prof Emile van Zyl (left) and Prof Ben Herbst. Photo: Anton Jordaan</em><br></p>2018-10-14T22:00:00Z 2018-10-14T22:00:00.0000000ZMedia and communication, Faculty of Science
Register your social impact initiativeshttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6008Register your social impact initiativesStellenbosch University staff members who play an active and pivotal social impact role through research, learning and teaching, volunteerism, special programmes and the building and servicing of partnerships in society are asked to register their initiatives on the Social Impact Platform: <a href="/si"><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><font color="#0066cc">https://www.sun.ac.za/si</font></span></a>. The Division for Social Impact would like to assist with highlighting and enhancing this valuable work. The annual deadline for registrations is 30 November.<p><span lang="EN-GB"><strong>Why register?</strong></span></p><p><span lang="EN-GB">By registering your initiative: </span></p><ul><li><span lang="EN-GB">Stellenbosch University’s impact work is made visible within the university, to external societal partners (including government, business/industry and civil society), to funders and to the public;</span></li><li><span lang="EN-GB">potential is created to collaborate within and across disciplines for greater impact;</span></li><li><span lang="EN-GB">you will be eligible to apply for funding opportunities made available annually by the Division for Social Impact: <a href="/si/en-za/Pages/Funding-opportunities.aspx"><span style="text-decoration:underline;"><font color="#0066cc">https://www.sun.ac.za/si/en-za/Pages/Funding-opportunities.aspx</font></span></a>;</span></li><li><span lang="EN-GB">ou will be eligible to apply for funding from the Development and Alumni Relations Office, which supports registered social impact initiatives; and</span></li><li><span lang="EN-GB">you will have a portfolio of evidence of your social impact initiatives for performance evaluation purposes.</span></li></ul><p style="margin:0px;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="margin:0px;"><font color="#000000" face="Calibri" size="3"> </font></span></p><p><span lang="EN-GB">For any queries relating to the registration process, please contact Rachael Spiers: <a>rspiers@sun.ac.za</a>.</span>​<br></p>2018-10-14T22:00:00Z 2018-10-14T22:00:00.0000000ZDivision for Social Impact
Research leadership and science communication go hand-in-hand, says rector at inaugural media awardshttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6006Research leadership and science communication go hand-in-hand, says rector at inaugural media awards<p>​​The question is actually not whether you can afford to spend time on public science communication. It's whether you can afford not to!<br></p><p>This was the message of Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University (SU) in handing over the inaugural Media Excellence Awards, giving recognition to 30 of SU's top media commentators and newsmakers for 2018</p><p>The awards were made earlier this week (Monday 13 October) and formed part of the <a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5989">launch</a> of a special edition of SU's annual research report, <em>Research@ Stellenbosch University, </em>held at the Wallenberg Research Centre at STIAS.</p><p>The awards, an initiative of the Corporate Communication Division, were bestowed in three categories, namely newsmakers, thought leaders, and for co-workers – those contributing towards getting other colleagues in the media. </p><p>“Having a positive media profile is crucial in vision attainment at the institutional level, but research leadership and science communication go hand-in-hand. Investing time and effort in effective communication helps you to become a better scientist," De Villiers said. </p><p>Pointing to studies on science communication, De Villiers said sharing research with the public also holds benefits for SU and its academics. “Visibility in the media helps academics build their own research profile. We now have research evidence that a high media profile – mass media and social media – can boost your academic networks and citation rates, and that it provides a pathway to policy influence.  </p><p>He also highlighted the importance of communicating the institution's research to the public in an accessible way saying that it will inform, educate and inspire the public. “May these awards inspire more and more colleagues to communicate their work through the media." </p><p>He added that the University is among the top three universities most of the time in terms of total volume of media mentions and for the past two months number one in the country in terms of research reporting.</p><p><strong>Recognition</strong></p><p>Commenting on the inaugural awards, Mr Martin Viljoen, Manager: Media, said that the awards symbolised a start to giving recognition to not only those who regularly feature in the media, “but also to those who are always available to the media – even at the weirdest times of the day!" </p><p>He stated that the process and criteria must now be refined going forward. “For the inaugural awards we relied heavily on volume – the number of times our colleagues 'featured' in the media – according to data provided by the University's media monitoring service provider. This was also measured against our own list of colleagues who are always ready to provide comment and to be interviewed.</p><p>“In refining the process, one will need to, for example, compare the 'importance' of say writing an opinion editorial with being interviewed on a news programme on radio or TV to get to a score to be eligible for an award. Add to that comparing being featured seven times in a provincial newspaper versus being interviewed for a national newspaper and it is quite a challenge. Another consideration is increasing the  number of categories, distinguishing between commentators and thought leaders, for example. There should also be a way in which we can honour those who are always available to the media." </p><p><strong>Categories</strong></p><p>The Newsmaker category honoured entities at the University that ensured a great deal of media coverage. The recipients were the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences' TB Research (award received by Professors Anneke Hesseling and Gerhard Walzl), the Stellenbosch University Choir (Mr André van der Merwe), the SU Law Clinic (Dr Theo Broodryk), AgriSciences' Landscape Art Project (Prof Danie Brink) and Maties Sport.  The sward to Maties Sport Award were presented to Ilhaam Groenewald at the 2018 Maties Sport Awards function on 15 October. <br></p><p>The Media Thought Leaders 2018 Awards gave recognition to those colleagues who either commented, who took part in interviews, who wrote opinion editorials and in some way shaped thinking in our country via their contributions in the media. </p><p>The recipients are:  Prof Thinus Booysen (Faculty of Engineering), Prof Nuraan Davids (Faculty of Education), Prof Faadiel Essop (Faculty of Science), Prof Abel Esterhuyse (Faculty of Military Science), Prof Johan Fourie (Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences), Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela (Research Chair, Studies in Historical Trauma and Transformation), Prof Amanda Gouws (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences), Prof Pieter Gouws (Faculty of AgriSciences), Prof Jonathan Jansen (Faculty of Education), Prof Chris Jones (Faculty of Theology), Prof Nico Koopman (Vice-Rector: Social Impact, Transformation and Personnel), Ms Irene Labuschagne (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences), Prof Michael le Cordeur (Faculty of Education), Prof Thuli Madonsela (Faculty of Law), Dr Morne Mostert (Institute of Futures Research), Prof Piet Naude (Director of the SU Business School), Prof Renata Schoeman (SU Business School), Prof Erwin Schwella (School of Public Leadership), Dr Nic Spaull (Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences), Prof Jantjie Taljaard (Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences), Prof Anton van Niekerk (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences), Dr Leslie van Rooi (Senior Director: Social Impact and Transformation) and Prof Jimmy Volmink (Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences). </p><p>In the third category, awards were made to staff members who made a significant contribution to facilitating processes to ensure either the University or other colleagues are featured in the media. For 2018, Corporate Communication excluded their own staff to avoid bias. The recipients are Ms Wilma Stassen, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences; Ms Wiida Fourie-Basson, Faculty of Science and Dr Marina Joubert, CREST.<br></p><p>Photo: Prof Jonathan Jansen of the Faculty of Education, was a recipient of an award in the category Media Thoughtleader 2018. (Photo by Hennie Rudman)​​​<br></p><p><br> </p>2018-10-11T22:00:00Z 2018-10-11T22:00:00.0000000ZCorporate Communication / Korporatiewe Kommunikasie (Martin Viljoen)
Institute’s new offices honours first owners of house in Joubert Streethttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5997Institute’s new offices honours first owners of house in Joubert Street<p>​​As a way of remembering the 3 700 residents who were uprooted from central Stellenbosch because of the Group Areas Act, Stellenbosch University's (SU) Africa Open Institute for Music, Research and Innovation (AOI) on Tuesday officially named its offices after the first residents who lived at 7 Joubert Street in Stellenbosch. This particular street later became known as the eastern border of an area that was known as <em>Die Vlakte</em>.<br></p><p>The AOI falls under the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at SU and is an interdisciplinary music research institute founded in 2016. The Institute developed from the Documentation Centre for Music (DOMUS), to which it remains connected through its funding of the DOMUS archive, its intellectual and creative programmes, curating activities, archival collection initiatives and core vision of creating in DOMUS the largest open-access archive for music on the African continent. The intellectual and creative programmes of AOI focus on music, research and innovation, which includes music research, research innovation and innovative approaches to music-making.</p><p>The property at 7 Joubert Street, which belonged to the Okkers family – many of whom live in Idas Valley today – will now be known as the Pieter Okkers House at the request of the family. The house is named after the first resident, Mr Pieter J.A. Okkers (1875-1952).</p><p><span style="text-align:justify;">Speaking at the event, Prof Wim de Villiers, the SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor said: “</span><span style="text-align:justify;">Stellenbosch University is this year commemorating its centenary. And in our Centenary year, we have been celebrating the University's many achievements the past 100 years – with appreciation to all who have helped build the institution into what it has become today. But, at the same time, we have been apologising unreservedly to those who were excluded from the privileges that Stellenbosch University enjoyed in the past."</span><br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“A very painful part of our history occurred here a half a century ago when residents of Die Vlakte were removed from this community supposedly because they had the wrong 'skin colour' according to the hated Group Areas Act of that time. This was the handiwork of the government, but the university did not object and later benefitted when some of the expropriated land and properties were transferred to the university.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“What happened then was wrong. It is why I am thankful that SU, already in 2000, said that “the University acknowledges its contribution to the injustices of the past" and that the institution in the same breath committed itself to redress and development," said De Villiers.​</p><p>In 1964 Die Vlakte, as it was referred to by those who lived there, was declared an area for so-called white persons, leading to the relocation of many families who lived there between the years 1964 and 1971. Die Vlakte stretched from Muller Street in the north of Merriman Avenue in the south, eastwards to Joubert Street and then to the west in Bird Street. The relocation affected six schools in the community as well as a mosque, a cinema and 10 businesses.</p><p>In 2017, when the institute moved into the university-owned property, it did so with the intention of celebrating their “new premises with an inauguration and a naming of the house".</p><p>“However, this was not possible," says Dr Marietjie Pauw, Postdoctoral Researcher at the AOI, “without first engaging in research about the history of the plot, the built structure, the area, and possible connections to people who had lived there".​<br></p><span style="text-align:justify;">“We were lucky," says Pauw. “Early on in my search, a friend who is also a heritage consultant, Lize Malan, sent me a document that indicated that 'P. Okkers' purchased two sites adjacent to one another in Joubert Street in 1903, when the erven were first opened up. When I asked Hilton Biscombe whether he knew of a P. Okkers, he immediately referred me to the Okkers descendants, Pieter and Sarah Okkers, now living in Erasmus Smit Street.<br><br></span><p style="text-align:justify;">“Pieter is a great-grandchild of Piet Okkers. However, there was more: Hilton's wife, Colleen (born Gordon), had a story to add: her mother, Rosina (Sinnie) Gordon, had been born in Joubert Street. She had always asked the children to take her to Joubert Street to see in which house she had been born. Sadly, Ma Sinnie passed on only a few months before the research on the property was begun."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">A year after the Joubert Street property was bought, Piet Okkers passed away. The properties were then transferred to his son, Pieter James Andrew Okkers, who proceeded to build a house at 5 Joubert Street (in 1926) and 7 Joubert Street (in 1927). The Okkers family lived in these premises until the houses were sold to the Conradie family (5 Joubert Street) and the Du Toit family (7 Joubert Street). The exact year of their relocation to Erasmus Smit Street is not known, but it may have been as early as 1946, when their grandchildren twins were born.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to Colleen Biscombe, the great granddaughter of Pieter James Okkers and wife of Hilton Biscombe – author of the book, <em>In Ons Bloed</em>, depicting the history of Die Vlakte – her mother Rosina, had often in her old age asked to be driven past the homes in Joubert Street. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“My only real knowledge of the properties in Joubert Street was the times my mother would ask us to remember to drive her down Joubert Street one day as there were two houses in that road that looked exactly the same, and she was born in one of those homes, she just couldn't remember which one. Thanks to Marietjie we now know Ma Sinnie was born in Joubert Street 5," said Biscombe at the event.</p><p>The naming/re-naming of buildings at SU is guided by the Naming Policy and the application to name the house went through the necessary institutional processes – with full consultation and final approval by the SU Council. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Linked to the naming processes, the Visual Redress Committee worked closely with AOI in order to visually represent and contextualise the name. </p><p>“Visual Redress at SU has as aim to visually represent our stories, histories and experiences in a number of ways. As such it goes hand in hand with the naming processes. The Pieter Okkers house will be the first of many houses in <em>Die Vlakte</em> that will be contextualised as part of restoring the stories of the houses and the broader historic neighbourhood. SU will thus enter into conversation with many other families to visually represent their stories in relation to many others over generations. This is one attempt (of many others) to restore the historical relations between the SU community and the broader <em>Vlakt</em>e community," says Dr Leslie van Rooi, Senior Director: Social Impact and Transformation. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Pauw says the naming of the house was important to the AOI, because the Institute wanted to honour the first person who built the house and who lived there. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Pieter Okkers is today considered to be a man who brought about much good in this town. He was a founding member of the politically radical Volkskerk, he was a founding member of the Spes Bona Soccer Club, and he was a Chairman (for the period 1927-1930) of the Free Gardeners organisation when they first opened an Order in Stellenbosch (the fourth order in South Africa)," says Prof Stephanus Muller, Director of AOI. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“He is also honoured for the provision he made for his family and descendants. To this day the Okkers family is proud to be associated with him and his wife, Rosina. Heidi Okkers, great-grandchild of Pieter Okkers, plans to begin an online blog on which family and friends can post photographs of members of the Okkers family and the wider web of relations, documents, and stories." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Over the years, a number of initiatives honouring those who were displaced from <em>Die Vlakte</em> have been carried out by SU, which owns many of the old homes that formed part of this community, and new buildings that later replaced the demolished properties. The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences hosts a permanent installation that includes panels with photographs of the area depicting the everyday lives of the people who lived there, as well as testimonies from former residents, their children and grandchildren and a write-up of the historical context of the time. In 2016, SU also established <em>Die Vlakte</em> Bursary Fund by allocating bursary funding to children of the families who were removed from the area. It was thanks to Mr John Abels, a former resident of <em>Die Vlakte </em>and an ex-learner of the old Lückhoff School, that the idea to set up such a bursary was first suggested. </p><p>The office will now also form part of a walking tour of <em>Die Vlakte</em> that is currently being planned. </p><p>“The Africa Open Institute office will in future form part of the walking tour of <em>Die Vlakte</em> that is being planned by the SU Transformation Office and the Committee for Visual Redress. Uniform wall plaques with information and photos of former residents are planned for buildings in <em>Die Vlakte</em>, curated by Dr Van Rooi and Prof Elmarie Costandius of the Visual Arts Department," adds Pauw.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photos: The </em><em>Africa Open Institute for Music, Research and Innovation (AOI) on Tuesday officially named its offices after the first residents who lived at 7 Joubert Street in Stellenbosch. The house will </em><em>henceforth be known as the Pieter Okkers House. It was first owned by Mr Pieter JA Okkers, who build the two similar looking houses at 5 and 7 Joubert Street. Here is Okkers (far right) in ceremonial dress (with chairman's collar) of the Free Gardeners in approximately 1930. His wife, Rosina C. Okkers (middle), is pictured with two of her granddaughters: Roslyn Brandt on the reader's left, and Elizabeth Olkers on the right. (Photos provided</em><em> by Leonard Meyer and Elizabeth Meyer, born Okkers) </em></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Pieter Okkers (far left), the </em><em>great-grandchild of Piet Okkers</em><em>, attended and spoke at the </em><em> </em><em>unveiling of the AOI office's name. (Lynne Rippenaar-Moses)</em></p>2018-10-10T22:00:00Z 2018-10-10T22:00:00.0000000ZLynne Rippenaar-Moses
From two cupboards to 170 laboratories within a centuryhttps://www.sun.ac.za/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5998From two cupboards to 170 laboratories within a century<p>​Only a hundred years ago, all the glassware and chemicals for the first professor of Mathematics and Natural Science's Laboratory for Experimental Sciences were stored in two small cupboards in a two-room building that is still standing in Ryneveld Street, Stellenbosch.<br></p><p>Today the Faculty of Science, one of the four founding faculties of Stellenbosch University, has grown to more than 170 laboratories in eight academic departments, housed in 13 academic buildings, with access to R226 million worth of state-of-the-art-analytical equipment. </p><p>During the Faculty of Science's centenary gala dinner on Monday, 1 October 2018, at Spier Wine Estate, Professor Louise Warnich, dean of the Faculty of Science, thanked the many staff, teachers, researchers, support staff and students who over the past one hundred years contributed to the faculty's achievements. The dinner also included the official launch of the Faculty's centenary book,<a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=5955"> <em>A Particular Frame of Mind, Faculty of Science, Stellenbosch University, 1918-2018</em>.</a><br></p><p>Referring to the striking image of the molecular structure of a red garnet on the cover of the book, Professor Warnich said it provides an apt metaphor for the Faculty and its people: “Through their research, and will to knowledge, our scientists reveal the beauty of the natural world when they investigate intricate cellular infrastructures under a confocal microscope at nanoscale resolution, or when they master a new mathematical proof. But apart from being beautiful gemstones, garnets have many uses in industry. Likewise, science is applied in an amazing array of applications."<br></p><p>She reaffirmed the faculty's commitment to strengthen science and higher education in South Africa: “We have a proven track record in delivering some of the best postgraduate students in the country. We remain committed to developing the next generation of South African scientists – men and women who will become catalysts in creating the knowledge-intensive economy that is so crucial to South Africa's growth and development." <a href="/english/faculty/science/Documents/Centenary%20speeches/Science%20Dinner%20_LW-1%20Oct%202018.pdf">Click here</a> for the full speech.<br></p><p>Professor Wim de Villiers, SU Rector, congratulated the faculty on its many successes and achievements: “In future, the University needs to be a national asset that serves the diverse needs of our communities, with impact on our continent, and with global reach. We aim to become Africa's leading research-intensive university, and in realizing this bold ambition, the Faculty of Science has an indispensable role to play". <a href="/english/faculty/science/Documents/Centenary%20speeches/20181001%20Wim%20de%20Villiers%20-%20FoS%20Centenary%20(final).pdf">Click here</a> for his speech.<br></p><p>Dr Thomas auf der Heyde, Deputy-Director-General: Research, Development and Support with the Department of Science and Technology, said the basic sciences are the building block for applied science and technology, and universities are the training schools for the PhD-level researchers required for a knowledge-intense, innovation-driven economy. <a href="/english/faculty/science/Documents/Centenary%20speeches/DST%20speech%20Science%20Centenary%20Dinner_01102018.pdf">Click here</a> for the full speech.<br></p><p>In a short overview of the centenary book, Professor Jannie Hofmeyr emphasized how important it is that universities today continue to foster this “certain frame of mind" that Professor James Shand referred to in a 1916 lecture, “The making of a university":</p><blockquote style="margin:0px 0px 0px 40px;padding:0px;border:medium;"><p>A university is not a lecture-theatre, or a library, or a laboratory; it is not a building or a place at all; its essence is a frame of mind. We hear much in these days of the “will to power": the true character of a university is the “will to knowledge". The real university is neither a collection of books, not a collection of buildings, nor a collection of lecturers; it is a collection of students who possess the will to knowledge – the will to possess it and still more the will to advance it. A university if constituted by its students, and by them alone. When I say students, I mean not only the temporary students who join the university for few years, but far more the permanent students who constitute its staff, for every professor worth his salt is a student to the end of his days. If the students are animated by the will to knowledge, there is a university; if they are not, if their studies are only a means to a selfish end, such as the learning of a narrow trade, the securing of a position or an income or an academic distinction, or the propagation of a favourite doctrine, then no university is there though millions be spent on staff and buildings and equipment. Where two or three are gathered together in the name of knowledge, there is a university.</p></blockquote><p>He said the centenary book not only chronicles the endeavors of a century's worth of such excellent academics, it also contains a few amusing anecdotes, such as the first Professor of Chemistry, Berthault de St Jean van der Riet, who was nicknamed <em>Oubaas Fenol</em> because of his interest in essential oils; or Prof Robert Broom, first professor of Zoology in 1903, who defied Senate's wishes that he takes a roll call at each lecture. Here is a <a href="/english/faculty/science/Documents/Centenary%20speeches/Hofmeyr_toespraak.pdf">link</a> to his speech.<br></p><p>During the festivities, Prof Warnich handed two centenary books in red leather slip covers to Prof. De Villiers and Dr Auf der Heyde.</p><p>On the photo above, <em>Professor Louise Warnich, Dean: Faculty of Science, presented copies of the Faculty's centenary book,</em> A Particular Frame of Mind<em>, to Professor Wim de Villiers, Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University, and Dr. Thomas auf der Heyde, Deputy Director-General: Research at the Department of Science and Technology (DST). Photo: Nardus Engelbrecht</em></p>2018-10-10T22:00:00Z 2018-10-10T22:00:00.0000000ZWiida Fourie-Basson