Prenegotiation in South Africa (1985 – 1993)

I love inadvertent digitisation – when something you previously only had in hard copy is suddenly available on the internet. Last year, my masters supervisor, Prof Pierre du Toit, emailed me and asked if he could nominate my MA thesis for upload to Stellenbosch University’s SUNscholar, as they are slowly updating the repository with pre-2009 theses and dissertations. The title was Prenegotiation in South Africa (1985-1993) : a phaseological analysis of the transitional negotiations (I still don’t know if ‘phaseological’ is a word).

I said yes, not only because it took me three years to write and I lost my digital copy in a late 20th century computer crash, but also because the topic of South Africa’s transitional negotiations remains relevant today, 20 years after the formation of our democracy. The thesis is now available as a downloadable PDF here.

South Africa between 1985 and 1993 was a case study in how an interplay of multiple factors – from the pressures of the global political economy, to domestic unrest and civil disobedience, to the sheer will of individual personalities – could realign a whole society towards a new future. South Africa in 2014 is in the middle of a multifaceted debate over the real gains and losses of its diverse population groups and how systemic and persistent inequalities should be addressed during a period of slow economic growth.

We tend to forget how significant and unexpected our (relatively) peaceful transition was, or what lessons we learned at the time. It might be opportune to revisit the transition and do a fresh analysis of the success factors then, to gauge their relevance for a new national compact for the next 20 years.

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SARUA Curriculum Innovation network receives funding

SARUA Curriculum Innovation network receives funding

The SARUA Climate Change Counts mapping study, which I project managed as part of a HEMA consortium of specialists, proposed four major collaborative networks to be established among Southern African universities. These four networks were identified after an extensive needs analysis and institutional assessment conducted in 2013 and are:

  1. Research Network (comprising 7 research themes/ clusters)
  2. Curriculum Innovation Network
  3. Capacity Development Network
  4. Policy and Institutional Development Network

The mapping study was funded by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN), the SADC Regional Environmental Education Programme and contributions from regional universities.

Proposed SARUA university networks to address climate change

Proposed SARUA university networks to address climate change

It has now been announced that the Curriculum Innovation Network – which aims to develop a regional climate change curriculum for SARUA members within SADC, will also be funded by CDKN. An expression of interest process will soon be announced by SARUA to identify potential university partners to be involved in the development of the curriculum.

Read the announcement as reported here on University World News and watch this space for more news.

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Climate Change in Southern Africa and the role of universities

Climate Change in Southern Africa and the role of universities

University World News published an article on the SARUA Programme for Climate Change Capacity Development and the recently published results of the Climate Change Counts mapping study, which I project managed as part of the HEMA Consortium.

“The mapping study involved a needs analysis and an institutional assessment, focused on the higher education sector and undertaken on a country-by-country basis, bringing together information from 12 countries across a multiplicity of disciplines.

“By making the results of the mapping study available, SARUA is providing a platform for self-organised knowledge sharing and collaboration among universities on the issue of climate change,” said Piyushi Kotecha, CEO of SARUA.”

Read the article here.

Download all final reports:

Volume 1, Number 1: Knowledge Co-Production Framework

Volume 2: Country Reports

Climate Change Counts in Botswana workshop

Climate Change Counts in Botswana workshop

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Knowledge co-production in SADC on climate change

The Southern African Regional Universities Association (SARUA) Capacity Development Programme on Climate Change, which I wrote about here, concluded its mapping study in May 2014. The mapping study was the result of 18 months of research by way of workshops held in 12 SADC countries, to understand the climate change knowledge gaps and how universities in the region are responding to them.

On 5-6 May 2014, the SARUA Executive Committee hosted a Leadership Dialogue  at Spier Conference Centre where some of the team who comprised the HEMA Consortium presented the findings of the study to representatives from regional universities.

The two lead authors, Penny Urquhart and Prof Heila Lotz-Sisitka shared the Knowledge Co-Production Framework with the attendees and in my role as project manager I presented the road map to guide the next steps of the programme, which involve establishing collaborative networks across the SADC region to focus on climate change knowledge co-production that responds to regional challenges.

This programme can make a huge impact towards the revitalisation of higher education in the region and the full reports are made available on the SARUA website.

The representatives from SARUA, regional universities, HEMA and CDKN, 6 May 2014

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From Dusk ’til Dawn in Namibia

From Dusk ’til Dawn in Namibia

Namibia is a country which takes hold of your heart and doesn’t let go. If you’ve been there once, there is a good chance you want to go back again and again.

I have been lucky to work in Namibia as an associate consultant with many local teams since 1999 and last week I was back to facilitate strategy sessions in Windhoek for the Meat Board of Namibia and Standard Bank Namibia. It was hard work from morning, through some nights, to morning, but fruitful and productive.

The one session was held at River Crossing Lodge – close to the city, yet it feels completely remote when you are there. I’ve only facilitated here twice and not yet experienced the accommodation, but it is well run, the service is attentive, the food is good and the setting is spectacular.

Namibia at dusk; Hosea Kutako airport; Namibia at dawn

Namibia at dusk (view towards Windhoek from River Crossing Lodge); Hosea Kutako airport; Namibia at dawn

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