(Published - 23 August 2018)
The University of the Western Cape and the English Academy of Southern African hosted the first Annual Memorial Lecture of Professor Stanley Ridge on August 16, 2018.
Professor Ridge, who passed away earlier this year, was the immediate past president of the English Academy. For nearly four decades he served UWC with distinction in various roles, including being chairperson of the English Department, the Dean of the Arts Faculty, Vice-Rector (Academic) and Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University.
“We are grateful for the role Stan played in building our institutions, and his commitment to empowering people from all walks of life during his many years of service to UWC,” said Professor Tyrone Pretorius, UWC Rector and Vice-Chancellor.
The evening saw Professor Ridge’s friends, family, colleagues and students come to honour and celebrate his life and his legacy. The lecture was delivered by a former student - Grant Farred, a Professor of Africana Studies at Cornell University in New York.
Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Student Development and Support, Professor Pamela Dube, gave a welcoming speech on behalf of the executive leadership of the University. She expressed her gratitude for knowing the late professor and having worked with him.
“Those who knew Professor well, remember his generosity of spirit and his ability to touch the lives of those around him in a special and positive way,” said Professor Dube.
Professor Ridge believed passionately in empowering students and fellow researchers, and had a unique way of doing this. Professor Farred is a product of this passion, and his lecture was entitled: The Perversity of Gratitude: Reflections on an Apartheid Education.
“I wish that I was not here tonight, I wish Stan was here with us,” said Professor Farred.
“Stanley Gordon Ridge is that teacher who remains, in the vibrancy that emanates from his ghostly demarcation, my friend and occasional interlocutor, he is a gift made to us by time.”
He led his lecture by reflecting on the dialectical value of apartheid education. His primary and high school, topped off by the six years spent at UWC - formerly known as “Bush College - all fell under an apartheid education provided by teachers simultaneously constrained by and hostile to the dictates of apartheid education.
“Apartheid made me think. Apartheid made me think about not thinking. Apartheid made me understand the cost of not thinking. Apartheid revealed clearly how costly it could be to think,” said Professor Farred.