Conversations for a Better Future

By: Andisile Klaas

Port Elizabeth – In a bid to promote inclusivity, representation and equality, the Nelson Mandela University’s Faculty of Arts hosted the first ever Being Human(E) in the 21st Century Conference. This international 3-day event took place from Wednesday, August 22nd until the 24th of the same month at the North Campus’ Conference Centre.

The Faculty of Arts for the Nelson Mandela University hosted the first ever Being Human(E) in the 21st Century Conference with the aim to encourage the values of inclusivity and equality to the faculty’s students and broader staff. This is also in hopes of creating spaces and societies where individuals treat each other with love, respect and dignity regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, gender and social class.

Being Human(E) in 21st Century started off with a memorandum of understanding that was established between the executive dean for the Arts Faculty , Professor Rose Boswell, co-organisers and the National Association of African American Studies (NAAAS) & Affiliates. American delegates were brought over to make it an international event. All this occurred 4 months prior the event.

The planning included making calls for abstracts both nationally and internationally, to which a committee was elected to review the abstracts for academic papers, which were selected according to themes. The delegates were then notified to complete registration and a final programme was put together based on that decision.

The themes for the BH21 Conference were not limited to those of race, sex, gender and ethnic issues but the organisers took the broader approach and tapped into the spaces of linguistics, art, education and religion to name a few. The inclusion of these themes created much broader conversations, developed new interests and networking opportunities for the attendees and delegates.

The inaugural day of the BH21 Conference was opened by the day’s keynote speaker and renowned poet, actress, performer and producer Lebo Mashile. Miss Mashile spoke on a lot of themes but mainly art being a tool that can be used for social change; setting the tone for the day. Day 1 also consisted seven sessions that tackled themes like religion, identity, race, culture and discourses in education to name a few. The day ended of with a photo exhibition and a cocktail event for the delegates.

Day 2 started off with literature professor and director of the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, Professor Sarah Nuttall who served as the second day’s keynote speaker. She spoke of how humanities should be the core curriculum of any aspiring human centric and African centred university. The second day had 4 sessions covering the themes inclusive languages, communication, gender, feminism, health and aesthetics. The day concluded with a photo exhibition and a gala dinner.

The final day of the 2018 BH21 Conference was student centred and a panel of students voiced out their issues and spoke of themes from gender, rape culture, art and student protests to name a few.

BH21 was a great learning experience for attendees that also created networking opportunities and started much needed conversations around African societal issues. To relive the moments and conversations, the Arts Faculty is planning to release a photo album and DVD.

 

Madibaz Radio donates sanitary pads and textbooks to township schools

By: Simamkele Mazondwa

Port Elizabeth- As part of Madibaz Radio’s birthday month celebration, the crew took some time to donate sanitary pads and textbooks to some of the township schools in the Eastern Cape. The schools that received packets of sanitary pads and textbooks were Missionvale Primary School and Khwezi Lomso High school.  

Anesipho Makina who is part of the programming team at Madibaz Radio mentioned that the whole idea of donating sanitary pads and textbooks was to empower the community. “We donated more than 300 packets of sanitary pads and we tried our best to collect as many textbooks as we can, in order to empower learners and the community as a whole because Madibaz Radio is also a community station”, she said.

“The period cycle causes females to be emotional, stressed and period pains can be a problem hence we felt we should visit these learners, not just to give sanitary pads but also give them some knowledge in order for them to know they are not alone; we also go through it,” Makina added.

Veruscha Abrahams, a 13 year old grade 7 learner at Missonvale primary school, expressed her gratitude towards this initiative. “I am very happy and grateful that the Madibaz Radio team came to us to donate sanitary pads and textbooks because not many children get this opportunity,” she exclaimed.

Adrianne Armstrong who is the HOD at Missionvale Primary School also expressed her words of thank towards this initiative. “Some of these learners choose to stay at home sometimes because they have no sanitary pads, we are really grateful because it will have positive impact on them”, said Armstrong.

NMU’s Champions of Health Education

By: Andisile Klaas

Port Elizabeth- Nutrition is the food we take in and how that food is used by the body for its optimal performance. It is therefore important that people have the correct information regarding nutrition, which is the sentiment shared by the students and staff of Nelson Mandela University’s Dietetics Department who champion for health education inside and outside the university.

Students from the Dietetics Department work in practical fields outside classroom theory as early as 1st year and the work is mostly with community clinics, schools, creches and even nutrition and health talks within the university. The work done in the community prioritizes mostly mothers and children as it is a firm belief that it is never too early to learn. Some of the responsibilities include weighing babies, food talks, money saving food alternatives and gardening tips to name a few.

The other objective behind the talks is to address not only nutrition and malnutrition but also the over-nutrition that stems from myths that gaining weight and having a fuller body equates to being healthy.

When asked about the huge problem of illiteracy within South African communities and the possibility of these messages getting lost in translation, the department’s Professor Annelie Gresse profoundly stated that, South African communities are occupied by people who have a lot of knowledge so it is therefore important that health scholars and professionals do not underestimate them. She also stated that the best way to effectively impact communities is by creating an open dialogue and a two-way communication through these talks rather than giving out pamphlets or standing in front of people and telling them what to do without fully conversing and finding out what they know.

The department also encourages people outside the department to get involved in bettering our communities, one can donate something as little as a bag of dry beans or gardening seeds to organisations and volunteer for food drives. The talks that students host here at the university are not limited to anyone, as everyone who is interested can attend.

The following talk will be hosted Tuesday, September 4th at the Department of Dietetics (High Performance Complex in Protea Road) (Venue 126, 0018) at 13:00-13:45 and one can RSVP to Justine at 073 788 2155 or Ashleigh at 083 891 5721. Goodie bags, coffee and tea will be available for all participants

Greystone Accountants offers training to Entrepreneurs

By: Sisanda Ngongoma

Port Elizabeth- Shingle Rusere is the co-founder and the director of Greystone Accountants which is a blacked-owned accounting firm, in Port Elizabeth.  

Mr Rusere opened by saying, “I want to help young people rise up and start their own business. This is all about growing our economy, entrepreneurship development and  imparting the youth with enough skills so that they can manage their own selves and their companies, I also want to see them contributing in growing the economy of the country”.

As we were celebrating World Entrepreneurs Day on the 21st of August, the Nelson Mandela University hosted a student’s entrepreneurship week, the next day Greystone Accountants, in partnership with NMU, NYDA, Standard Bank and other exhibitors from private and public sectors that promote business and entrepreneurship development had discussions at the university’s Missionvale campus. The discussions where under the theme “Start Rising” the public sectors, private and independent bodies where there to empower young entrepreneurs, guide and educate them on the importance of having a reasonable startup capital and address problems of patriarchy.

The panel discussions where also on guiding the youth on how to write up business plans to get funding. Mr Siyabulela Maliza who is an Entrepreneur and Nelson Mandela University Alumni, was one of the speakers on the panel. Maliza emphasized the importance of education in the entrepreneurship industry, “stop waiting for opportunities to came to you. Knock on the doors and look for them”, he advised. Maliza said that the country needed a youth that was willing to work, beacause no one will build South Africa except the youth. The entrepreneurs were also educating the youth on the role of being a leader and being independent from government.  “You choose to be poor or you choose to be rich, entrepreneurship is a way of reducing unemployment. You can change your back ground if you change your mind set”, Rusere mentioned. He also added that being part of the youth of today has challenges but also responsibilities. “Your poverty, hardship or poor background must motivate you to wake up and change your future. The youth of today has a lot of resources at its disposal to make it in corporate South Africa, they must just change their mind set”, he continued.

Mr Rusere advised in closing that the youth must start small when they are approaching organizations to fund their entrepreneurship ventures, saying that they cannot ask for huge amounts of money, they must think first.

Rusere concluded by saying that it is important to have a profile that shows you can handle large amounts of money and what you have done so far.  

Being Human(E) in the 21st century.

By: Charmaine Blose and Esethu Matetu

Port Elizabeth- There was a conference held at the Nelson Mandela University North Campus Conference Centre from the 22nd to the 24th of August, held by the faculty of Arts in partnership with CANDRAD. The conference was titled under the theme Being Human(E) in the 21st century and the legacy of Madiba at Mandela University.

Decolonising education is a massive topic among universities in our country. The Nelson Mandela University is no acceptation, through social semiotics which are now playing a role to acknowledge and perhaps correct effects of pre-colonial ideologies in their institutions. Through critical discourse in what is defined as public art, one would remember when the Rhodes statue was taken down, how UCT African students erected shacks at the university to identify black space within the institution and the public art at the Nelson Mandela University will be the Madiba shirt and the recently erected Mandela Bench. These two public art monuments are critically portraying the transformation within South African universities to include African leaders’ achievements as intellectuals.

One of the panel speakers Viwe Ndayi elaborated on how our institutions do not assist the black students. “African students can’t locate themselves in the institution as Africans when you look at the architecture, curriculum, interior design and the people surrounding you. Which leaves one very frustrated and sometimes overwhelmed”, she said. So now universities including the Nelson Mandela University are using public art to find identity and create their own African presence and also as another way of decolonizing education at institutes of higher learning.

Pedro Mzileni said,“In characterizing the type of university we would like to have when its named after Nelson Mandela as a leader of the student movement 12 months ago I emphasize the following, number one as this generation of students and young people we are inspired by the young Nelson Mandela who got arrested for being the commander in chief of the struggle. Number two, I emphasize that naming a university after Mandela that its children of apartheid victims as students carries a serious obligation on the side of the university leadership to do everything in its power in daily lives to practically change the living and learning conditions of the students and the working conditions of its lowest rated labour force. I emphasize number three that the ultimate destination of the revolution would be the higher education system that can be accessed for free which as an Africanized curriculum that reflects the true identity of its African communities, it must have a curriculum that offers a self punctuating content that a black child can see themselves in, a graduate of that curriculum must be able to use it as a liberating work point to unlock their true potential for preparing future for their selves, family and community.”

He concluded by saying that in other words the higher education named after tata Mandela should be about human condition.

Political decisions affect the economy.

By: Sisanda Ngongoma

Port Elizabeth- Professor Raymond Parsons from North West University visited the Nelson Mandela University Business School in Second Avenue Campus. The professor was in the University to deliver his speech about how politics are affecting the economy of South Africa and why the economy is affected by politics.

The lecture was called “strategic Conversation” and professor Parsons unpacked some of the economic issues faced by the Country. He opened his lecture by saying, “the presentation is based on the fact that the more South Africa’s house is kept in order, the stronger its ability to deal with any global economic headwinds”.

In South Africa the mantra is if we want to get the economics “right”, we have to get the politics “right” as recent political events have gain demonstrated. The professor said that  the political change from the Zuma era to the Ramaphosa was one the biggest in South Africa’s economy since 1994, he also said that it damaged the economy of South Africa in the beginning of it but with a quick recovery. The professor talked about the appointment of Ramaphosa as president of South Africa saying that there were some positive possible factors about his appointment, saying that the election did immediately create a more favorable political environment and a better national mood, given his leadership ability, credibility and his skill set. He also mentioned that Ramaphosa has done a good job on trying to address some of the issues that were faced at time like addressing the state capture, streamlining Cabinet and improve governance and accountability and also his commitment to create an investor-friendly environment and wanting to raise $100bn in investment over next five years, as he had already stated china invested on South Africa during BRICS Summit.  

He carried on saying, “despite some achievements in recent years, in the past decade South Africa and its economy have been largely damaged by some of poor economic decision-making that is continuing even now and mismanagement in key policy areas affecting the economy. The failure of National Development Plan, state capture as a ‘weapon of mass corruption’, weakening of key institutions like NPA and other economic costs of a ‘lost decade’ is that in recent years economic growth has gradually drifted into a ‘low growth trap’.

The increasing number of people has made South Africa poorer because the youth is unemployed. Professor Parsons said that according to the National Treasury Stats SA from 2007 to 2018 GDP, Investment Ratio, Unemployment, Public Debt to GDP and Credit rating had been massively decreasing and that the credit rating was stable but in 2018 it went to Junk Status.

Professor Parsons also stated that South Africa’s economy in 2018 had been recovering rapidly from a financial crisis after so many scandals. He also mentioned that there were other glitches such as cost of delivery and performance failures, key state-owned enterprises like Eskom, the finance mismanagement, load shedding and excessive electricity tariffs. He carried on saying that the perception of South Africa in a global context was no longer regarded as ‘special’ because its ranking indicators were decreasing from 2017.

He said in his conclusion,“In a nutshell, it can no longer be business as usual in South Africa because a strong anti-business sentiment has developed -not only in South Africa- for various reasons, including recent bad corporate behavior and financial scandals like junk status and state capture”. He also added that markets and business needed political support, yet their very functioning often eroded that support. “Therefore business needs to take long term view of its commitment to the South African economy.  We need to urgently promote what might be called inclusive capitalism by giving many people in South Africa a much bigger stake in the economy to uphold and defend, whether it is land or job”, he said in closing.

Diversity is still taking place at Nelson Mandela University

By Simamkele Mazondwa

Port Elizabeth- As part of celebration of international diversity, Nelson Mandela University hosted a special gathering called Indian day to form part of diversity week that takes place within the university annually.

According to the organizers of the event the main purpose of the gathering was to provide information about the Indian culture and different activities about India.

“The preparations going towards this event have been good, we worked closely with students who are from India but studying within the university, they helped us get information about their culture”, said event organizer Janine Wagenaar.

“We select five different cultural days every year, our main goal is to educate people about not only Indian culture but other cultures as well. It is very important that we educate one another about our cultures, that is what diversity is about”, Wagenaar added.

Another important element aspect of this event was the presence of Indian food and people who sell some of these foods. One of those local business woman was Roselle Naaidoo, 54, who mentioned that they survived by selling Indian food in the streets.

“We appreciate this opportunity because we are always selling food in the streets. This is an opportunity for us to showcase our food. As a result of this event, there is a guy from Germany who approached me because of my tasty spices, he wants to use them for his business, we exchanged contacts,” Naaidoo said.

This day also included music and artists, one of them was Mahesh Narotam who plays piano whom students enjoyed his music during this event.

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