Stellenbosch University to host race and transformation conference

Stellenbosch University. Picture: Stellenbosch University/Facebook

Stellenbosch University. Picture: Stellenbosch University/Facebook

Published Nov 14, 2022


Cape Town - Following the release of the Khampepe Commission of Inquiry report into racism at Stellenbosch University (SU), the university in partnership with Nelson Mandela University and Bath University will host a Race and Transformation in Higher Education Conference this week.

The conference will take place from November 15-17 from 8.30am to 4.30pm at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) at 10 Marais Road, Stellenbosch.

The Khampepe Commission, led by retired Judge Sisi Khampepe, released its 184-page report last week.

SU rector and vice-chancellor Professor Wim de Villiers requested the independent, external commission of inquiry following two incidents in May, with the commission formally commencing its work on June 13.

SU said the conference would look at how race intersects with notions of class, gender, sexuality, language, and other markers of difference to provide the basis for universities’ institutional culture and operations.

On Tuesday, the keynote address by Bath University’s International Centre for Higher Education Management and vice-president: Community and Inclusion, Professor Rajani Naidoo, will look at race and high education transformation.

SU’s distinguished professor in the Faculty of Education, Professor Jonathan Jansen, will expound on “Race Research in Higher Education” during his keynote address on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Wits Centre for Diversity Studies’ Professor Melissa Steyn will look at “Race and Institutional Transformation in Higher Education”.

Afternoon sessions will consist of parallel sessions with local communities across Stellenbosch, and on-campus engagements. These sessions will have a particular focus on sustainability, educational development, restitution, sport and recreation, slavery and indigeneity, university residences, and redress at and around the SU Library.

The Social Justice Agency managing director, Edwin Cleophas, said the Khampepe report did not highlight anything ground-breaking or new.

“Among the informed and enlightened the report did exactly what was to be expected, report on what everyone knew and was aware of.

“It spoke to the incidents, across campus, whether individual, systemic or institutional but did not offer much in terms of recourse. We saw the report give the university leadership way too much credit because if the transformation unit and other role-players were effective, the environment would have been changed more so than just cosmetically.”

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Cape Argus