Sutherland reburial and other updates

23 November 2023

Dear colleagues and students

The University of Cape Town (UCT) will co-host the reburial programme for the nine sacred human remains that were unethically brought to the institution from Sutherland in the 1920s. Read about this and other developments on campus.

1. Sutherland reburial

In 2018, UCT disclosed that during an archiving audit, sacred human remains of nine people from Sutherland were identified as having been unethically brought to the university in the 1920s by a medical student. The university admitted to this wrongdoing, apologised for the injustice, and acknowledged this as a shameful chapter in UCT’s history.

It has been five years since UCT announced it will embark on a process of restorative justice which included – among other things – engagement with the Abrahams and Stuurman families who share surnames with some of the nine, and the relevant stakeholders.

The Sutherland Reburial programme will finally be held over three days on Friday, 24 November at UCT; Saturday, 25 November en route to Sutherland; and Sunday, 26 November in Sutherland following the authorisation by the Minister of Sport, Arts and Culture earlier this year and a permit granted previously by the South African Heritage Resource Agency.

2. Enhanced emergency preparedness and protocol measures

UCT has embarked on a journey to bolster its emergency and disaster management preparedness and protocol measures. As part of this process, the Occupational Health, Safety and Environment (OHSE) division within UCT’s Properties and Services department has launched an online safety training video series. This initiative will contribute significantly towards enhancing the UCT community’s safety and welfare.

The purpose of this online training video series is to equip everyone within the UCT community with the knowledge and tools needed to ensure a safe and secure teaching, learning, research and working environment.

3. UCT to co-host African Universities Gender Equality Forum

UCT, the Shared Value Africa Initiative, and the #ITSNOTOK movement will co-host the African Universities Gender Equality Forum on Thursday, 23 November 2023. It will be held via Zoom from 14:00 to 15:30 CAT.

The forum aims to cultivate awareness about gender-based violence (GBV), and foster dialogue to introduce cultural norms that prevent GBV and catalyse programmatic change in the higher education sector. It is intended to serve as a platform through which participants can work towards driving meaningful conversations and change to eradicate GBV and increase gender equity within African universities.

4. ICTS scheduled maintenance on Sunday, 26 November

Please note that Sunday, 26 November 2023 will be an ICTS scheduled maintenance slot from 07:00 to 17:00. Unless advised to the contrary, do not expect any on-premise ICT services to be available for the duration of the maintenance slot. Cloud-based services, including Amathuba, email, Microsoft 365 services, and ServiceNow, are not impacted and can still be accessed.

Please remember to consult the scheduled ICTS maintenance slots page before planning any teaching, conferences, meetings, etc. that require ICT services.

For more information, see the article on why ICTS schedules regular monthly maintenance slots.

5. Update from recent Council meeting

The UCT Council met on Saturday, 11 November 2023 to discuss the implementation plan of the recommendations made by the report of the independent panel of investigation on governance matters at UCT during the period 2018–2022.

At the meeting, Council reaffirmed its commitment to remedying past governance failures and strengthening current structures by complying with UCT’s regulations and policies and enforcing the Council code of conduct.

6. Update on DVC: Research and Internationalisation role

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (DVC) for Research and Internationalisation, Professor Sue Harrison, will take early retirement from UCT with effect from 15 January 2024. Professor Harrison will pursue a contract opportunity abroad while continuing to work actively as part of UCT’s research team in bioprocess engineering.

Professor Harrison has been serving in the role substantively since 1 August 2019. She was appointed on a five-year contract. With eight months left before her term comes to an end, Professor Harrison has, after careful consideration, opted not to seek renewal for another term.

7. UCT official merchandise shop’s Blue November pop-up sale underway

The UCT official merchandise shop’s Blue November pop-up sale is underway. The sale started on Monday, 13 November and will end on Thursday, 30 November 2023. Enjoy great savings of up to 60% off on selected items. The pop-up shop is located at the Steve Biko Students’ Union Building, Cissy Gool Plaza on upper campus. Trading hours are from 10:00 to 15:00 on weekdays, excluding public holidays. Please note that only electronic payments are accepted. Prices and combo specials are valid while stocks last. Returns can regrettably not be accommodated. Please visit UCT’s official social media pages for more information.

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