for tomorrow

NMMU News

22/07/2016

Interview between Pedro Mzileni (News24) and Prof Rose Boswell, Dean of Arts at NMMU

http://voices.news24.com/pedro-mzileni/2016/07/interview-pedro-mzileni-professor-rose-boswell-dean-arts-nmmu-transformation/

LIVE AUDIO RECORDING: https://soundcloud.com/pedromzileni94/professor-rose-boswell-nmmu-dean-of-arts_10_june_2016

PEDRO MZILENI (PM): Thank you so much Prof for your time. Before we start, I’d like you to take us through your journey … you know … from being a student, choosing your career, starting from when you were teaching and doing research till today seated in this office as the Dean, just take us through as to who you are.

PROFESSOR ROSE BOSWELL (PRB): Ok thank you very much Pedro. I was a undergraduate student at UCT but obviously there was a long journey to even get to UCT … as you can possibly imagine .. you know.. I grew up in Southern Malawi .. rural Malawi, on a sugar estate with lots of other … you know .. people who are artisans. My dad was a factory worker there and I was fortunate enough to actually be the last born child of eight and so it meant that by the time that I came along my father had moved up a little bit in his career and became a senior staff member which meant that then he could therefore apply for a bursary in order for me to come to university.
But it wasn’t easy because no one from our community at that time had actually gone to university so I was like one of the first people to go to university from that community. And … you know … I was fortunate to arrive here in February 1990 which was also another lucky break because that was the year in which …

PM: Nelson Mandela was …

PRB: Yes the year Nelson Mandela got released from prison so I arrived just a few months after that. The funny thing was that I applied for student permits and ..you know.. if you’re a foreign student you have to apply for a student permit to come to study in South Africa but because it was the apartheid years, I was supposed to arrive in 1989 but it was a state of emergency at the time I’m not sure. Pretoria was not issuing any permits to any African students. So I couldn’t come. I had to wait a whole year before coming to South Africa and then, of course… that affected the degree that I could choose because I applied originally to do psychology, that was my interest, I was going to do industrial psychology and go back and work in the organization setting but since I only arrived in June/July 1990, it was halfway through the year and I was forced to do these semester modules as opposed to a whole year course.

So I did anthropology. I did archaeology. I did sociology and industrial sociology … and I did history. I continued with those subjects and I realized that actually they had more to teach me than what psychology would have, of which at that time, it was being taught ..you know… according to a very Eurocentric models of psychological well being and so on. So archaeology, anthropology and sociology were already at that time beginning to think out of the box and so I fell into that. One of the reasons why it was also interesting to me was that I grew up under a dictatorship in Malawi .. you know.. under Kamuzu Banda and he had a huge impact on the population. I mean we could not talk politics anywhere …you know… if you were a foreign person in that country and you had something bad to say about Kamuzu Banda then you could be deported or you could be sent to prison. There was even oppression within the country.
We had a situation where the rural people were in many cases they were forbidden from coming to the city to look for work. They were forced to actually work on the land so, in a way, they were not allowed to determine their own future. Some of them under law could not speak their own languages. For instance the people living in the north known as the Tumbuka people, their languages were not taught in school so they had to learn chewa or chichewa which is the language of the president. So I came from that background and then I came into social sciences so I already had an experience at the age of 18 or 19, I had an experience of what is what is it like to be an immigrant – what is it like to be a black person – what is it like to live in a dictatorship. I had that personal experience before being exposed to the subject matter. So when I was writing my essays, I like to think that my essays were different from what other students offered because actually even at that time, I was already bringing in my personal experience into that space.

You can also imagine that UCT …you know.. was also at the time a very white institution. In many ways I understood that it was quite untransformed you know and you are coming in there from a completely foreign background – it’s huge – ..you know.. 15 000 students at the time. I believe now they have something close to 50 000 students at UCT. You could easily get lost. So I empathize when I see students that …you know.. first year, second years and so on. I remember what it was like to be a student and to have to go through that process and so I’ve always been a person who…. I don’t like to hold back on what I know. So if somebody does come and ask me for advice I will give them what I know so that they don’t have to go through all the hurdles of getting to know something.

And then, ja, in choosing a career… you know.. I mean, I continued in my second, my third and fourth year with …you know ..history. I was very interested in history. We did a lot of like Latin American history looking at present movements… you know… in Latin America and how they rose up against the elites ..you know.. that kind of stuff. We were learning a lot of politics out of the third world countries and international relations and then of course I did anthropology. It was actually anthropology that took me into communities. When I was doing my Masters in 1995 which seems like a very long time ago (laughs) and that was the time… you know… obviously just after the first democratic elections in South Africa and we were … ironically we were going through the first local government elections ever and at that time people didn’t know their rights as voters.

So I worked for a small N.G.O. and that N.G.O’s task was basically voter education. So we went to all the way to the winelands area with farms and at that time…… sorry Pedro the story is a little bit disjointed… but at that time there were a lot of farm owners who actually prevented their workers from actually going to vote because they didn’t want there to be a majority…. you know…. ANC vote. They wanted to retain the National Party vote in the Western Cape. So they prevented …you know … these workers from going. They threatened them saying they would lose their jobs if they went.

If you looked at how people were actually living and working on those farms …you know … some of them they would do what they call night time harvesting, so which means that they sleep in these shacks nearby …you know… where they have to block out all the sunlight and everything during the day and they must wake up at two – three o’clock in the morning to actually harvest the grapes because that’s the time when the sugar content is the highest. So there was a lot of oppression and a number of people actually wrote about the oppression you know …on those farms and how ….you know… the farmers actually made the money and how they were in fact almost slave like conditions …you know… in on those wine farms but that was in 1995 and then I completed that work.

I also went to see what was happening in a place called Gugulethu with a friend of mine Ntombi. She was assisting me also with interpretation and translation and so on and we were there in the local meetings to raise voter awareness of people’s rights. Things like what you must do if you don’t have an ID and how you must get an ID …you know…. the whole process of how to get to that point (of voting). That part of the work ….what the interest was for me ….it was on how N.G.O.s and community based organizations were helping people to advance themselves because this is just after the fall of the apartheid regime. So that’s really important and so you can see, I think, from that time that I really had… basically my interest on the issues of inequality, of identity, of social justice was born at that time and in that time just after the fall of apartheid … you know…. that system sort of came to an end.

And then I went to … as I said in the UNASA conference in 1993/1994, I worked for the United Nations (UN) and that was the time that I did quite a lot of public relations work for the UN and I was there because I didn’t get funding and I had to go and work. So I worked until I had a bursary in like 1993 when I was a honours student and then in 1994 I didn’t have a bursary to do Masters so I had to work that whole year. So I worked that whole year and then begged and begged ….and whatever money I had saved…. I then came back to do the Masters study. So one of the things that I learnt in that was that I couldn’t wait for anybody to actually help me. Actually because it was so few people that would help ….that thing…. you know Pedro there comes a point in your life where you actually have to help yourself. And so while I was doing this Masters work and I was doing the work with the N.G.O.s the voter education and all of that, I had three jobs…. I had to work three jobs just to get enough money to survive.

So I worked on the campus. I was writing ….. I assisted in the writing center … I was helping students with their writing skills …. to help them with their essays and so on. So I was a social science person. I helped students with their essays. And then I worked for the N.G.O. which was dealing with voter education, as I have told you about earlier and I was also a tutor in my department. So I did the Masters and I completed it there. Then afterwards I looked around and I realized that, okay, there’s no job. What now? I have finished the Masters and there’s no job so you kind of feel like your career is not determined so much by your own aspirations and your convictions. Sometimes it’s determined by what is actually there and what can be offered to you. So I sent out many many many applications and I got many rejections …you know… in the NGO sector even though I had the experience of working in the NGO sector. But in the end I was lucky to get a teaching job and I got a teaching job at Rhodes in 1997. I was 25 years old (laughs). Getting that teaching job Pedro was my lucky break.

I spent …you know.. 16 years teaching and gradually moving through the career ladder and my whole thing was that I knew what was important for me. I knew that I wanted to do. Writing was the big thing (for me) and I knew that I wanted to write about issues of …you know… race, issues about social justice, issues about identity both in the South African context where I could and also in the Southwest Indian Ocean. And so I wrote as much as I could and I taught …. and ….it was really hard you know because along that road of teaching you sometimes think to yourself and ask is this all there is? …you know… and so while I was teaching very much like other teachers you apply for other jobs because you never know what’s going to come up …you know…

And as I explained a bit in the UNASA conference …. I was offered this huge interview with UNESCO in 2003 and I went on to Paris for the final interviews and I was shortlisted for this job. I was going to be the cluster or division head for the Southwest Indian Ocean. But what happened was I lacked the managerial experience even though I had the knowledge of the area. I had the disciplinary requirements since I was a social scientist but I didn’t have the managerial knowledge of the UN systems and they took an insider for the job. So anyway but I didn’t take that…. I think my response to that was actually one of the most important lessons that I learned which was … even when you are faced with failure, you don’t give up hope …you know… and you can always try your best to see how you can turn a difficult situation and a situation where you might fail into something that is positive. So I didn’t …you know… respond to that negatively.

I immediately went and I applied for funding (to do a research project). I even …. well because I knew South Africa would not give me funding to do research out of the country, I therefore applied to international research funding agencies to do a project on heritage issues and identity after slavery in that region of the Southeast Indian Ocean. So we speaking of Madagascar, Mauritius, Zanzibar and so on and I got the funding. I got like …you know… it was really quite a shock ….you know… to actually get the research funding. And that’s what actually set me up to start working on issues of heritage and ..you know… social justice after slavery. If we look at many of the problems facing the African continent today, a lot of them … the root of them ….we can trace it back to slavery and the fact that we lost millions of people, millions of able bodied men and women to the slave trade. The kinds of social relations, political relations and economic relations that were set up after slavery …you know… or during the time of slavery rather, that kind of slavery …you know… it is still evident today. We can still see it today and that’s why I …you know… I’m interested in that (field).

So how did I end up as the dean of the Faculty of Arts (at NMMU)?. Well while I was at Rhodes I was involved in many university level committees and we tried very hard with the academic freedom committee …. there was some resistance to …you know… the idea of what was it and the meaning of … you know… what does academic freedom come with …..does academic freedom come with academic responsibility and what is expected of academics in a changing social context …you know.. are there certain obligations that we have. Then I served … I was elected as the deputy dean of the faculty of humanities at Rhodes and I served in that position for just over two years and then I served as the acting dean of the faculty and then I got to a point where I said to them ….Look… I’m sorry but I want to actually focus on my research and I want to focus on my writing and also I was also facing some opposition from the communities that were there. I basically faced racism and sexism Pedro.

I came to a stand where I said you know what, I want to be at a university where there are values. I want to be at the place where people think it’s important to have integrity or it’s important to protect and advance diversity. They didn’t have those values …. they don’t exist at any other university that I know of. I don’t know really but my sense is that they’re not many universities that actually have Council ratified social values …you know… where professionals are expected to advance integrity. In NMMU we have those. It’s not a choice. And so now I’m here in the faculty and I see it also as a bit of a calling …you know… like there is something that I can bring to the faculty and I’m ready to listen to …you know.. students and staff and to really find a way forward …you know… for humanities because I really think that humanities has a lot to offer not just …you know… the Eastern Cape region but …you know… South Africa as a whole.

PM: Wow thank you so much for that … very very rich and interesting… Alright. Just to take from what you have said. A lot of your work was done in a period where South Africa was going through social changes post 1994

PRB: Yes…

PM: Now I am sure you have seen through working in the humanities that a lot of social science curriculums have changed after 1994. The adoption of the new constitution and social revolts changed the curriculum of sociology, law, psychology, political science and so on. However, why do you think the economics curriculum didn’t change?

PRB: From a non-specialist point of view …you know… I could say that it’s because we still have a global neoliberal economic system and that basically determines how businesses are run to a large extent. It determines what we place value on. The values and the discourses …okay… the ideologies if you like … of economics are coming to us from the Global North. They are from Europe and North America and we’ve just accepted it in the South African context and in South African curricula. We haven’t really … I don’t know ….challenged the extent to which ….. we’ve actually interrogated that and questioned it. You see it has financial implications to change the current status quo. So if your curricula is teaching students that perhaps, a profit for instance, is not the most important thing. How does that sit …you know… with them once they are qualified and they have to operate in an economic environment where the neoliberal principles apply?

So in a way there is a need I think for fundamental change in terms of practice as well in the South African context before we can actually put those changes into the curricula so that the students feel that …you know… once they complete their degree, they can see that they are going into an environment that is open to the idea of a different set of values. So it’s almost like …you know… I mean even in the time of …you know… communism ….for instance in the Soviet Union. They had a particular set of economic principles at play. I mean it made sense for people to be taught within that particular framework because they knew at the end of the day they were going to be in the communist system whether that was good or not is a debate for another day.

We are still tied into the sort of system that has always exploited us which is the neoliberal system which in many ways pretends to give us freedoms and opportunities but it’s not necessarily so because our time is actually circumscribed. What we consider to be valuable is heavily influenced …you know… by the media and so on so on. So we are encouraged to support and advance what is in effect a fairly unequal economic system.

PM: Now for a young person coming from the community you’ve outlined into your Faculty as a student and they tell you they would like to be a lecturer one day and take part in the production of a new curriculum, what would you suggest them to do practically in this Faculty in order for them to be successful academics?

PRB: Practically, well, the two things that I would say …. number one is reading (laughs)

PM: (laughs)

PRB: I know students don’t want to hear that but I promise you reading is one thing that helped me the most because English is not my first language and I found that reading helped me to actually learn English better. Even if it’s not the dominant language but unfortunately it is used within the university context. Reading opens up worlds. Reading shows you interesting things… you literally stand on the shoulders of giants because you’re now going to get the experiences of the philosopher who has been thinking about freedom for the last 20 years so that you don’t have to think about the principles of freedom and the deeper arguments …you know.. about it from the philosophers point of view, you get to travel with the person who has traveled to North Africa or to Russia or the person who went through the French Revolution.

So reading is number one. It’s key for any scholar and any academic. You need to read as much as you possibly can and as widely as you can. So don’t just take what your lecturer gives you in that course outline or model outline and think that okay if I read this I’ll know everything. You need to know more about the world. So go read widely. Read newspapers. You have to read …you know… articles online. You must know many things.

The second thing that I think is very important is never to actually stop questioning things. I think a big challenge often is when you’re a student …you know… your lecturer is very powerful ..you know.. and you just look to them to answer all the questions you have. Meanwhile you have your own life experiences like I said to you at the beginning …you know…. where you were born, what you saw, what you heard, all of those things that make you a unique person also helps you to ask the kind of questions that no one else will ask because they don’t have your experiences.

So those are two things because people forget that they can actually ask questions and that’s actually how you learn by actually asking questions and challenging …asking challenging questions about things that people just say you must just accept …you know… you must just accept this model for managing criminals or you must just accept this model for dealing with …you know… diversity.

PM: Last year in October students took to the streets under the campaign #FeesMustFall which was more or less a successful protest. What changes is your Faculty going through at the moment after that protest?

PRB: Well two things that changed. Firstly we are taking the issue of decolonization seriously ..you know… and we are really opening up that debate …on all fronts …you know…for instance ….we not just having a …you know… scholarly debates on it …you know…. We are also hosting seminars and we have already hosted 16 this year. We are interrogating decolonization whether it’s in social movements, whether it is in music, or on gender relations or regional politics. You know it’s not just about the academic questioning but also what we’ve done practically is we started a series of engagements with both administrative staff and our academic staff around transformation.

PM: Both administrative and academic staff? Interesting….

PRB: Yeah, we want to know what is it that ….you know… what are we looking for ….what are the issues, what are the challenges, how did people feel about the student protests, what would….. what were the responses and why did they respond in that way. So we started that kind of actual engagement you know… with the staff because we feel that …you know.. some of our staff were either they were not prepared to actually …you know… encounter this kind of fundamental change or they were still operating in a paradigm where …you know… were things are still …you know… like back in the day.

We’re also looking at all the curricula of all the modules we offer. We had to do that anyway. All the programs and all of them that are on offer within the Faculty. So we’re looking at the curriculum, looking at what is offered in terms of our readings and so on and asking …you know.. what are we actually saying in class and does it actually speak to the issues faced by South African communities. We’re looking at teaching and learning strategies for inter-Faculty transformation partnership of the arts and science.

We also want deeper conversations with our students …you know… to ask them …you know… from a student point of view what are some of things that they would like to see in our faculty …you know… insofar as maybe the way to which students are treated. Maybe insofar as what’s happening in the classroom …you know… the assessment of teaching practice … these are some of the things that we putting together because at the moment it’s very much …you know… a lecturer comes he or she does the teaching and when they’re teaching it’s maybe not quite what the student expects they may or they may not be at the end of the day teaching evaluation. There may be no reflection on the teaching practice or no reflection on the course content. So we are trying to get that so that we can get …you know.. like the 360 degree feedback process happening with the students to tell us what we can do to improve the teaching and learning, and the lecturers can put it into practice in the teaching and then maybe the students can tell us that okay things are better or not.

PM: Thanks for that. Alright. Now let’s come closer to you personally. There was a protest in the beginning of the year where some students occupied the offices of the Faculty and accused you of not doing enough to transform the Faculty. Others said that you stand for the past. Do you agree with that?

PRB: I don’t agree with that I certainly think that a lot needs to be changed in the faculty I agree that the is much more that we can do and that we are trying to do but I think it’s problematic to perceive somebody as standing for the past if you don’t know anything about their past. I think it’s important for students to also ask those questions, questions like “who is this person?” and “where does this person come from?” and “what are the politics and the philosophies of this person?” and …you know… that’s like a number one thing that …you know… that in social science that we do. We don’t make assumptions about anything. We start with the point of interrogation. We find out who is this person. What has she written because ironically that day when the students came to my office I realized that I had to sit down with them and really hear first of all not just listen but to actually hear …you know… what people are saying about their own suffering. And I think that’s important I think. I think we need to be open to that to actually hear people. And I think that anyone who is open to actually hearing and not just listening cannot be for the past.

PM: The University has a strategic vision of where it wants to see itself in future. It even has a document outlining this vision into detail called Vision 2020. Everytime our Vice Chancellor Professor Derrick Swartz gets on a podium, he speaks about it. Where do you see Professor Boswell in Vision 2020?

PRB: I think for me it’s really for grounding the particular contributions of Arts and Humanities to the advancement of NMMU strategic objectives. That sounds quite complicated but basically it’s about bringing the arts and humanities fully into the NMMU space because for too long it has hung back, for too long it has just been about …you know… having an arts teaching program in the School of Music, Art and Design without really saying, you know what, how can we use art for instance …you know… to transform the university space. What can you manage …you know… performance. What can all of these things bring to the decolonization of the institution? What can the humanities perspective, the humane perspective bring to an understanding of the work human resources management? To an understanding of …you know.. financial management because all of these form part of the strategic objectives outlined in Vision 2020. The managing of the resources of the university in a good way.

Creating a good environment for the workers one who are living and working you know in the space. All of these things and I think the use of the Arts faculty, its contribution is not just in terms of its teaching or what it can offer in terms of teaching and learning and scholarship or even research. It can really bring both the artistic contribution to the NMMU space and it can bring a new human face to the institution so that we can actually realise the values in …you know… that guide vision 2020. You can’t have an appreciation of diversity and be open to diversity if you don’t have an understanding of some basic sociological principles about how human beings can work together better.

PM: Alright. Let’s take ourselves out of the university. For the second and last part of this interview we are just going to focus on issues affecting society generally. This morning there was a taxi strike which has put everything on a standstill. This protest has received mixed reactions from different sectors of society. Others say it has caused inconvenience to their lives, others are saying the taxi drivers have a right to protest. Exams has been postponed in NMMU. What do you make out of all this?

PRB: I found it very interesting actually because I was thinking about this morning in fact yesterday already and my thoughts were there are many sides to the story. The one side obviously is the one that you’ve stated now which is that we have students who we do need to make their way to the university to write their exams but they can’t because they don’t have access to the transportation to bring them to NMMU. On the other hand I understand the underlying reasons for the strike which as I understand it, it relates to the increasing cost of the fares they would like to charge …you know… their customs.
If we look at what has happened in South Africa in the 18 months financially. We can see that there has been the depreciation of the rand and we know that inflation has increased so we know that the country’s economic standing has downgraded. What people must understand who are commuters is that this economic turmoil has affected the salaries of taxi drivers. They are not necessarily going up which means that they cannot afford to meet the rising costs of living in an uncertain economic context.

The cost of food has gone up. The cost of clothing, the cost of school fees, you name it. The things a South African consumer of the majority simply cannot afford. The more they have to pay for the taxi fare. The less money they have left over for basic needs for health services food clothing school fees etc and even their own data that they need to service so I mean I’m not an economic lecture about I keep a tabs on these things ..you know.. because I think that …you know… one has to have a …you know… a good understanding of what’s going on …you know… in any country where you’re …you know… you’re living and ….I can see that …….I can understand why the strike is happening from the taxi industry side and I can understand why people are resisting it and I can understand the economic cost of the stay away.

You know but it’s almost like sometimes the argument for efficiency takes over everything else. When it should not be like that. Should we always …you know… emphasize with the goal of efficiency over the human needs of people to actually have just enough income? I think it’s a good thing to have a strong civil society …you know… you know…. unions. Because those are what they was supposed to be doing is to actually keep us all straight in so far as …like… taking care of all human needs. Without the unions there would be no negotiations around wage structures. Without the unions there will be no negotiations around what constitutes sick leave, what constitutes better working conditions and so on so on. And it goes back to my first argument about the dominance of a neoliberal economic system globally that sells the myth that we are free whereas we are not.

PM: A recent research published by Stellenbosch University recently has shown that 60% of learners doing grade 4 cannot read. Do you think a university has a role to play in solving this problem?

PRB: Look I think this is more a question for our colleagues in the basic education department. So I don’t want to overly speak on their behalf but I do know that at NMMU there are a number of initiatives in place to ensure that the teachers have the requisite level of English for example because it’s the medium of instruction in many schools. They must actually meet those ..you know.. those language requirements so that they are in a position to teach these …you know… scholars or pupils to basically read but I think …you know.. being a parent myself, one of the things that I notice is that parents are not taking responsibility for the learning of their children. So a university can train teachers, great teachers, and send them out …you know… into the South African educational space but only so much learning can happen in the school day and in a school system. When that child goes home with their homework, somebody needs to sit with them to make sure that they are reading. And if parents don’t read unless that child is really determined …you know… they’re not going to be in love with reading because children learn from their parents a lot.

So that’s why I said to you earlier on that reading is important, it doesn’t matter what the person is reading whether it’s newspapers because I know that not all families can just simply afford books or maybe they are in an area where they don’t have a good public library ..you know… that kind of thing so …but.. you have newspapers. You have …you know… the parents might be uneducated themselves. You never know.

PM: 2016 is the year of the local government elections and these have been labelled as the elections of the youth in the media. What message do you have for them? Do you think this is their moment to realise their generational mission?

PRB: It’s difficult to imagine what the youth are thinking but my sense is that the point about an election is that you exercise your choice and to exercise your choice you need to have a sense of purpose. You need to know why you’re actually making that particular choice and not to make the choice blindly. So for me I’m saying to the youth that, they must really think about their purpose …you know… what is it that they want to achieve collectively for themselves. What way would they like to see South Africa in the next five to ten years. If we look back to the last five or ten years and we see what has happened in the country …you know… they must use some of this as a basis for making a choice about the future and it’s not an easy choice to make because there are many variables at play.

As we all know in politics. There are always a lot of promises from all sides. And it never …it hardly ever materializes that these promises get fulfilled. So it’s really very much about looking at what one wants. One must ask themselves as to by the time that they are ready to graduate …you know… from the university and go out into the working world. What would you want to see and which party can actually make that a reality?

PM: Last question. Okay… on your last question…. I’m sure you’ve seen me that lately universities have been receiving a lot of attention lately from the media like never before. I mean even SRC elections receive national media attention. Violent protests which include the destruction of property are taking place in universities. Do you think universities have now assumed a new responsibility, a responsibility of providing solutions to problems facing communities? Do you think citizens are seeing universities as a new platform to transfer their problems and seek help?

PRB: There are two possible arguments here. One is the one that you’re making that because we have …you know … you know … government. Maybe one can say. … That it is not operating as efficiently as it should or maybe even a national government that’s not operating as efficiently and as productively as it could that many of our local communities and are turning to universities because these are seen almost as the public sector institution and they are at least intellectually engaged in positive social change, they … you know… that’s how they see themselves and so people are turning to them and asking for this assistance.

The other way of looking at it and that this is the way that I’ve been looking at it is that universities themselves have left the ivory towers and are realizing that actually they are a embedded in the communities that they work with. They have an obligation to work with the municipality and to work with local N.G.O.s and service providers in order to realize the meaningful and true development of our society. They are now members of the people who have the decision making power. The universities are engaged now in a massive paradigm shift where they are they are trying to put the ivory tower behind them in order to understand what it is like to live and to be part of the community.

I’ll give you one example from one of the projects that we working on in the faculty, you may have heard of it. It’s a project we working on with the South African Police Services. It’s a project on analyzing gang related crime in the city. So we are partly partnered with the police services to help them understand better and more deeply why these crimes are happening and where are they happening and how …you know… how they can use that information to inform their own interventions in the communities.
The communities don’t have to suffer …you know… continuously from these types of crimes. That’s just one, that’s the crime one. The other one that we working on is one which is still to come, it is on liberation here to teach in the Eastern Cape. So we bringing all the stories of …you know… the sort of small but also large histories of liberation. Here we have liberation heroes into the public space, things that people don’t know about, like the story of Sarah Bartmaan whose body is buried here near Gamtoos River Valley. …You know.. things that we don’t know about, the people who were involved in the liberation struggle in the Eastern Cape region. We are taking their stories and we are bringing that into the public space. Not by large seminars and conferences. No

We working on a series of guides for the tourism sector so that people can actually go to those places where these things happened. And can basically empower those communities because you know as you know tourism is a huge burden for South Africa, a huge income generator for foreign direct investment. So we need to kind of leverage that, we need to kind of try and get tourism into those places that the tourists would not normally come.

PM: Professor Rose Boswell. Thank you so much for your time

PRB: Thanks Pedro

ENDS….

Contact information
Mrs Debbie Derry
Deputy Director: Communication
Tel: 041 504 3057
debbie.derry@nmmu.ac.za