Pulse of a new day

25 August 2015
Photo by Michael Hammond.
Photo by Michael Hammond.

It's the season of change. There's a tinge of orange left above Devil's Peak at 6pm, some oak trees threaten to sprout new leaves, and the first-year cohort are now veterans of their first full semester at university. And change is afoot around campus in a big way. Two buildings have already been renamed – look right for more about that.

Since 1 August, Professor Anwar Mall of the Faculty of Health Sciences has sat in the administrative seat of the university in Bremner Building. Mall will act as Deputy Vice-Chancellor from 1 September. He fills a gap left by one of the university's stalwarts, Professor Crain Soudien, who bids farewell to his DVC duties on 31 August.

Soudien's 42-year UCT tenure has seen him make pivotal contributions to understanding and undoing the nuts and bolts of social inequality, in his capacity as professor of education and African studies, and as the deputy vice-chancellor responsible for transformation. Monday Monthly spoke to him on the cusp of his step towards the Human Sciences Research Council, where he will continue to enrich debates about racism, sexism and their fellows from the director's chair.

One of the 'everyday' sexisms that has lingered since the dark ages is the idea that some women are 'spoken for'. In lieu of August Women's Month, we've decided to rest our pens and let the women of UCT speak for themselves. Monday Monthly caught up with women from around the university, be they in academic offices, PASS departments or the in the often 'invisible' Supercare uniforms. We asked what lessons they'd learned from their mothers and grandmothers.

Some of the issues raised in these interviews are unpacked by Dr Nadia Sanger on page 10, who lectures part-time in gender studies at UCT. Sanger argues that pro-women groups would see more success if they rooted intellectual rigour and theory in the 'on-the-ground' realities, such as HIV/AIDS and access to employment.

The great and imagined divide between intellectualism and lived experiences is only harming efforts to quell endemic violence against women, such as the horrific fatal attack on teenager Anene Booysen in Bredasdorp, she says.

We've also 'painted by numbers' a fleeting glimpse of where women find themselves in terms of employment and livelihoods – in South African society, and at UCT in particular.

Parts of the university are also commemorating the third anniversary of the Marikana massacre near Rustenburg &ndash check our online spaces for coverage of those events.

This edition closes with getting to know Julian Mayer, the principal technical officer in mechanical engineering, who uses a 1972 Fender Jazz bass guitar (read: a very nice one) to demonstrate wave propagation to students.

Finally, while there's something to say for the tactile experience of reading a newspaper, the newsroom wants to reach more and more readers via their email inboxes. You might find it worth your while to subscribe to UCT's electronic newsletter, which demands of you naught but following this link.

Enjoy and engage.

The Newsroom Team

Monday Monthly Read more stories from the August 2015 edition.

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