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Saturday, 30 May 2015

No easy solutions to wildlife trafficking

tortoise

There are no easy solutions to the growing scourge of international wildlife trafficking and the illicit trade in rhino horn and ivory. All too often, law enforcement efforts in countries that are directly affected stop where borders begin, allowing transnational syndicates to operate with impunity.

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A solution to South Africa's wildlife crisis?

rhino horn

The debate around legalised trade in rhino horn as one of the proposed solutions to rampant poaching is perhaps the most divisive issues in conservation today. Would a stable, regulated supply of rhino horn bring down current black market prices?

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Professor Crain Soudien to head HSRC

Crain Soudien

Professor Crain Soudien will be leaving the University of Cape Town to take up an appointment as the Head and Chief Executive Officer of the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) on 1 September 2015.

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PhD profiles: Raising awareness of neurogenerative diseases

Dystrophy

In the run-up to the June 2015 graduation, we profile some of the research done by PhD graduates from December 2014. Meet Danielle Smith, whose doctoral research in human genetics focused on a heritable neurodegenerative disease that afflicts a number of South Africans, and often leads to people being wheelchair-bound and unable to see: Spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7).

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Beating children leads to a lifetime of underachievement

Schoolkids

Children who are beaten by their parents do badly at school, often drop out, and ultimately get lower-paying jobs, according to recent research. The findings are particularly alarming in light of the high levels of child abuse in South Africa.

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Why Africans must join forces to protect scarce water resources

scarce water resources

African water resources are under increasing stress and the continent is likely to face significant water shortages by 2030. Population growth combined with climate change and continued economic development will put further stresses on water resources and infrastructure.

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PhD profiles: Communities consolidating peace in Northern Uganda

Gulu women

In the run-up to the June 2015 graduation, we profile some of the research done by PhD graduates from December 2014. Meet Samson Barrigye, whose doctoral research focused on the role of ordinary Uganda citizens in peacemaking and conflict resolution, and advocated for more bottom-up processes in which communities can participate.

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The devastating condition that can cause cancer in children

Cancer syndrome

Doctoral candidate Lindiwe Lamola has had a grudge against cancer since it caused the death of her much-loved grandmother. She is channeling her energies into examining a rare genetic syndrome that puts people at risk of developing cancer in childhood.

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UCT and Rhodes Must Fall sign agreement

VC Desk

UCT and the students who have been occupying Avenue House have signed an agreement that has been made an order of the High Court of South Africa, Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price announces in his latest VC Desk.

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South Africa's first engaged scholarship programme launched

South Africa's first engaged scholarship programme launched

Enlarge the horizons of your own 'seeing', so that you don't end up simply being a product of your history, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Crain Soudien said at the recent launch of UCT's Engaged Scholarship Programme.

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Transformation: what's the past got to do with it?

UCT's Safety and Violence Initiative

UCT's Safety and Violence Initiative recently organised a public seminar, aimed at investigating the issues and dynamics that inform transformation debates on campus and in South Africa – and consider ways we can have more empowering conversations on transformation.

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A different route to reducing university drop-out rates

Engineering Student

South Africa is in the grip of a skills shortage. Among the top ten skills needed to boost its lacklustre economic growth are civil, mechanical, industrial and chemical engineers, writes Professor Jennifer Case of UCT's Department of Chemical Engineering.

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PhD profiles: Keeping science in the family

PhD profiles: Keeping science in the family

In the run-up to the June 2015 graduation, we profile some of the research done by PhD graduates from December 2014. Meet Penny Driver, who was working in financial mathematics for a merchant bank when a UCT talk on climate change inspired her to register for a doctorate in ocean and atmosphere science, looking specifically at rainfall variability over Southern Africa.

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Seven honorary degrees to be awarded in 2015

Seven honorary degrees to be awarded in 2015

This year, UCT will award honorary degrees to seven highly esteemed figures for their contribution to activism, the arts, law and the economy.

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Undergraduate research: from the bottom up

Undergraduate research

Once the research bug bites you, it will never let you go, says deputy vice-chancellor for teaching and learning, Professor Sandra Klopper. She is leading a campaign to encourage research-led teaching at UCT and increase the visibility of undergraduate research.

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Cigarette taxes lead to big drop in smoking

Woman smoking

Smoking in South Africa has decreased substantially over the past two decades, particularly among the young and the poor – and research shows that this is largely thanks to sharp hikes in excise taxes, which have pushed up the price of the average pack of cigarettes.

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Reviving extinct languages the mobile way

Sunkanmi Olaleye

A desire to preserve languages and pay tribute to the rich San culture is at the heart of the Xamobile project, which will allow users to text and perhaps even play games in the extinct |Xam language on mobile devices.

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Africa can emulate China's development

Africa can emulate China's development

"We think it is possible to effect change in a generation [in Africa]. China has done it. If we want to do it, we can do it," Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chair of the African Union Commission, said at the opening of UCT's China-Africa Colloquium today.

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Disrupting gender: 'decolonisation necessarily requires degendering'

Disrupting gender

The Trans Collective's first seminar, Disrupting Gender, asked how the physical and non-physical spaces of the university could be reconfigured to include all forms of gender variance expression.

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How well can you remember a nose? The problem with identikits

The problem with identikits

A study has found that we recall faces better when we think of them in their entirety, rather than feature by feature. This could have significance in the world of crime-solving, where 'featural' identikits are still used.

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People and wildlife: a status report

Wildlife in crisis

Director of UCT's Centre of Criminology, Prof Mark Shaw, gives an overview of the first day of discussions at the Wildlife in Crisis conference, looking at all possible responses involving people and their interactions with wildlife.

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Fire alarm shows early success

Fire alarm shows early success

An engineering Honours thesis by UCT graduate Francois Petousis gave rise to a fire detector, designed and distributed by technology start-up Lumkani.

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Wildlife in crisis

Wildlife in crisis

Over the past decade, the illicit trade in wildlife and animal parts has become a multi-billion dollar black market industry. A significant rise in the rate at which animals, across a range of species, are being illegally exploited has generated a global outcry. Prof Mark Shaw, director of UCT's Centre of Criminology, considers some of the solutions posed – and hotly debated.

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UCT grants amnesty to protesters

VC Desk

UCT has made an executive decision to grant an amnesty in respect of all protest-related incidents that occurred between the first protest on 9 March 2015 and 18 May 2015, Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price announces in his latest VC Desk.

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Up and coming research stars receive awards

Up and coming research stars receive awards

How can we better understand drug-induced liver injury? What happens when HIV infections coincide with tuberculosis and diabetes? What mechanisms are behind the distribution and decline of animal species?

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Dlamini-Zuma to open UCTs China-Africa colloquium

Dlamini-Zuma to open UCTs China-Africa colloquium

Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chair of the African Union Commission, will deliver the keynote address at the opening of the China-Africa Colloquium at UCT from 21 to 22 May.

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UCT upholds suspension of student pending disciplinary hearing

UCT campus

The University of Cape Town confirms that it has suspended a student pending a disciplinary hearing following an incident that occurred in an academic department on Friday, 1 May 2015.

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Simon season showcases diverse SA plays

Simon season showcases diverse SA plays

Coinciding with Africa Month at UCT and in partnership with the Baxter Theatre Centre, the Department of Drama is commemorating the life and work of prolific South African theatre-maker Barney Simon in a season of plays, Touched by Barney Simon: A Retrospective, at the Little and Arena Theatres.

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South Africa must start managing its retreat from the coast

South Africa must start managing its retreat from the coast

Phoebe Barnard, Lead Climate Scientist, SANBI; Lead Researcher, Climate Change Vulnerability and Bioadaptation at the University of Cape Town, argues that a managed retreat from the coastline is necessary.

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Reclaiming African roots through dance

Reclaiming African roots through dance

A celebration of Africa and its diverse cultural influences was at the centre of the UCT School of Dance's most recent production titled Routes to Roots. Presented in the first week of Africa Month, the production reflected on the spate of xenophobic attacks plaguing South Africa and made a case for integration through creative movement.

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Facts about the recent suspension of UCT student

VC Desk

Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price updates the campus community on the recent suspension of a UCT student.

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Chaeli Campaign strikes gold (twice)

Chaeli Campaign strikes gold (twice)

Two sets of dancing double-world champions have emerged from the Chaeli Sports & Recreation Club - part of the Chaeli Campaign - which was started by a UCT student to fight for young people with disabilities to have fair access to opportunities and services.

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First African Union Chapter launched at UCT

First African Union Chapter launched at UCT

A mentorship programme, a journal and an annual talk shop that seeks to address uniquely African problems are some of the elements that will be embarked upon by the first African Union chapter established on the continent.

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UCT confirms suspension of student

UCT

The University of Cape Town confirms that a student was suspended on 7 May 2015 and will face disciplinary charges following an incident that occurred in an academic department on Friday, 1 May 2015.

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Commemorative squash tournament in its 10th year

TransformUCT: Drop punitive policy, give students space

The Keith Grainger Memorial UCT Open Squash Championships was bigger than ever this year, with 78 male and 32 female players competing. The tournament also saw ten under-14 players taking part in their first-ever major event.

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TransformUCT: Drop punitive policy, give students space

TransformUCT: Drop punitive policy, give students space

The Black Academic Caucus, also known as TransformUCT, calls for the university to stop exercising punitive force against students and staff involved in the Rhodes Must Fall movement, and to provide a space where students in the movement can come together and debate transformation and decolonisation at – and of – UCT.

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UCT launches next MOOC – What is a mind?

Mark Solms

Following the successful delivery of its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) Medicine and the Arts: Humanising Healthcare, the university is set to launch its second MOOC, What is a Mind? in which UCT's Professor Mark Solms tackles a question that has perplexed humankind across time and cultures.

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Letter to SRC Presidents by Ramabina Mahapa (UCT SRC President)

Ramabina Mahapa

Blacks remain caged and tamed by endless laws and processes, for simply demanding a dignified and just existence, writes Ramabina Mahapa, President of UCT's Student Representative Council, in a letter to SRC Presidents and the South African Union of Students.

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UCT appoints first female dean of EBE

Prof Alison Lewis

Prof Alison Lewis – who's been head of UCT's Department of Chemical Engineering since 2013, and a professor of chemical engineering since 2007 – has been appointed the dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (EBE), effective 1 June 2015. She's the first woman to be appointed to this position at UCT.

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Developing civic-minded university graduates

Global Citizenship

How do we prepare students for a world that is increasingly unknowable, disruptive, unequal and disturbing? Janice McMillan, convenor of UCT's Global Citizenship Programme, writes about the importance of 'cultivating humanity': teaching students to critically examine their own traditions and beliefs, recognise their community and fellowship with human beings around the world, and consider what it's like to walk in someone else's shoes.

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Affordable heart valves to help rheumatic heart disease sufferers

Peter Zilla

Cardiac surgery techniques and technology were driven, in the 1960s in Europe and America, by the high death toll from rheumatic heart disease (RHD). In the 1970s the global burden of disease changed and RHD all but disappeared in the global north, however it continues to kill hundreds of thousands in the developing world. A locally developed heart valve is set to change that.

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UCT 'opens up' to local learners

Open Day

UCT Open Day saw the university hosting in excess of 5 000 grade 10-12 learners from local schools as well as a group from as far afield as Zambia.

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Understanding and responding to xenophobic violence

Xenophobia Discussion

At lunchtime on Thursday 23 April 2015, while Johannesburg residents marched against xenophobic violence, UCT gathered for a discussion on how to better understand, respond to and prevent this kind of violence in South Africa.

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Postgrads showcase winning research

Postgrads showcase

The very nature of the university as we know it is changing, Dr Marilet Sienaert, executive director of the Research Office, said at the recent UCT Postgraduate Research Expo.

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Decolonising UCT

Decolonising UCT

A panel of distinguished academics as well as students from the Rhodes Must Fall movement shared their ideas on how they see the process of decolonising UCT moving forward, during a lively, often heated debate.

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A people's history of struggle

Protest in 1976

This Freedom Day, we mark the extraordinary turnabout in South Africa's history with reflections from a few UCT staff and former students on how the struggle against apartheid took shape on campus – their memories of student sit-ins, government spies, and the everyday indignities of apartheid.

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UCT researchers shine in prestigious health awards

HIV/Aids

South African universities, including UCT, have received significant awards – a total of US$8-million in the first year – to support research targeting HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and HIV-related disorders and cancers.

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Campus trees on the mend after ring-barking

Fynbos

The three camphor trees along Stanley Road on middle campus that were stripped of their bark in December last year are responding well to treatment after arborist and conservation forester Riaan van Zyl applied "tree paste" to the stems.

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New system aids drought predictions in biodiverse regions

Fynbos

Climate-change-induced drought is threatening the world's biodiversity hotspots; but a new, standardisable system to describe drought strategies in plants will help conservationists understand the impact of future drought, says a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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Confucius Institute: A bridge between Africa and China

Assoc Prof Shengyong Qin

Not only is China Africa's largest trading partner, but nearly 1.2 billion people (around 16% of the world's population) speak some form of Chinese as their first language. Thanks to the Confucius Institute, UCT students can emerge from their studies fluent in Chinese language and culture, and prepared to engage with the role this growing economic powerhouse plays on the continent.

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Huge numbers at Mathematics Competition

Mathematics Competition

No fewer than 7 500 students from across the Western Cape converged on upper campus on 16 April to take part in UCT's Mathematics Competition. They came from as nearby as Rondebosch and as far afield as Bredasdorp and George, all with the single purpose of solving some of the toughest mathematics they will encounter in their high school careers.

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UCT condemns xenophobic attacks on African immigrants

UCT

The University of Cape Town expresses its abhorrence and deep concern over the rise of xenophobic attacks on foreign nationals in Kwazulu-Natal, Gauteng and other places around our country.

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Xenophobia at odds with SA 'rhetoric of inclusivity and human rights'

Prof Francis B Nyamnjoh

Everyone in South Africa – citizens and foreigners alike – should be worried by the recent spate of attacks on black foreigners that started in KwaZulu-Natal and have subsequently spread to other parts of the country, says social anthropologist Professor Francis B Nyamnjoh.

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Meet the winners of the 2014 Social Responsiveness Award

Mfuleni ECD centre

Early childhood development and urban activism may not at first glance have much in common. Nonetheless, it was the long-term commitment displayed by Stuart Hendry, director of the Faculty of Commerce's Development Unit for New Enterprise (DUNE), and Associate Professor Sophie Oldfield to projects within these fields that won them both the 2014 Vice-Chancellor's Award for Social Responsiveness.

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SRC 2015 says #NoToXenophobia

Xenophobia

UCT's Students' Representative Council (SRC) strongly condemns the xenophobic attacks against fellow Africans that have been taking place in KwaZulu-Natal and its surrounding areas.

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Announcing public consultation phase re: Rhodes statue

public consultation phase

UCT is in the process of applying for the permanent removal of the Rhodes statue (following its temporary removal on 9 April 2015). This process includes an assessment of the statue's history, context and heritage significance, consideration of alternative options, and a public consultation process.

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Give us another space, says RMF

RMF press conference

At a press conference on Jameson Plaza on 13 April, the Rhodes Must Fall (RMF) movement made three demands: that the university provides a space to replace 'Azania House', that it does not prosecute or discipline students for inappropriate behaviour in the run up to the removal of the Rhodes statue on 9 April, and that it continue removing "imperialist, patriarchal and colonial" symbols and statues.

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TransformUCT: 'The future is watching'

The Future is Watching

TransformUCT – a group of black academics committed to transformation at the university – appeals for earnest engagement around transformation.

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Transformation: Vibrant student spaces needed

Vibrant student spaces needed

In the aftermath of the Rhodes statue's removal comes a signed statement expressing concern regarding UCT management's recent response to the Rhodes Must Fall student campaign and calling for more spaces in which students can talk and reflect on transformation transparently.

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Explorations in South African flute music

Explorations in South African flute music

"Music chooses you, and not the other way around," says flautist and lecturer Dr Liesl Stoltz, about how and why she recorded the first CD of flute music by South African composers.

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Why we should care about dust – and the crucial role it plays in our climate

Huab Valley

Dust doesn't get a lot of attention until it makes us sneeze or collects in dark corners, or blows up in dramatic storms. However, that is beginning to change.

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Forget the myths about immigrants

Immigrants

A new wave of attacks on foreign migrants working in the informal economy makes it clear that the problems that bubbled over recently are far from resolved.

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African photographers: How we frame ourselves

African photographs

Veteran photographer Paul Weinberg presents images from 'The Other Camera', an exhibition featuring archival photographs of Africans taken by Africans.

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Urgent update on the Rhodes statue and Bremner occupation

VC Desk

Vice–Chancellor Dr Max Price updates the campus community on urgent steps to be taken following the removal of the Rhodes statue.

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Dynamic dance duo present Baxter double bill

Dynamic dance duo present Baxter double bill

Two of South Africa's leading dancers and choreographers, Grant van Ster and Shaun Oelf, will present a short season of two works at the Baxter's Flipside stage from 9 to 18 April 2015.

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Rhodes goes quietly amid jubilation

Rhodes goes quietly amid jubilation

The removal of the Rhodes statue from its dominant perch overlooking the Cape Flats was met with songs and celebration. It seemed afterwards that campus exhaled.

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UCT's Rhodes statue to be removed at 17h00 today

UCT's Rhodes statue to be removed at 17h00 today

UCT's Rhodes statue to be removed at 17h00 today.

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An end to assimilation, the right to self-determination

Ramabina Mahapa's

SRC statement delivered at the UCT Association of Black Alumni discussion on transformation on 8 March 2015.

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South Africa by numbers: what is happening to poverty, employment and disease?

Poverty

The National Income Dynamics Study has found that poverty is falling, but that nearly two-thirds of citizens classified as poor in the 2008 survey were still poor in 2012; that nearly half of employed youths don't have stable employment; and that chronic lifestyle disease is the second most pervasive illness after HIV/AIDS.

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VC Price reflects on the Rhodes Statue debate

UCT Council votes in favour of removing Rhodes statue

Vice–Chancellor Dr Max Price marks the moment when UCT decided to remove the statue of Cecil John Rhodes from campus – noting it as a turning point for transformation.

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SRC welcomes Council's decision to remove the Rhodes statue

SRC welcomes Council's decision to remove the Rhodes statue

SRC President Ramabina Mahapa speaks at the special Council sitting on 8 April 2015 to decide on the fate of the statue of Cecil John Rhodes.

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UCT Council votes in favour of removing Rhodes statue

UCT Council votes in favour of removing Rhodes statue

Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, chairperson of UCT's Council, issued the following statement regarding the status of the Rhodes statue, following a special sitting of Council on 8 April 2015.

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UCT and Heritage Western Cape's joint statement on the temporary removal of the Rhodes statue from upper campus

UCT and Heritage Western Cape's joint statement on the temporary removal of the Rhodes statue from upper campus

UCT and Heritage Western Cape's joint statement on the temporary removal of the Rhodes statue from upper campus.

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Two researchers' journey from AIDS despair to an age of hope

Desmond Tutu HIV Centre

Professors Robin Wood and Linda–Gail Bekker have won the 2014 Alan Pifer Award for excellence in research, treatment, training and prevention of HIV–related diseases and infections in Southern Africa. Their journey has taken them from the dark days of AIDS denial to an important moment in the history of the epidemic.

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Faster, more decisive transformation needed – Rod Solomons

Faster, more decisive transformation needed – Rod Solomons

UCT must move faster and more decisively to thoroughly transform the institution Advocate Rod Solomons (pictured left), national vice–president of the UCT Association of Black Alumni (UCTABA), said at a panel discussion the association hosted in the Kramer Building last night.

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Convocation debates Rhodes and transformation

Convocation debates Rhodes and transformation

UCT's Convocation, the body of the university's graduates, gathered for a special general meeting on 7 April 2015. The purpose was to allow its members to express their opinions on the future of the Cecil John Rhodes statue on UCT's upper campus, as well as on broader transformation issues.

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UCT Convocation expresses views on Rhodes statue's future and broader transformation issues

UCT Convocation expresses views on Rhodes statue's future and broader transformation issues

UCT's Convocation, the body of the university's graduates, gathered for a special general meeting on 7 April 2015. The purpose was to allow its members to express their opinions on the future of the Cecil John Rhodes statue on UCT's upper campus, as well as on broader transformation issues.

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PRAESA wins top international reading promotion award

PRAESA wins top international award

The Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa (PRAESA) has been honoured with one of the world's most prestigious children's literacy accolades – the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA).

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UCT condemns attack on Garissa University College, Kenya

Kenyan Flag

The University of Cape Town condemns the attack by armed gunmen at Garissa University College in Kenya, saying that universities are meant to be special places of learning, sharing and tolerance, not violence.

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Leslie Bank debates the future of UCT's Rhodes statue

Leslie Bank debates the future of UCT's Rhodes statue and reviews broader transformation issues in Higher Education

Director and professor of the Fort Hare Institute of Social and Economic Research, Leslie Bank, debates the future of UCT's Rhodes statue and reviews broader transformation issues in Higher Education.

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How to honour Archie Mafeje's legacy

How to honour Archie Mafeje's legacy

Forty–seven years ago, UCT social anthropology alumnus Dr Archie Mafeje successfully applied for a senior lectureship at his alma mater, only for Council to withdraw his appointment a month later, drawing stinging criticism from staff and students. On what would've been Mafeje's 79th birthday, the Archie Mafeje Annual Memorial Lecture was held at UCT – and provided an opportunity to reflect on the lessons of his life, work and legacy.

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UCT Academics Union statement on #rhodesmustfall

UCT Academics Union statement on #rhodesmustfall

The UCT Academic Union supports the call to remove the Rhodes statue and commit to finding solutions to transformation-related issues.

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'History changes over time – nobody owns it'

Rhodes protest

We need to come to terms with our history, to understand the contribution of those who made their mark on society – often in a complex and contradictory way, writes Ghaleb Cachalia in a letter to UCT's Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price.

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UCT Association of Black Alumni (UCTABA) view on Rhodes statue

UCT Association of Black Alumni (UCTABA) view on Rhodes statue

The Western Cape chapter of the UCT Association of Black Alumni share the organisation's view on the Rhodes statue and invite alumni and other key stakeholders to a public event on 7 April 2015 to discuss ways of ensuring deeper transformation at the university.

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