By: Charmaine Blose
Port Elizabeth- Sounds of the symphonic orchestra filled the heavily packed room as the academic procession entered the theater in all their respective academic honours regalia. The atmosphere of pride, honour and achievement filled the air.
The audience rose to its feet in respect of the academic procession of the professional inaugural lecture of prof Andre’ Keet at the Nelson Mandela University, North Campus Conference centre on ‘The Plastic University- Knowledge, Disciplines and Decolonial Circulations’.
The welcome of the inaugural welcome was done by vice chancellor Sibongile Muthwa. She started greeting and welcoming all stakeholders and students who came out in numbers to be part of the inaugural lecture. Muthwa also expressed a warm welcome to professors, stakeholders and academics who were present. She extended a warm welcome to representatives from different institutions of education. Lastly, she acknowledged prof Keets wife, children, and mother in-law. Muthwa then congratulated the professor on his achievement in particular as a chair for critical studies in higher education transformation (criSHET).
The introduction of the speaker was delivered by Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research & Engagement Professor Andrew Leitch. He gave a background of professor Andre’ Keet’s life and professional career. Professor Keet comes from Palermo a town close to the Stellenbosch in the western cape. Between 1996 to 2008 he worked he worked within independent public institutions, responsible for navigating a crucial transitional phase of South Africa’s contemporary history. Thus, also part time and on visiting basis in universities across the country. Most of his post 1994 work focused on processes, the deepening democracy, social justice and the promotion and protection of human rights.
He then joined the South African human rights commission in 1996 and later on, became its chief financial officer which was a unanimous nomination from parliament. The president appointed Andre’ as a pastime commissioner for gender equality commission in 2008 and then became director of churl’s disciplinary program at the university of Fort Hare. His first professorial appointment was as an adjacent professor at the University of Pretoria in 2009, followed by appointments at the University of Free State in 2011 as the director of institute reconciliation and social justice. Keet was an exceptional scholar and has had his book published locally and abroad.
His topic defined plastic process as flexibility of form and also shared that plasticity is the ability of the brain to change one’s life.
His message was centered around social justice and the transformation within the university including the political discourse. Prof Keet left everyone bursting with laughter with his jokes. The night ended with congratulations and word of thanks from deputy vice-chancellor Denise Zinn.