Heritage Month 2020
September marks the annual Heritage Month in South Africa, with National Heritage Day celebrated on 24 September. Heritage Month presents an opportunity for us to reflect on and recognise our cultural wealth and appreciate our diversity. Our national heritage is crucial, as it helps us to examine our history and traditions, and enables us to develop an awareness about ourselves.
Like many of our national days, Heritage Day is particularly important in terms of nation building and shaping our national identity.
The North-West University (NWU) is the home of many cultural groups and nationalities, and therefore rich in diverse heritages. Every heritage broadens our horizons and enhances our appreciation of humanity. Our campuses serve as centres of excellence in terms of cultural expression and celebration. We remain committed towards maintaining and creating an even more welcoming environment for all nations and persons. I call upon the broader NWU family to join the rest of the country in various celebrations and initiatives aimed at marking Heritage Month. During this Heritage Month, let us deepen our cultural expression in various ways, including artistic performances, language and culinary practices.
In terms of our strategy, we have committed ourselves to working relentlessly to ensure that the NWU is characterised by inclusiveness, social cohesion and diversity. We have established the necessary platforms to achieve these ideals. As part of the strengthening our commitment, especially during Heritage Month, we will be hosting the Gender and Language Awareness Week (28 September to 2 October) and other initiatives online.
During the Gender and Language Awareness week, we plan to facilitate critical conversations about gender-based violence and its impact on the university and the country, and on the use of South African languages in domains such as education and the media.
We continue to seek ways and means to create platforms aimed at enhancing robust and healthy discourse about critical national issues, including diversity among our stakeholder groups.
I urge all members of the broader NWU family to use Heritage Month to foster greater social cohesion, nation building and a shared national identity.
Prof Dan Kgwadi
Vice-chancellor and Principal
Women's Day 2020
As we commemorate Women’s Day, we salute women who have played and continue to play an important role in our families, our university, our communities and our country. We do so by taking stock of their achievements and the strides they have made in overcoming systemic barriers while continuing to flourish and inspire.
At the NWU, there are countless individual women – students, staff, alumni, council members, supporters and friends – who have made a tremendous and trailblazing impact across many disciplines. Their diversity is as vast and valuable as the sectors in which they serve, and we continue to look at them for inspiration and guidance. We also acknowledge and celebrate NWU women, including those in top management.
Given the current spate of gender-based violence perpetrated against women and girls in South Africa, today is also an opportunity for all of us to step to the fore and be counted as advocates and stewards of equality.
Today, we raise our voices on behalf of all women. #NWUcares
Mandela Day 2020
Dear Members of the NWU community
Every year on 18 July people around the world get together to commemorate the legacy of Nelson Mandela. On this day, we are encouraged to spend at least 67 minutes doing something positive for our communities in recognition of the 67 years that the late statesman spent fighting for justice, peace and a free, democratic country.
We at the North-West University believe in living every day as a Mandela Day through our unrelenting commitment towards social justice. This commitment allows us to address social concerns, give back, spark optimism and uplift humanity – be it by means of our innovative teaching and learning practices, our cutting-edge research or our impactful community engagement endeavours.
I believe that the year 2020 provides us with an opportunity unlike any other to truly embrace the Mandela Day idea that every individual has the power and ability to make a difference. This is also our calling as a unitary university. We passionately subscribe to the philosophy of active citizenship and openly pledge to continue to take action, inspire change and cultivate hope.
As we continue to battle the Covid-19 pandemic, the university has introduced various initiatives to not only assist the country in dealing with the spread of the virus, but also to empower our students and our communities during this difficult time. One such an initiative is our Covid-19 Response Fund. Through this initiative we aim to enable our students to continue with their academic activities in order to successfully complete the academic year. As we take hands with our stakeholders – staff, alumni, corporate partners, donors and all friends of the NWU – we aim to ensure that no student is left behind during a time in which higher education, both domestically and internationally, has been disrupted. We strive to demonstrate our ethic of care by introducing a range of interventions aimed at addressing specific challenges faced by our stakeholders. I am proud of our staff and students who are playing their part in helping communities to overcome the hardships brought about by the pandemic.
Other initiatives such as Covid-19-related research, projects to help ensure the safety of the university community, partnerships with industry and our continuous engagement with our various stakeholder groupings bear witness to the extraordinary dedication and resolve of our staff and students.
In view of this, I would like to thank all the leadership, staff, students, alumni and other members of the NWU community for truly embracing the Mandela Day ideals of servant leadership, compassion, respect, tolerance and resilience during these times. Let us continue to make education the most powerful tool in transforming our campuses, our country and our world.
Prof Dan Kgwadi
Vice-chancellor and Principal
Youth Day 2020
16 June 2020
Young people are often heralded as the leaders of tomorrow, yet in reality they are already leading important change today. As we observe Youth Day, it is important for all South Africans to take note of the important leadership role the youth play in navigating transformation and in preserving our democratic dispensation.
Forty-four years ago the youth of South Africa stepped to the fore to have their voices heard, and in doing so they changed the course of a nation. As such, 16 June will forever be a memorable day on the national calendar. As we think back on the events that unfolded on 16 June 1976, we take courage from the energy and idealism of our youth. It is after all through their insistent drive and uncompromising spirit that generations of young people continue to succeed in bringing about change in our country. The North-West University (NWU) is a proud partner of youth enablement, as we offer young people a platform from where they can grow and flourish. As an internationally recognised university in Africa, we prepare the youth for active citizenry through engaged scholarship, social responsiveness and an ethic of care.
While the world is grappling with the unprecedented challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is reassuring to note that young people are demonstrating their continued impact in their communities. In fact, they not only play an integral role in the search for sustainable solutions to the socio-economic challenges currently posed by the pandemic, but also in resourcefully piloting the challenges and opportunities of the post-Covid-19 world.
During this time, the NWU recommits itself to continue working alongside the youth and youth-based organisations to ensure the growth and sustainability of our country and the continent.
As we commemorate Youth Day, let us continue to champion the shared responsibility of impactful change and add our voices to the campaign for a better tomorrow. Let’s continue to triumph over adversity and choose to see challenges as opportunities. This will ensure a fresh perspective and generous opportunities for innovation and leadership.
Prof Dan Kgwadi
Vice-Chancellor and Principal