Transformation Month to focus on integrating transformation

28 February 2011

This week will see the launch of UCT's first Transformation Month, with a full programme of speakers and events designed to stimulate further dialogue about transformation-related issues and to showcase the services the university has in place to further its transformation goals.

Director of the Transformation Services Office, Glenda Wildschut, explained that March was chosen to coincide with Human Rights Day in order to frame transformation within the context of human rights as articulated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"As the University's transformation drive is underpinned by a human rights philosophy, it is fitting that we celebrate transformation in the weeks leading up to 21 March," she said.

"We are excited about the programme we have lined up this month and are looking forward to introducing the campus community to our newly configured and integrated transformation services, as well as to some fascinating UCT and guest lecturers. The diversity of topics discussed during this month demonstrates the many forms of transformation, and how we as a campus can engage with and embrace transformation. "

The programme will be launched at 10h00 on 2 March in the Baxter Theatre's Golden Arrow Studio. Speakers will include the Chair of Council, the Most Reverend Njongonkulu Ndungane; vice-chancellor Dr Max Price; and deputy vice-chancellor responsible for UCT's transformation portfolio Professor Crain Soudien. The guest speaker will be Dr Pregaluxmi Govender, Commissioner of the South African Human Rights Commission.

"We are thrilled that Dr. Govender has agreed to give the keynote address at the launch," said Wildschut. "She is internationally renowned for her expertise in the field of human rights and is a member of the eight-member Panel of Eminent Persons, working on a global Human Rights Agenda. Her experience as an activist, educator, trade unionist, community leader and parliamentarian has given her invaluable insights into the process of transformation in many spheres of society."

The first day of March will also see the launch of HAICU and Student Wellness Services' biannual large-scale HIV testing drive on both the Health Sciences and Main Campuses, which will continue on 2 and 3 March.

Highlights of the Transformation Month programme include a guest lecture by South African composer Philip Miller on 3 March 15h00 in the Sir Richard Luyt Room. The celebrated composer will be discussing the artistic process behind the creation of his ground-breaking choral work ReWind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape and Testimony. ReWind incorporates audio samples of Truth and Reconciliation Commission testimonies and Miller will discuss his inspiration for interweaving these samples within both operatic and traditional South African music idioms.

On 15 March Shuaib Chalken, UN Special Rapporteur on Disability of the Commission for Social Development will present a lecture at 13h00 in the Sir Richard Luyt Room. A UCT alumnus, Chalken has a particular interest in how civil society can contribute to transforming policy regarding disability and is regarded as an international leader in the field of disability rights.

The celebrated REMIX Dance Company will perform in the African Studies Gallery on 16 March between 16h00 and 18h00. REMIX has received acclaim for their groundbreaking work in integrating the talents of dancers of varying physical capabilities, creating works of great emotional depth.

UCT staff and students will also be contributing to the programme. In the week beginning 14 March the SRC are facilitating a number of artistic activities with transformation themes on Jammie Plaza, which will culminate with a student panel discussion entitled Who Does UCT Belong To? which will take place in the Molly Blackburn Hall at 13h00.

The Faculty of Health Sciences' Transformation & Equity Committee, in collaboration with the Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) at the Northeastern University Law School, will hold an International Roundtable on Human Rights-Based Approaches to Tobacco Control on 22 March between 10h00 and 14h00 in Conference Room 4, Barnard Fuller Building.

Transformation Month will conclude with a Vice-Chancellor's Lecture on 23 March at 13h00 in the Centre for African Studies Gallery, which will be delivered by Professor Alan Rycroft.

UCT's Chair of Commercial Law, Rycroft will discuss dispute systems and the way in which well-executed dispute systems, such as mediation, have the capacity to transform work environments, heal relationships and provide the climate for a fulfilling work environment. Rycroft's address will be followed from talks from the former CEO of the CCMA, Noluthando Orleyn, and the UCT Ombud, Zethu Makamandela-Mguqulwa.

For more information contact the Transformation Month Coordinator,on ext 5949/073 947 2545 or email Nyambura Mwagiru.

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