Commemorating Uyinene Mrwetyana and other updates

19 August 2020 | Campus Announcement

Dear colleagues

This campus announcement aims to inform the UCT community about recent developments on campus.

1. In commemoration of Uyinene Mrwetyana

On Monday, 24 August 2020, the Uyinene Mrwetyana Foundation will co-host a webinar in commemoration of the life of the late UCT student, Uyinene Mrwetyana. The webinar will be staged in collaboration with the Psychological Society of South Africa and the University of South Africa’s Masculinity & Health Research Unit. It will unpack violence against women, with leading psychologists including UCT’s Professor Floretta Boonzaier as part of the programme.

2. Inclusive Practice Speaker Series

Western Cape universities are co-hosting an Inclusive Practice Speaker Series this year. The series brings together practitioners, scholars and civil society organisations to provide thought leadership that cultivates and contributes to an anti-racism position for the higher education sector. The next seminar is titled “Beyond task teams, investigations and transformation committees: Confronting racism in higher education”, and will take place from 14:30-16:30 on Monday, 31 August 2020.

3. Update on COVID-19 cases in the UCT community

As at 18 August, the reported number of positive COVID-19 cases among non-health sciences staff members was still 89, with no new cases reported since the last update. Of these, 73 staff members have recovered. The number of students’ cases is 35, which includes 10 Faculty of Health Sciences students on clinical platforms. The overall number of positive UCT cases is 124, with the lives sadly lost due to this pandemic remaining at 10 (nine staff and one student).

4. COVID-19: recovered and remembered

In order to destigmatise COVID-19, a new initiative by UCT’s Communication and Marketing Department (CMD) – #RecoveryDiaries – invites staff and students to share their experiences of dealing with COVID-19 as infected or affected persons. CMD’s aim is to give space to those who tested positive and have since recovered, as well as those who had to support COVID-19 positive family members and loved ones through their recovery process.

With anxiety inducing news doing the rounds, this is a platform to share some positive news to say, “this is how I coped” and “here are the tips I can share with you”. Staff and students can write in or request to be interviewed by one of the CMD writers.

All information shared will be treated with sensitivity.

Contributions will be curated and shared on the dedicated UCT COVID-19 webpage.

Please send submissions to

5. Women’s Month feature page

With August being Women’s Month, the university is focusing on celebrating womxn and their achievements during this time. Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng recently hosted a virtual Women’s Day event that included speeches and presentations by womxn who are at the top of their fields. Over the remainder of the month, UCT News will be sharing a curated variety of stories about inspirational womxn at UCT on the news website.

6. ICTS scheduled maintenance

Please note that on Sunday, 23 August 2020, the Information and Communication Technology Services (ICTS) will perform scheduled maintenance from 09:00-17:00. Unless advised to the contrary, staff and students should note that no ICT services will be available for the duration of the maintenance slot. Please remember to consult the scheduled ICTS maintenance slots for 2020 before planning any teaching, conferences, meetings, and other activities that require ICT services.

7. Funding challenge for soft-funded researchers

One of the greatest uncertainties created by COVID-19 is, of course, research funding. The university is preparing for a significant decrease in government funding next year: steep budget cuts have been announced for the National Research Foundation and the National Department of Higher Education, Science and Innovation.

The university drafted a policy that outlines specific plans to provide some support for soft-funded research groups whose work and funding have been interrupted, to create some stability over these difficult times.

8. UCT Libraries services during the second semester

UCT Libraries will continue as a virtual library service for the rest of the academic year in support of the Emergency Remote Teaching programme and the UCT Return to Research Plan. The physical reopening of UCT Libraries will now coincide on the academic calendar with the resumption of contact teaching and learning.

9. Appointment of GSB director

Dr Catherine Duggan has been appointed as the new director of the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) effective from 1 September 2020.

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