UKZN Transformation Charter Discussed at Postgraduate Conference
One of the highlights of the College of Humanities’ two-day postgraduate and staff research Conference was a panel discussion on: “Living the Transformation Charter at UKZN and Stellenbosch University”.
The aim of this panel was to showcase the collaborative research by eight selected Masters and PhD students from both universities which engaged with the ways in which students at the two universities “live out” the values of the Transformation Charter at their respective institutions, through their daily culturally lived experience.
Topics for discussion emanating from the four UKZN students under the guidance and supervision of Professor Rozena Maart were: Gender based Violence and the Transformation Charter by Ms Zaria Govender; Bringing the Mind and its Consciousness to the UKZN Transformation Charter by Mr Lukhona Mnguni; and Body Politics and the Political Body within the UKZN Transformation Charter by Ms Vuyi Khona, and Self-perceptions on Black men in Higher Education by Mr Themba Shibase.
Speaking on her paper which examined the use of love medicines as a means of addressing the extent to which people will go to handle matters of sexuality, Khona said, ‘Whilst gender is addressed within the Transformation Charter, very little is said about sexuality, and sexual practice, and clearly we need to inject the Transformation Charter with the lived reality of how sexuality is experienced on a day-to-day basis.’
Stellensbosch students, under the guidance and supervision of Professor Rob Pattman, also participated and offered their research papers for discussion. Ms Megan Robertson’s paper titled: “Researching Diversity, Friendship Groups and Patterns at Stellenbosch University”, examined the nature and quality of different friendship groups by exploring social cohesion and the catalysts that promote it.
Roberston explained how students experienced residences in a racial context and the significance they attached to race and gender. ‘My research raises questions about social cohesion and it must be known that diversity cannot be understood without social cohesion,’ she said.
Maart and Pattman have been working with students on the Transformation Charter of their respective universities for more than a year now, and the fruit of their labours was evident in the panel presentations by students, which elicited much debate and questions among the audience.
Professor Sarojini Nadar, College Dean of Research, said the papers presented were of such a high standard that she had managed to secure a special issue of a DHET accredited journal, Alternation, to publish them. Maart and Pattman will be the Guest Editors of this special issue due to be published early 2014.
- Melissa Mungroo