The Byderhand Pioneer Stories are available in the coffee shop, Blindiana Barista for the community to read.

The well-known poet Dr William Rowland and Joseph Matheatau, the blind coffee maker at Blindiana Barista, meet each other. One of William’s poems, “Die huis waar ek woon”, has been located in the multisensory garden, while Joseph’s story “The sound of coffee” is now one of the Pioneer stories on the grounds of the Pioneer School.


Karoo Garden Verses will soon be part of this route


The design solutions and technology used for the Byderhand/Pioneer School project are also being incorporated into another Byderhand project. This will be undertaken in collaboration with the Karoo Desert National Botanical Garden near Worcester.


A new braille route is planned for the garden and Karoo Garden Verses will also become part of this route, which will be completed soon. Poets from the area composed the poems. They include works by Diana Ferrus, Dr William Rowland, Daniel Hugo and David Kramer.


Byderhand is being undertaken within the research unit Languages and Literature in the South African Context.


Creative Writing joins hands with visually impaired community

The NWU’s subject group Creative Writing has taken on a “Byderhand” project, together with the Pioneer School for learners with visual impairments in Worcester.

Byderhand, an interdisciplinary creative and research project, presents interactive reading experiences that enable participants to experience location and literature in a whole new way.


The subject group has already undertaken various other Byderhand projects and the latest project was introduced on 30 August this year.


“With the project at the Pioneer School, we specifically did some research to make sure that the project is accessible to visually impaired learners,” explains Prof Franci Greyling from Creative Writing in the School of Languages.


Garden Verses and Pioneer Stories enchant


The project at the school comprises poetry (known as Garden Verses) in a newly developed multisensory garden, and other elements such as Pioneer Stories (which are narratives and short stories) on the school premises.


“Learners, former learners and staff from the Pioneer School, as well as visually impaired people from the Worcester community, wrote the Pioneer Stories,” says Franci. She adds that the public can experience these stories in the coffee shop, Blindiana Barista, at Innovation for the Blind in Worcester.


To make the project accessible to visually impaired and seeing persons, the team used a combination of media. The physical and digital user interfaces include instruction in braille, the use of QR (quick response) codes and a digital interface using speech technology software.


Sound makes it accessible


The stories and poems were recorded and any user with a smartphone or tablet can experience them. It is this auditory component that enables visually impaired people to access the Byderhand project.


Some of the poems have also been translated, set to music or adapted as typographical animations. The interface design is the work of Gustaf Tempelhoff and forms part of his master’s studies in graphic design. Pioneer Printers did the braille printing.


Click here for more information about the Byderhand/Pioneer School project.



A feast for the senses


The new multisensory garden in Worcester caters for every sense. At the opening, visitors and writers could explore all the elements of the garden.


The Byderhand Garden Verses, including poems such as “Botaniesetuinsonnet” by Hans du Plessis and the children’s verse “Sagtrappad” by Franci Greyling, are strategically placed in the multisensory garden so that the locations match the themes of the poems.


The information on the plants and poems appears in braille and large hand and the stone path was specially laid to match the poem "Klippepad".




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Before the opening of the multisensorygarden, writers of the Pioneer Stories attended a function at Blindiana Barista where they could use the Byderhand interface to listen to their stories.


Photos: Rouxné van der Westhuizen and Franci Greyling.

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On 18 August 2018, Taahirah Zungu and Lwazi Jakuja were crowned Miss and Mr NWU. Taahirah is a first-year sports science student on the campus in Mahikeng and Lwazi is a third-year student in the BCom Economics and Risk Management Extended Programme on the campus in Vanderbijlpark.


Chuwayza Kotze was crowned first princess and Ruandro Minaar first prince. They are both from the campus in Potchefstroom.