POEM: ‘New’ Scientific Practice In South Africa With Special Reference To Land Reform

VUCover..training new generations of scientists and technologists oriented towards the solving of real problems (White Paper on Science and Technology 1996).
The SandT capacity of the country is running as fast as it can, but is still losing ground (National Research and Development Strategy 2000).

Introduction
(2005) The landscape of scientific practice and higher education in South Africa has changed drastically since 2 February 1990. The changes that occurred in these fields during the last decade of the 20th century were probably the most incisive in the history of science and higher education in South Africa.
When the democratically elected government came into power in 1994, science was confronted with two main challenges, namely to transform the system so that the welfare of all the inhabitants could be promoted and to make South Africa competitive in a globalising world.

The new government inherited a sound science infrastructure. It was a widely dispersed and uncoordinated system in which scientists enjoyed international recognition for transplanting hearts and for enabling the deepest exploitation of mines in the world. However, the system was mainly directed at the promotion of the welfare of the white community and was strongly focussed on military defence; the provision of energy and food; and the combating of diseases.[1]
In this transformation process, South Africa was very receptive to theories, models and schools of thought. Expertise from abroad was not provided in all instances without direct or subtle influence. There are already indications that certain models, that were applied successfully elsewhere, cannot be transferred without adaptations to the South African situation, where complex issues have to be addressed. The question that arises is whether the government implements the policy documents that were designed by intellectuals who are not part of the bureaucracy. Read more

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POEM: A ‘New’ Literature

VUCoverThank you for the invitation to speak at this important conference. I have been asked to tell you something about my own experience of teaching South African literature at Dutch universities, but also to give an indication of what South African literature departments might be expecting from the Vrije Universiteit (VU) and other Dutch universities at this point in time. This I do as someone who is South African born and bred and who taught at a South African university for 16 years. Every year I go back to South Africa at least once and I have many friends who are also colleagues in Afrikaans and Nederlands departments in South Africa. For various reasons they are suffering severe cutbacks. In the Humanities Faculties at Dutch universities a similar pinch is being felt.

What strategies should be developed in beleaguered times? In searching for an answer I would like to draw our attention for a minute to the rich tradition of so-called extra muros departments of Dutch all over the world: Barcelona, Budapest, Goa, Helsinki, Jakarta, Johannesburg, Jerusalem, London, Los Angeles, Münster, Oldenburg, Olomouc, Oporto, Oslo, Paris, Stellenbosch, Semarang, Strasburg, St Petersburg, Vienna – to name but a few cities where Dutch literature is taught. The differentiating terms intra muros (which refers to the universities in the ‘centre’ – the Netherlands and Belgium) and extra muros (the term refers to the universities outside the walls of the centre; on the ‘margins’) are soundly entrenched in the workings of the Society of Netherlandic Studies. The same has recently become true for the teaching of South African literature. English literature by authors such as Coetzee and Fugard has of course been part of English colonial curricula for many years and I will mainly focus on the new post-apartheid status of Afrikaans literature. It is taught intra muros at South African universities of course and since 1990 extra muros in many different countries all over the world: Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, the USA, Austria, Germany, Russia, Belgium and the Netherlands, to name but a few. Read more

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POEM: Some Trends In South African Academic History: Changing Contexts And Challenges

VUCoverSeismographic social and political shifts introduced the 1990s: the end of the Cold War, the demise of communism abroad, and in South Africa the official end of apartheid and the subsequent instalment of a new democratic government. Given these developments it is reasonable to expect that historians, who construct their versions of the past in the present, and are at least to some degree influenced by that present, should, in the light of wider contextual changes, re-evaluate their approaches and revise their interpretations. The relationship between societal change and historical production is, however, not a simple one-to-one function.

It is against this background that this paper seeks to identify and briefly explore selective developments pertaining to the dynamics of the historical profession in South Africa and the intellectual correlates that help to define the current nature of the enterprise. The paper focuses only on certain aspects and makes no claim to have covered the vast and treacherous area exhaustively.

Academic historians and the question of growth
The 1990s were not the most auspicious of times for the profession. Instead of bewailing this fact, it may be more profitable to apply historical insights to the phenomenon and to ask what are the conditions that are particularly conducive for the expansion of the historical enterprise as practiced professionally? This necessitates a brief look at the contextual forces that helped to shape the profession in South Africa. Read more

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Governance and Development in Southern Africa – Development Policy Review Network

SouthAfrica

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On 13 November 2007, some thirty Dutch and South African practitioners, policy makers and academics, all working on the subject of governance and development in southern Africa, came together for a day of discussions. Although all grappling with similar subjects in their respective professional lives, these three groups of professionals seldom meet each other in forums that are explicitly designed to foster debates and cooperation across the professional boundary lines.

The Proceedings from the Third DPRN regional expert meeting on Southern Africa (2007 – published 2010) .

1. John Belt and Marja Spierenburg – Public-private partnerships in rural development. Downplaying the role of politics and power relations

2. Henk Molenaar and Marjoke Oosterom – Negotiating knowledges for development

3. Anshu Padayachee and Ashwin Desai – Post-apartheid South Africa and the crisis of expectation

4. David Sogge, Bob van der Winden and René Roemersma – Civil domains and arenas in Zimbabwean settings. Democracy and responsiveness revisited.

5. Paul Hebinck, Derick Fay and Kwandiwe Kondlo – Land and agrarian reform in South Africa: Caught by continuities

6. Jan Kees van Donge and Melle Leenstra – Donors and governance in Southern Africa. The case of Zambia, with Zimbabwe as a counterpoint.

 

Read more

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Public-Private Partnerships in Rural Development, Downplaying the Role of Politics and Power Relations – DPRN Two

SouthAfrica

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Introduction
Public Private Partnerships, or PPPs, are increasingly popular in the field of international development cooperation and sustainable development. Though PPPs are not a new phenomenon (see Linder 1999), their popularity in policy circles has steadily augmented since the late 1980s (Entwistle and Martin 2005) to a point where their promotion seems to have become a dominant ‘development narrative’ (cf. Roe 1991; 1995). PPPs are promoted as the most logical solution to a variety of service delivery and development problems, and are often presented as ‘technical’, politically neutral solutions (cf. Ferguson 1990). Nevertheless, the promotion and development of PPPs has a distinct ideological background and flavour (Linder 1999; Entwistle and Martin 2005). PPP’s present popularity followed after their (re-)introduction in the wake of the wave of privatisation of government institutions by conservative governments in Europe and the US – notably the Reagan administration and Thatcher’s government – in the 1980s. The idea of the need for the privatisation of government services was exported to developing countries through the many Structural Adjustment Programmes enforced by the IMF and supported by the World Bank. PPPs were considered ‘softer’ versions of the same process (Entwistle and Martin 2005) that would have less dramatic social consequences and therefore would be more palatable to the general public. Subsequently, New Labour stressed the partnership idea in PPPs, and the influence it is supposed to accord not only to the corporate sector, but also to civil society organisations (ibid.). However, there is an ongoing debate about whether the growing influence of civil society organisations is a counterpoint to the neo-liberal approach, as Escobar (1995) argues, or whether this is part and parcel of a neo-liberal approach (see e.g. Levine 2002). Read more

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Negotiating Knowledges for Development – DPRN Three

A Tribute to Saartjie Baartman

I’ve come to take you home –
home, remember the veld?
the lush green grass beneath the big oaks trees
the air is cool there and the sun does not burn.
I have made your bed at the foot of the hill,
your blankets are covered in buchu and mint,
the proteas stand in yellow and white
and the water in the stream chuckle sing-songs
as it hobbles alone over little stones.

I have come to wretch you away –
away from the poking eyes
of the man-made monster
who lives in the dark
with his clutches of imperialism
who dissects your body bit by bit
who likens your soul to that of Satan
and declares himself the ultimate god!

I have come to soothe your heavy heart
I offer my bosom to your weary soul
I will cover your face with the palms of my hands
I will run my lips over lines in your neck
I will feast my eyes on the beauty of you
and I will sing for you
for I have come to bring you peace.

I have come to take you home
where the ancient mountains shout your name.
I have made your bed at the foot of the hill,
your blankets are covered in buchu and mint,
the proteas stand in yellow and white –
I have come to take you home
where I will sing for you
for you have brought me peace

Diana Ferrus

Ferrus - blacklooks.org

Diana Ferrus – blacklooks.org

Saartjie Baartman
This poem, written by the South African Diana Ferrus, refers to the return of Saartjie Baartman to her home country. On Women’s Day, 9 August 2002, the remains of Saartjie Baartman were finally laid to rest in the area of her birth, the Gamtoos River Valley in the Eastern Cape. Thus ended a long period of exile in life and in death of a young Khoikhoi woman, who was to become an icon in South Africa as a victim of the horrors of colonialism and racism.
Born in 1789 and orphaned in a commando raid, Saartjie Baartman became the servant of the Dutch farmer Johan Cezar near Cape Town. When his brother Henrik Cezar and his friend, the ship’s doctor William Dunlop, visited Johan in 1810, they met with Baartman and convinced her that it would be to her advantage to accompany them to Europe. Each for his own reasons wanted to make the most out of her physical characteristics. From the 17th century onward, Europeans had been fascinated by the steatopygia, the broad hips and large buttocks, of Khoikhoi women. Furthermore, Khoikhoi women knew the custom of elongating the labia to conform to an ideal of beauty. The resulting sinus pudoris, or ‘curtain of shame’ equally was a source of fascination frequently mentioned in both popular and scientific literature. Read more

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