Gender Awareness Week


Gender Awareness Week

In remembrance of the historic 20 000 women's march on 9 August 1956, to petition against  the country's pass laws for race-identification and following the government's most recent 100 Men March against women and children abuse, that took place on Tuesday 10 July 2018 in Pretoria, the North-West University will be hosting a Gender Awareness Week from 2-8 August 2018.

Seminar for staff and students

Consciously thinking about unconscious bias: reflect and respect

By Prof Liezl van Dyk (Executive Dean, NWU Faculty of Engineering)

Thoughts of a white, Afrikaans, mid-40s, female engineer in an executive management position in 2018 in South Africa.

Duration: 60 minutes
Date and venue: 
13 August 2018 (12:30 - 13:30): NWU Building N2A, Lecture room G01, Potchefstroom

 Seminars for staff and students

Stitching a Female Corporeal Archive: Representations of Gender, Violence and Resistance in "To the Black Women We All Knew."

By Prof Jessica Murray (UNISA Humanities) 

By means of a literary analysis of representations of gender, violence and resistance in "To the Black Women We All Knew" by Kholofelo Maenetsha, this article explores how the bodies of female characters come to constitute a female corporeal archive. Maenetsha represents four women friends whose lives, in various ways, are shaped by social efforts to exert patriarchal control over them and their choices. I take an interdisciplinary approach and use various strands of feminist theory to offer a literary analysis of representations of gender violence and resistance to such violence.

Duration: 60 minutes
Dates and venues:  
2 August 2018 (17:00-18:00): Vergelegen Hall (Vaal Triangle Campus)

Breaking the silence and reclaiming our bodies: African women’s writing as an act of resistance

By Susan Adaora Okpala
Image: "Mother's sorrow" by Findano Shikonda (Namibia). Credit: UNAIDS

The culture of silence, secrecy and shame surrounding gender issues such as gender based violence remains a significant factor in the perpetuation of this social epidemic. In her essay entitled “The transformation of silence into language and action”, the revolutionary Black feminist and poet, Audre Lorde writes “I was going to die, if not sooner then later, whether or not I had spoken myself. My silence had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you” (Lorde, 41). Lorde’s exhortation to speak up the truth and propel transformation, seems prophetic and more pertinent than ever. This is because, despite the seeming advancements in gender relations, the significant spread of feminist consciousness, and the interrogation of existing social constructs of gender and patriarchy in Africa, gendered issues such as the hetero-patriarchal control of women’s bodies, and violence against women persist. In South Africa, the outrageous percentages of femicide, battery, sexual harassment, rape and other forms of gendered violence reported by the media in recent times makes gender awareness and sensitisation indispensable.

Duration: 60 minutes
Date and venue:
3 Augusts 2018 (18:00-19:00): NWU Potchefstroom, Building F20 (Communication Studies), Room G50 (Multimedia Theatre)



Queer theory and inclusive classrooms: Possibilities and approaches for students and staff

By Wemar Strydom (NWU Humanities)

Queer theory is, at base, about reconceptualising the perceived static nature of identity categories, instead seeing our sense of self as in-becoming. However, queer theory and its application can also be extended beyond identitarian concerns and into practical fields of, for example, experience. In this workshop, we will look at how queer theory not only facilitates the creation of safe(r), more inclusive classrooms, but also helps us to reimagine the university as a more inclusive ecosystem-of-many-parts.

The workshop will be divided into four parts: a) Brief introduction to queer theory, b) NWU case study, c) The relation between classes as safe(r) spaces and the university as more inclusive space, d) Identifying potential collaborative projects.

Duration: 90 minutes
Date and venue:
2 August 2018 (18:00-19:30): Ferdinand Postma Library Research Commons (Conference Room, 3rd Floor, Potchefstroom Campus)


A social constructionist attempt at resilience for LGBTIQ+ academics and students in South African universities

By Dr Jacques Rothman (NWU Humanities)

The seminar provides a theoretical contemplation on how reciprocation of an assimilationist, liberationist and/or transgressive approach by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer and/or questioning (LGBTIQ+) individuals on university campuses may encourage transformation initiatives in South African universities. The presenter ascribes to the contributions of previous research studies on a social constructionist approach to resilience to debate how individuals potentially navigate the disparity between sexual structure and agency within their ideological and physical construction and enactment of their academic and student persona. A theoretical basis is provided for the influence of social resilience to emphasise the localised, intersectional and plural experiences of LGBTIQ+ individuals as opposed to a monolithic and universal ‘either/or’ account of their being solely docile victims or free agents in a heteronormative context. 

Duration: 90 minutes
Date and venue:
6 August 2018 (16:30-18:00): Senate Hall (Building F1, Potchefstroom Campus)


I AM...

By NWU Gallery​
Image: Artwork by Christo Coetzee

The exhibition was curated from the NWU Art collection, together with works of participating students and artists. The exhibition will explore a wide range of gender perspectives and issues (inclusive of all groups) and will coincide with the NWU GAW. Artists included in the exhibition:  Judith Mason, Maureen Quin, Christo Coetzee, Nomusa Makhubu, Lindeka Gloria Qampi, Louisemarie Combrink and Kevin du Plessis. Participating artists: Yannis John Generalis, Gretchen Crots, Laurence Moorcroft and Lloyd van Schalkwyk.

Dates and venue: 
3 August - 7 September 2018: NWU Botanical Garden Gallery / NWU Gallery (Potchefstroom)


Block Art Workshops

Block Art Project Style Activation and final showstopper piece

By Robin Opperman (Umcebo Design)

Expression is a fundamental part of identity. These workshops (a max of 25-30 per workshop) invite both staff and student participants to work with community artist Robin Opperman to create small pieces of block art during the workshops that give expression to the participant's identity. Paints, brushes and blocks will be provided and Robin, who is an experienced community guest artist from Durban, will guide participants to explore themes, ideas, or images they may want to create for the 15x15cm blocks. The combined blocks created by staff and students will be then be assembled and travel to each campus to be exhibited there for a period of time. Participants will produce artworks on 15x15 shutter board blocks, which will be assembled into a final showstopper piece. The show-stopper piece will be revealed on 6 August 2018.

 Please make sure you come along in clothes you won't mind getting speckled with paint! This is a wonderful opportunity to create together, learn about each other and explore identity through painting to create holistic artwork that speaks to our diversity as people.

Duration: 3 hours
Dates and venues:
3 August 2018 (13:00-16:00): Vaal Triangle Campus Lapa
4 August 2018 (13:00-16:00):  NWU Gallery (Potchefstroom)
5 August 2018 (13:00-16:00): Mafikeng Campus Student Centre Hall
6 August 2018 (16:30-18:00): NWU Gallery (Potchefstroom)

Library exhibitions

Exhibitions on gender 

By NWU Library and Information Services

Libraries will be running displays of gender resources (books) throughout the week.  On-screen displays of information relating to gender issues, will be also running throughout the week.

Dates and venues:
2-8 August 2018: NWU Libraries: Mahikeng, Potchefstroom and Vanderbijlpark

 Workshop for students

Storying Ourselves: podcasts and identity

By Hannelie Otto (NWU Humanities)

Listening to podcast 1: 15-20 minutes
Listening to podcast 2: 10 minutes
Requirements: Mobile phone that can record voice/sounds. Loads of enthusiasm. Participation.
Students and staff are cordially invited to this unique podcast-creation eIn this workshop, we’ll introduce you to gender-nonconforming voices in the form of podcasts. We’ll listen to some voices from the United States, but we’ll also tune in to some local stories told by four honours students in journalism. We’ll tune in to what NWU students know, think or feel about “gender on campus” by letting them tell their stories in a locally produced podcast.
At the end of his workshop, you’ll therefore hopefully be inspired to more openly break down all the issues surrounding gender. But this is a workshop, right. So, learning is doing.
We’ll teach you loads about podcast storytelling by focusing on some pre and postproduction aspects of producing your own podcast in your own voice – no matter what that voice may sound like or whatever that voice would want to say.
So join us if you want to make your voice heard!
Duration: 90 minutes
Dates and venues:
3 August 2018 (13:00-14:30): Building A1, Boardroom (Room 261, Mafikeng Campus) 
7 August 2018 (13:00-14:30): Vaal Triangle Campus Library (Honors Room, Library) 
8 August 2018 (13:00-14:30): Communication Studies Potchefstroom (Building F20, G11 Auditorium)

Poetry crafting and reading workshop

Poetry crafting and reading workshop

By Mpho 'Ya Badimo' Nkomo (Poet/performing artist)

Budding poets and readers of poetry (staff and students alike) are cordially invited to attend these poetry crafting workshops. This opportunity is created in recognition of the deep connections between identity and language. Time, space and circumstance impact who we are as individuals and communities. Poet and performing artist Mpho, who is also an NWU alumnus, will work on workshop participants to help link these concepts, to explore gender and identity through language. 

Duration: +/- 120 minutes
Dates and venues:
2 August 2018 (13:00-14:00): Vaal Triangle Campus Library (Honours Room)
3 August 2018 (13:00-14:00): Potchefstroom Campus Totius Hall (Building F6)
6 August 2018 (13:00-14:00): Building A1, Boardroom (Room 261, Mafikeng Campus)

Music Concert

Celebrating Women and LGBTIQ+ Composers

By NWU  School of Music

The University and greater community are cordially invited to a concert by students and faculty of the NWU School of Music in celebrating the music of women and LGBTIQ+ composers who through adversity have contributed significantly to music. The audience will learn a little about each composer featured as well as listen to selected related musical items. The purpose is to provide both context and perspective in relation to the composer's development and focus.

Duration: 60 minutes
Date and venue:
6 August 2018 (13:00-14:00): School of Music Conservatory Hall (Building K1, Potchefstroom)


Panel Discussion

Panel discussion: 'Family, Love and Gender'

By the NWU Faculty of Theology with guest speakers Dr Maria Frahm-Arp (University of Johannesburg) and Dr Manitza Kotze (NWU)

Members of the University are cordially invited by the NWU Faculty of Theology to a panel discussion on Wednesday 8 August at 11:00 in the Besembos venue in the Main Library (Potchefstroom).

Gender is a topic that affects all of us – male, female and non-binary persons alike. This panel will be looking at how our understanding of gender shapes how we view family and love,as well as how the church in South Africa affects this. It includes questions such as what constitutes a family, what family life should be like, gender stereotyping and life/work balance, mother- and fatherhood, and violence in the domestic and public spheres. Dr Maria Frahm-Arp (UJ) will focus on violence, with special reference to popular South African churches.

Contact details for more information: