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Archive for the ‘isiZulu’ Category

Benedict Wallet Vilakazi – the ‘Father of Nguni Literature’ – honoured with Order of Ikhamanga

The late Zulu poet, novelist and linguist Benedict Wallet Vilakazi will be honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga today.

The National Orders Awards are awarded annually to those who have “played a momentous role towards building a free democratic South Africa and who also have made a significant impact on improving the lives of South Africans in various ways”.

Vilakazi and Marguerite Poland are the two writers who will be receiving the Order of Ikhamanga this year, an award that recognises South African citizens who have excelled in the fields of arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport.

Wits University Press published Vilakazi’s first book of poems, Inkondlo kaZulu (Zulu Horizons) – the poetry ever published in isiZulu – and a subsequent volume Amal’eZulu, as well as the first Zulu-English Dictionary, which Vilakazi compiled in collaboration with CM Doke.

Find out more, from Wits Press:

Benedict Wallet Vilakazi has been called the “Father of Nguni Literature”. He was born on 6 January, 1906 at Groutville Mission Station near Stanger in KwaZulu-Natal. The poet grew up in the neighbourhood of the mission station and in 1912 entered the primary school at Groutville, remaining there until he reached Standard 4. He continued his schooling at Marianhill, the Roman Catholic Monastery outside Durban, and after reaching standard 6, took a teacher’s training course.

Vilakazi’s gifts and ambitions came to the fore when he attended the Catholic Seminary at Ixopo in KwaZulu-Natal, where he devoted much of his spare time to distance education. He succeeded in matriculating, after which he taught at the Ohlange Institute in Phoenix near Durban. In 1934 he attained a Bachelor of Arts degree in African Studies. At the time, Vilakazi was already known to academics at the University of the Witwatersrand, which was in the process of publishing his first book of poems, Inkondlo kaZulu (tr: Zulu Horizons). This was the first book of poems ever published in isiZulu; it also marked the launch of the newly established Bantu (later: African) Treasury Series (published by Wits University Press), a collection of 20 classic works written between 1935 and the 1987 in African indigenous languages.

Coincidentally, the University was looking for an assistant in its Bantu Studies Department (now the Department of African Languages). At the insistence of CM Doke, at the time Head of Department, Vilakazi was appointed as Language Assistant in 1935. This appointment made him the first black African in the then Union of South Africa to teach at a white university, and it sparked a controversy: treated with suspicion by conservative whites, it was also seen as a “collaborationist appointment” (1) by some in the black political elite.

Vilakazi continued his own studies and, in 1938, was awarded a Master of Arts degree. In 1946 he reached another milestone by becoming the first black African in South Africa to receive a Doctorate in Literature (D Litt.) from Wits for his thesis The Oral and Written Literature in Nguni.

When Vilakazi entered the literary field, there were no published books of plays or poems written in isiZulu, and from 1930 onwards for 10 years, Vilakazi, HIE and RRR Dhlomo dominated the literary scene. Amal’eZulu (Wits University Press), published in 1945, was later recognized as one the best 100 African books of the twentieth century. Vilakazi also published three novels, Noma Nini! (Marianhill Mission Press), Udingiswayo KaJobe (Sheldon Press) and Nje Nempela (Marianhill Mission Press). In collaboration with Doke, he compiled the first Zulu-English Dictionary (Wits University Press). Writing in 1995, Dumisani Ntshangase asserted that Vilakazi and Doke:

produced the first major lexicographical work in an African language and this dictionary even today stands as the most successful and comprehensive project in African Languages lexicography in South Africa. (2)

In his writings, Vilakazi thought of himself as a spokesperson for his people and he identified with the struggles, fears, sacrifices and aspirations of his people. However, because of the bias towards African literature written in English – a bias that dominated academic discourse as well as debates within the resistance movement of the time – “his works have always been put in the periphery of the African intellectual history.” (3)

Vilakazi died suddenly of meningitis at Coronation Hospital at the age of 41 on 26 October, 1947, survived by five children. He was undoubtedly the most outstanding figure in Zulu literature of his time, and his funeral in Marianhill was attended by thousands of people.

References:

1. Dumisani Kruschchev Ntshangase, Between the Lion and the Devil: The Life and Works of BW Vilakazi, 1906-1947. Paper presented for the Institute for Advanced Social Research, University of Witwatersrand 1995. Page 3.
2. Ntshangase 1995, page 2.
3. Ntshangase 1995, page 1.


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The sound of traditional African music bows kept alive in the Dave Dargie Collection at Rhodes

Musical Instruments of the Indigenous People of South AfricaSouthern Africa is famed for its proliferation of historical musical instruments, with one of the most significant being the music bow, a single-string instruments most likely adapted from the hunting bow.

Playing these instruments is a dying art. One of the last people to master such a bow – specifically the Zulu ugubhu bow – was Princess Magogo, the mother of Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

And the man responsible for recording the very last recording of the ugubhu bow was Dave Dargie.

 

Dargie is now professor of music at the University of Fort Hare, but he began collecting, recording and documenting African musical instruments at Rhodes University in the 1970s.

The following video was recorded by Dargie:

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Dargie’s collection is now housed at the International Library of African Music at Rhodes, which was created by Hugh Tracey in 1954.

For more information on the subject, see the new edition of Percival Kirby’s definitive work, Musical Instruments of the Indigenous People of South Africa, with an introduction by Mike Nixon:

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Adam Habib explains why Wits invited private security onto campus after last week’s protests

South Africa's Suspended RevolutionInguqukombuso YeNingizimu Afrika Eyabondwa YashiywaNtwa ya Boitseko e Fanyehuweng ya Afrika BorwaRewolusie op ys

 

Professor Adam Habib, vice-chancellor of Wits University and author of South Africa’s Suspended Revolution, has released a statement on the Wits Senior Executive Team’s decision to bring private security onto campus.

Last week, members of the “Fees Must Fall” movement interrupted registration for first-year students, leading to face-to-face registration being called off and students being urged to register online.

Habib says the use of private security was preferable to public order policing for a number of reasons. The use of public order police would have required a court order, he says, adding that in addition “once they are invited onto campus, one is not allowed to limit their operations or influence their tactics and strategies”.

Habib says that with private security, Wits has the power to impose limits on operations, including banning the use of guns.

Read the statement in full:

Response to critique of campus safety and security arrangements
18 January 2016 – Adam Habib

Open letter by Professor Adam Habib on behalf of the Senior Executive Team:

I write to you in my capacity as Vice-Chancellor and Principal, with the full support of the Senior Executive Team (SET).

In the past week, some of you have bluntly expressed concerns in public and directly to me about the decision of the Senior Executive Team to bring private security onto campus. For those of you who have raised these concerns, please allow me the privilege of being as bold and blunt in my response, in the interests of identifying the options that are available to us as a university community. Please also forgive me for the length of my reply, but I do think that it is necessary for everyone to comprehensively understand from where we are coming.

One of you has suggested that you cannot understand why we would have brought private security and police to the university. It would have been useful – perhaps even necessary – for this person to have determined this before pronouncing so categorically on our decision, and attempting to begin a global campaign on the issue. Nevertheless, let me provide some details. On Monday this past week a small group of students were not simply peacefully protesting and dissenting. Instead, they were actively preventing registration from taking place. They were abusive of people, threatening them, and in some cases people were locked up in their offices. There was one male protester who told a female staff member that he knows where she lives and will take her out. In addition, I received a number of written requests, including one from a student leader expressing fear about being violently targeted by the protesters. These actions represented ‘violations of rights’ and the abuse of other members of our university community. These actions and countless others by the protesters forced us to bring an end to face-to-face registration.

Consequences of postponement of registration

Let me explain the net effect of stopping the registration process. We have two forms of registration, online and face-to-face, with telephone registration as a back-up to be instituted when required. Forcing us to cancel face-to-face registration adversely affected the poorest of those who wanted to register. Online registration enabled the middle and upper middle classes to continue with the process. They have online facilities and they have credit cards. They were not adversely affected, even if some may have been slightly inconvenienced. But the old man from Limpopo, who scraped whatever monies he could raise from family, friends and his community to ensure that his grandson registered, was severely impacted. He and his grandson travelled for hours, only to be told that he could not register because some group of activists had decided that they would shut down registration unless all historic debt had been cancelled and free education immediately granted. There were many such people on that day, and there were many more throughout the week. All attempts to get protesters to allow the registration to proceed came to naught.

Protecting the rights of all

Were this grandfather and his grandson, as well as the countless others, not victims? Do they not require our sympathy and outrage? Do they not require our best institutional support to register and embark on an academic career? I have heard some academics express unhappiness at our use of private security both now and at the end of last year, but I have never heard any of these same academics express public outrage at the violation of the rights of others – whether those be the staff member whose life is threatened, the ill staff member who could not make a doctor’s appointment to obtain medication for a life threatening disease, or other student leaders who have been threatened and now feel silenced and unsafe. Are these not also members of our University community? Do we decide to ignore them simply because they do not carry the correct ideological line? Maybe it has to do with the fact that these individuals do not figure prominently within our networks or community, from whom we draw political affirmation. Is this why some of us are not concerned about their rights?

For those who have raised the security concerns, the challenge that we believe you need to consider is: how would you have enabled the grandfather from Limpopo to register his grandson? How else would you have protected the staff members and students that were being harassed and threatened? In fact, we are aware that some concluded in private conversations that took place regarding the security arrangements that they did not know what should be done and had no alternatives to suggest. Nevertheless, they still remain opposed to the security arrangements that have been made. The net effect of this position is that the poor student must be denied the right to register, and that the interests of staff and students who have been threatened should be ignored.

We are aware that this view is reflected by a minority of our academic colleagues only. The vast majority of our academic and professional and administrative staff have expressed support for our actions and we have the emails and correspondence to prove this. We know the typical response to this: they are seen as conservatives, opposed to the transformation of the University. Is this response not a tad arrogant? Should we allocate ourselves the right to label all those we disagree with as conservatives? And even if they are conservatives, why should their rights not be protected by the university like those of all others?

Decisions around security arrangements

I want to assure you that we did not make the security arrangements lightly. I understand the disempowerment that one experiences from security arrangements that are outside of one’s control. I probably understand this more than many colleagues because I personally experienced what it meant to be imprisoned under state of emergency conditions. I experienced what it meant to be in solitary confinement, to be interrogated and to feel the fear that you may not see your loved ones again. I understand what it means to be deported by a foreign government without any just cause, or to be strip-searched in an airport in another country. I understand about being disempowered by arbitrary security actions. Other colleagues on the executive have had similar harsh experiences. Professor Tawana Kupe lived in Zimbabwe and has an acute understanding of the arbitrary use of power. Professor Zeblon Vilakazi grew up in Katlehong and has very real personal experiences of arbitrary violence. This is why we collectively would not make decisions like this lightly.

I also want to assure those who are concerned that claims that security assaulted students are untrue. We have viewed the video footage of last week’s events and we have not found anything that supports these claims. On the contrary, there is video footage in which students can be seen to be engaging in threatening activities against security.

Many have asked why private security was brought in and not public order policing? The answer is simple: public order police would have immediately required a court order to become operational on campus. More importantly, once they are invited onto campus, one is not allowed to limit their operations or influence their tactics and strategies. With private security, such limitations can be imposed. We have insisted that no guns must be used in any operations. We therefore decided to deploy private security on campus, with public order police on standby. For those who were worried about this arrangement, would they have preferred that we brought the public order police onto campus immediately? Would that not have allowed for the use of rubber bullets and other actions as have happened in other university settings in recent weeks? Or would they have preferred that we simply have no one, and deny protection to both the staff members and students who were threatened and the grandfather from Limpopo who wanted to register his grandson?

Some may ask why we did not use our own campus security? This answer is also simple: they are not sufficiently trained for this scale of protest. We could bring in a more adequately trained campus security team but do we truly want a ‘militarised’ campus all year round when this scale of security and protection is not required? Does it not make sense to use the campus security that we have – perhaps more efficient and better trained – and bring in the enhanced security arrangements as and when they are required? This was the case this week and given this, we simply cannot accede to the request of some to remove our security arrangements, at least until we are guaranteed that registration will continue without disruption and that the safety and security of all staff and students will not be threatened.

Some of you have also requested that we should publish the contracts with the security companies, including the associated financial costs. We are not averse to making these contracts available at the appropriate time given that we are a public university. This information should be received bearing in mind that we have to balance our expenses on security with the academic, financial and reputational consequences of not having had any. It is also worth noting that a significant portion of the associated costs of our security arrangements may be covered by our insurance cover

Complacency around violence

I should perhaps sign off now that I have responded to the immediate issues, but I beg your indulgence to also raise some related matters. Many academics, now and before, have been involved in solidarity actions around the student and worker protests. This is legitimate and should be respected and valued at a university such as Wits. All of these individuals have also been critical of the executive’s decisions around the management of this protest and our willingness to accede to the demands. Again this is their right. At some point we need to engage on how we understand social action and how social outcomes are realised; the balance to be struck between protest and institutional engagement; the necessity of trade-offs and who should be responsible for these; and our response on the rise of racial essentialism within the midst of the protesting community. But those are debates for another time

More immediately, I want to engage all of you on the complacency of some regarding violence or the threat of it within our protesting communities, and the political project of some actors to delegitimise institutional structures and replace them with revolutionary alternatives.

Many have stood firm against the presence of private security and public order police on campus, but have been shockingly sanguine about violence within the community of protesters. Many have simply turned a blind eye to violence or threats thereof, and some have even advocated violence as a legitimate means in a revolutionary moment. Really? At a university? In this moment, in a democratic era, whatever our criticisms of it? Is there not a romanticising of violence by middle class activists and academics? Have we truly considered the consequences of allowing violence to prevail within our community? I worked in the townships around Pietermaritzburg – Mpophomeni, Sobantu, Imbali and Edendale – at the height of the ANC-Inkatha wars in the 1980s. The near civil war decimated the communities and undermined the possibility of any egalitarian project. If this is true of communities under economic pressure, how much more is it true of the University itself which is meant to be a free and safe space for all ideas? Can we truly extrapolate that because of the presence of structural violence as a result of neoliberalism and racial exclusion, personal violence can now be justified both within and outside of a university community? Even if one holds this view, is one not in violation of one’s implicit and explicit social compact with the University community to protect all within it, and its broader project of learning?

For many, these protests are a struggle for free education for the poor. This is a legitimate struggle, as I and many of the Wits executive have so often argued. But many are also aware that for some, this struggle is more than that. It is a means to achieve other political ends, whether those are constructed around the upcoming elections, or to create a systemic crisis that collapses the Zuma administration. Again, those agendas are legitimate and allowed in a democratic environment dependent on how they are undertaken

I have personally also been publicly critical of this government, probably more than most have. However, as Vice-Chancellor of this institution, it is my responsibility to ensure that this University survives intellectually and is not a casualty in a broader political struggle within the society. Our individual social contracts with the University and with the broader academy are to protect the academic community and the learning project itself, whatever our other political agendas. We cannot sacrifice this institution or this academic project to the vagaries of our other political agendas. This is what governs our actions as an executive.

The need to learn from past mistakes

Some may know that I worked at UDW in the 1990s. I was a general secretary of the union movement and an integral member of the concerned academic group. I, like some of you today, took positions against private security on campus, and to be fair, I too was sanguine about the violence perpetrated by the protesters and dissidents with whom I associated. Then too, a moment emerged when some believed that they could replace the university structures with revolutionary alternatives, where non-violence was a bourgeois distraction, and where the university could be sacrificed to the broader political project for egalitarianism. Then too, colleagues ignored the capability and legitimacy of the state to respond. I did not believe in and was not comfortable with the tactics used, although I must say that I did share (and still do) the commitment to the broader project of egalitarianism and free education for the poor. However, even though I was uncomfortable with the strategies and tactics, I was complacent about the violence and did not firmly enough register my opposition. Eventually the protesters did bring the university to a standstill through violence or the threat thereof. They did try to replace its statutory structures – the SRC, management, Senate and Council – with revolutionary alternatives. In the end, the state did move in, acted against the protesters and brought back stability to the campus. But the damage had been done. The university was intellectually decimated as its top students and academics had abandoned it. The middle and upper middle class student and academic activists, some with trust funds, slunk away. Some of the academics with second passports simply moved back to their home countries. By the time I left, the Faculty of Humanities had a single professor, who served as dean. The real casualties of this experiment were not the activists and academics who had romanticised violence, even though some of them individually suffered. It was the poor black students who had no other alternative but to continue to go to that university.

This is the real fear I have. I vowed then never to repeat that mistake. I will never remain silent and allow a culture of violence and ungovernability to prevail within an institution of learning. I will never remain silent when a university and its learning project is being sacrificed to broader political goals, however attractive they may be. I learnt then, through hard experience, the real responsibility of the academic in a transforming university.

Preventing an egalitarianism of poverty

I urge you to consider one other point. Many of us had the privilege to study in the universities of North America or Western Europe, some even in the Ivy leagues like Chicago and Yale. But if we are to address the inequalities of our world, including those in the academy, then it is essential that we establish our own research intensive universities. Wits should be one of these, not only because of our strong intellectual legacy, but also because of the fact that we are far more demographically representative than any of our research intensive peers. For us to succeed in our research intensive goals, however, we need to protect this institution as we navigate the current turbulent political times. We need to ensure that we make decisions and undertake trade-offs that do not unravel the foundations of our research intensive capabilities. We must not pursue a strategy of realising an egalitarianism of poverty for it would reinforce the very inequalities of our world. To avoid this, it is important to know our history, especially in higher education. It is important to learn about our experiments, failed and successful, at transformation and institutional reform. It is important to know this simply so that we can collectively learn from the mistakes of our past. I have seen some of the proposals recommending institutional reform, and I was struck by how often they seemed ignorant of our past experiments and de-contextualized from our realities.

Finally, the issues facing the entire university system are access and funding. These cannot be resolved immediately and independently by Wits as an institution. We do not have the resources to do so. The issue needs to be dealt with in a coordinated way – involving students and management and other actors in the national system. The current strategy of shutting down the University is, in our view, detrimental to the task of building a transformed and academically excellent institution. While we support the overall aims and want to build a powerful alliance, the current strategy is not one that the University management can support. While we respect and will protect the right to protest, at the same time we have to ensure that the University is able to continue with its core activities. This is our responsibility. There will be times when protesters embark on actions that challenge the functioning of the University in ways that have far-reaching effects. We then have the unenviable task of making difficult decisions in order to protect the rights of all students but particularly the poorest students who cannot afford the loss of the academic calendar. We have to facilitate access of all students to the University, even while protest unfolds.

I urge you to think through some of these issues, and I would be happy to engage further with any of you should you want to do so.

Professor Adam Habib on behalf of the Senior Executive Team of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

17 January 2016

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“For Any Service, You Must Pay” – Deliwe Mzobe, Spokesperson for Wits Outsourced Workers (Podcast)

South Africa's Suspended RevolutionRewolusie op ysInguqukombuso YeNingizimu Afrika Eyabondwa YashiywaNtwa ya Boitseko e Fanyehuweng ya Afrika Borwa

 
The University of the Witwatersrand has agreed to stop outsourcing. This concession came after weeks of student protests.

Deliwe Mzobe, spokesperson for the outsourced workers at Wits University, recently spoke to John Robbie about the agreement reached at Wits, and the continuing protests at the the University of Johannesburg.

Mzobe says that their is a lack of trust of the unions among workers, which is complicating the process of reaching an agreement.

“For any service, you have to pay for it,” Mzobe says explaining the importance of establishing acceptable remuneration and working conditions for workers. She says it is a battle that has been fought for the last 15 years.

Adam Habib’s office released a statement last week listing the agreements reached after engagement with outsourced workers’ representatives as well as students.

Read the statement:

1. Wits agrees to insourcing in principle.
2. A commission to be constituted by all stakeholders will be established by 6 November to determine the details of how insourcing will be implemented in a way that ensures sustainability of the University.

Related stories:

 

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Wits reaches agreement with students on outsourcing

RDM News Wire, 1 November, 2015

Outsourcing was one of the contentious issues raised by students in their demands to the university.

In a statement on Sunday‚ Professor Tawana Kupe‚ the university’s deputy vice-chancellor for Transformation‚ HR and Advancement‚ said that following two days of engagement with the representatives of outsourced workers and students‚ the university had agreed in principle to insourcing.

He said a commission would be established to determine the details of how insourcing could be undertaken in a financially sustainable manner.

“In the upcoming week‚ the workers’ representatives‚ students‚ academics and management will determine who will serve on the commission. The representatives will report on the progress of establishing the commission on 6 November 2015‚” Prof Kupe said.

He added that in terms of the agreement‚ the Commission would negotiate the contents of a proposed Workers Charter; a Memorandum of Understanding on the way forward would be drafted; and the children of outsourced workers who qualified to study at Wits‚ would receive financial aid from the university.

The R1‚500 examination supplementary fee would also be waived.

Moreover‚ qualifying‚ financially-stressed final year students in 2015 who owed R15‚000 or less‚ would not be required to pay this amount in order to graduate‚ as this might prevent them from finding a job.

“It is proposed that the examination period be postponed for one week. It will run from 9 November 2015 to 4 December 2015. This is subject to approval from Senate‚ the highest academic decision-making body of the University.

“The University is of the view that through engagement with various stakeholder groups‚ we have reached a point of unification that will allow the University to return to normality with a focus on the examinations for the remainder of the year‚” Prof Kupe concluded.
 

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Adam Habib Urges Students to Suspend the Revolution and Allow Completion of the Academic Year

Professor Adam Habib, vice-chancellor of Wits University and author of South Africa’s Suspended Revolution, issued a statement yesterday in which he urged all members of the university community to do everything they can to “allow for the completion of this academic year”.

South Africa's Suspended RevolutionRewolusie op ysInguqukombuso YeNingizimu Afrika Eyabondwa YashiywaNtwa ya Boitseko e Fanyehuweng ya Afrika Borwa

 
Habib’s statement follows the #FeesMustFall student protest that shook South African campuses last week and culminated in the government’s concession to discontinue the fee increases for 2016.

Habib and Wits have since put measures in place to ensure that the academic programme continue despite disruptions by smaller groups of students who continued protesting after President Jacob Zuma’s announcement on Friday.

 
In his statement, Habib reiterated his previous plea that students should resume their academic activities as soon as possible and announced that the exam timetable will be out on Friday.

Read the article:

The University remains open and focussed on its academic programme and other operational functions, and Campus Control has been mandated to facilitate this. The police are also on standby, should they be required.

We urge all members of the University community to continue to do everything possible to allow for the completion of this academic year.

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Where to After #FeesMustFall? Adam Habib Reveals Wits’ 9-step Plan (Podcast)

After a week of turmoil across universities in South Africa, the government has agreed to a zero percent fee increase for 2016. So, where do we go from here?

South Africa's Suspended RevolutionInguqukombuso YeNingizimu Afrika Eyabondwa YashiywaNtwa ya Boitseko e Fanyehuweng ya Afrika BorwaRewolusie op ys

 
Professor Adam Habib, vice-chancellor of Wits University and author of South Africa’s Suspended Revolution, released a statement in which he shared the outcomes of Friday’s meeting between the presidency and Universities South Africa.

Read the article:

The Vice-Chancellors and Chairs of Council represented through Universities South Africa, today presented the following proposals to the joint meeting hosted by the Presidency at the Union Buildings in Pretoria.

1. All parties should collectively commit to a zero percent (0%) increase for 2016, with government stepping in to make up the difference

2. Universities will independently commit to deliberate on their expenditure and make immediate efficiency gains.

3. The Presidential Task Team that was established will deliberate and attend to the plight of students in debt and increase funding for financial aid.

4. The immediate establishment of a commission to look at the restructuring of the entire system, including fee increases, subsidy and cost drivers and historical inequality, including infrastructure renewal.

Yesterday, Habib told Talk Radio 702’s Stephen Grootes that he’s disappointed that some students haven’t ceased protesting. He explains that although the initial demand of a zero percent fee increase for 2016 has been met, there are still outstanding issues that students feel need to be addressed. His primary concern, however, is getting the academic programme back on track.

“I think all of those other demands are imminently addressable within the university and we are prepared to sit down and talk to them; we’re prepared to address the academic programme, the examination schedule,” Habib said.

“The one big issue is outsourcing and insourcing,” Habib continued. “I recognise that it’s an exploitative practise but our big challenge is how to do this.”

Listen to the podcast:

 

Wits also released a statement on Monday in which Habib said that academic activities at Wits will resume on Wednesday. Habib revealed the university’s nine-step plan to meet the demands of students and improve the academic environment at Wits:

1. There will be no increase in fees. This means that academic, residence and any other fees will not be increased. The Presidency has agreed to underwrite the cost of this, provided that the university makes some contribution.

2. The university is prepared to address the increase in the upfront fee payment.

3. The university recognises that the protests have adversely affected the ability of students to write their examinations. It therefore commits to restructuring the academic programme and examination timetable.

 
Related link:

 

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Our Singular Focus is to Get the Academic Programme on Track – Adam Habib on #NationalShutDown (Video)

South Africa's Suspended RevolutionRewolusie op ysInguqukombuso YeNingizimu Afrika Eyabondwa YashiywaNtwa ya Boitseko e Fanyehuweng ya Afrika Borwa

 
Yesterday, the Minister for Higher Education and Training Blade Nzimande convened a press conference to respond to the current wave of student protests across the country – the #FeesMustFall and #NationalShutDown movements.

Professor Adam Habib, vice-chancellor of Wits University and author of South Africa’s Suspended Revolution, was present in his capacity as chairperson of Universities South Africa.

Habib explained that the Department of Higher Education and Training and the university sector have come together to find a quick solution to the students’ grievances and to put a system in place to resolve all issues over the long run. He stressed the importance of resuming classes, explaining that it would be “really horrendous for the system, horrendous for poor people in this country” if students were affected negatively in their examinations.

“As a collective of stakeholders we are saying we are going to open up the process of institutional negotiation,” he said. “The goal of that institutional negotiation must not be higher than the CPI related 6 percent increase – that’s what it says, that we’re opening up and creating a framework for that to happen.”

“The university sector and the department are going to get together to enable that to happen. That doesn’t close the issue of upfront registration fee,” he said in response to a journalist’s question.

“We came together as stakeholders, and this is a possible route to resolving it,” Habib said. “Our singular focus today should be to get the academic programme on track.”

Watch the video:

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Also read:

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Adam Habib Sums up South Africa’s International Criminal Court/Al-Bashir Debacle

Adam Habib, political analyst, Vice Chancellor of Wits University and author of South Africa’s Suspended Revolution, says he is worried by hints that South Africa may leave the International Criminal Court.

South Africa's Suspended RevolutionRewolusie op ysInguqukombuso YeNingizimu Afrika Eyabondwa YashiywaNtwa ya Boitseko e Fanyehuweng ya Afrika Borwa

 
Government accused the ICC of deciding South Africa must arrest visiting Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir before completing a process of proper consultation.

“I don’t necessarily agree with the fact that government violated a court order,” Habib says, although he also says that Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe was “absolutely right” that South Africa need a balance between competing obligations: “The law has to be applied in the real world.”

He says he disagrees, however, with the government’s desire to leave the ICC: “It’s a dangerous thing. It’s a race to the bottom in the human rights scale.”

Listen to the Primedia Broadcasting podcast:

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Adam Habib Angry at “Shocking Level of Unaccountability” in Government over Gerard Sekoto’s Legacy

The importance of the legacy of South African artist Gerard Sekoto and The Gerard Sekoto Foundation was the central point of sensitive discussion on Talk Radio 702′s The Redi Tlhabi Show between Adam Habib, vice-chancellor of University of the Witwatersrand and chairperson of Higher Education South Africa, and Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa.

South Africa's Suspended RevolutionRewolusie op ysInguqukombuso YeNingizimu Afrika Eyabondwa YashiywaNtwa ya Boitseko e Fanyehuweng ya Afrika Borwa

 
In December Habib cut his holiday short for a meeting with the minister to discuss the possibility of Wits housing the Sekoto papers and memorabilia, an important move to give students and members of the public access to his legacy, only to be informed 20 minutes prior to the meeting that the minister had to attend to “urgent cabinet business” and would not be available for the meeting. This “shocking”, “irresponsible” and “unacceptable behaviour” aggravated Habib, who spoke to Redi Tlhabi about his grievance.

In the podcasts below Habib explains the importance of Sekoto’s legacy and why an incident like this, where a minister disregards his duties, reflects the rotten state of accountability in South Africa. He questions the role of the Department of Arts and Culture and asks why they are not supporting important projects such as the preservation of Sekoto’s legacy.

Habib explains that it all boils down to one thing: “It is time that our political elite realise accountable to their citizens.” In a later podcast, Minister Mthetwa responded to Habib, stating his case.

Listen to the interesting discussion that followed:

 

 

 

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Adam Habib’s TNLC Keynote Address: “The Future of University Civic Engagement” (Video)

Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor of University of the Witwatersrand and chairperson of Higher Education South Africa, gave the keynote address at the Talloires Network Leaders Conference in Stellenbosch recently.

South Africa's Suspended RevolutionRewolusie op ysInguqukombuso YeNingizimu Afrika Eyabondwa YashiywaNtwa ya Boitseko e Fanyehuweng ya Afrika Borwa

 
Habib’s speech was entitled “The Future of University Civic Engagement: Opportunities and Challenges”. In it, he emphasises the link between academic institutions and the political struggle against apartheid, and outlines his vision for similar engagement in South Africa today.

Watch the video:

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