Gender-detour project opens eyes on Stellenbosch University campus
Cape Town - Stellenbosch University’s (SU) first gender-detour project recently commenced with the aim of unpacking certain gender issues in society.
Student and project facilitator Gideon Basson said the project involves a group of volunteer participants going on a walk around central Stellenbosch, and having conversations about the role of gender in campus culture, emotional and physical safety, health, social life, leadership, achievement and the future workplace.
The grant for the project was awarded by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry during their visit to South Africa last year, with two other universities, Johannesburg and Western Cape also benefiting from it.
University's centre for student communities, ResEd group co-ordinator Monica du Toit, said the grant has motivated them not to underestimate experiential learning and new ideas.
“This is a very small grant and a small project but the fact that our ideas received traction and support really motivated us,” she said.
Du Toit said the first detour allowed organisers to see how the project played out and what could be improved in the following walks, and said she believed that activity would be of great value if it is not done in large groups but rather smaller groups of five to eight people.
“We hope that this detour becomes a great complementary tool for leaders to reflect within their communities, and to engage new voices and fresh eyes to help us think of how to build an enabling and inclusive community,” Du Toit said.
A participant at the first detour, Chris Njapha, said that the walk "was very empowering being around like-minded people who share similar stories to mine.
"It created a new environment, where we can comfortably discuss gender issues and ideas and still be heard and supported,” Njapha added.