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UWC celebrates heritage week

UWC celebrates heritage week. Ten Years of International Poets on Campus

Friday, 18 September marked the beginning of a week-long Heritage celebration at the University of the Western Cape.

UWC Creates, the Centre for Multilingualism and the Centre for Students Support Services (CSSS) came together and synergised their different Heritage Day events. These included the annual Steve Biko Frank Talks lecture series which started at 09h00 under the theme, Africanising Higher Education, which later evolved into a discussion under the banner Re-Africanisation of higher Education.

This year’s Steve Biko Frank Talk lecture installment consisted of a panel discussion which explored the nature of the Africanisation of higher education in South Africa after 21 years of living in a democratic society.

Issues like the Rhodes must fall campaign, Open Stellenbosch campaign and issues relating to gender were discussed under this theme, which was presented by the panel including: Leigh Anne Naidoo, who is a UWC alumni and PhD candidate at the University of the Witwatersrand; Professor Simphiwe Sesanti from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU); alongside Dr Birgit Schreiber, Director at CSSS at UWC, and Ms Obenewa Amponsah, CEO at the Steve Biko Foundation.

The Frank Talk dialogue is a multifaceted programme titled after the pseudonym under which Steve Biko wrote, using Steve Biko’s methods of pursuing critical, constructive debates through frank dialogues.

The platform was created for the public and students to openly discuss critical issues affecting South Africa’s political, economic and social development.

The Frank Talks are held at UWC annually on the anniversary of Steve Biko’s death, 12 September, but this year it came with a bit of a twist as the Arts faculty at UWC invited poets and writers to recite their poems on the day.

The Rector and Vice-Chancellor at UWC, Professor Tyrone Pretorius, started off the poetry session by reciting a text by Steve Biko and an Afrikaans love poem written by Professor Adam Small.

Poets and writers like Vonani Bila, Anne Vegter (Poet Laureate of the Netherlands), Nkosinathi Sithole, Valda Jansen and Mbogeni Nomkonwana were invited, as well as six student winners of the Sindiwe Magona Literary Prize of 2015. The winners of the Sindiwe Magona Literary prize were: Angelique Thomas (English Poetry); Phyllis Orner (English Prose);

Elton Juries (Afrikaans Poetry); Jolyn Phillips (Afrikaans Prose); Sivatho Rijala (isiXhosa); and Tsepiso Nzayo (isiXhosa).

Performances by the UWC Jazz band, which were organised by the UWC Centre for Performing Arts, as well as performances by rap artists under the banner Rap on Campus and poetry recitals organised by the Faculty of Arts, could be enjoyed. Several opera singers from Cape Town Opera entertained an enthusiastic group of students in the student centre.