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Gender Studies postgraduate students in the School
 of Social Sciences recently presented their research
 on the Transformation Charter during a satellite
meeting between UKZN and Stellenbosch University.

Five Gender Studies postgraduate students in the School of Social Sciences recently presented their research on the Transformation Charter during a satellite meeting between UKZN and Stellenbosch University.

The main event took place on Durban’s Howard College campus with Pietermaritzburg campus students and staff participating via a satellite hook-up in the three-way discussion.

PhD student Mr Themba Shibase’s presentation focused on: “Black Masculinity in South Africa and its Relationship with the Transformation Charter”.  ‘My main focus was on the question of politicising space – the space of black masculinity at UKZN – and its implications for the Transformation Charter.

Another student, Mr Emmanuel Sairose, looked at: Transforming the Transformation Charter, with her presentation taking as its point of departure a method of research, such as ethnography, to grapple with questions including internalised racism, whiteness in its past and present expression/s, the history of colonisation in South Africa and its impact on students and the faculty at UKZN (for the purpose of the discussion), and how these interrelationships were engaged with through the UKZN Transformation Charter.

An interesting topic presented by Ms Zaria Govender explored the development of the UKZN Facebook page as a tool to fulfil the aspirations and objectives of the Transformation Charter, ‘I critically reflected on the efficiency and appropriateness of social networking as a platform for improving the quality of human relationships as outlined in the vision of the UKZN Transformation Charter,’ said Govender.

Ms Vuyi Kona’s presentation: UKZN Transformation Charter – Filing in the Blanks, examined the use of love medicines as a means of addressing the extent to which people will go to handle matters of sexuality.  ‘Whilst gender is addressed within the Transformation Charter, very little is said about sexuality, and sexual practice, and clearly we need to inject the Transformation Charter with the lived reality of how sexuality is experienced on a day-to-day basis.’

Ms Elizabeth Hatlehol spoke on: “Becoming White at UKZN – Whiteness and the UKZN Transformation Charter”, which looked at the materiality of race.  ‘This presentation examines the ways in which I became White at UKZN by locating some of these processes – attending a symposium on Whiteness and colonial amnesia in Gender Studies and being challenged on my White identity when I joined Gender Studies.  This was all new to me as a Norwegian overseas student,’ said Hatlehol.

The meeting was facilitated by Gender Studies and Acting Director for the Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity, Professor Riozena Maart, and attended by the College Dean of Research, Professor Sarojini Nadar, and the acting Chair of the University’s Institutional Forum on the Transformation Charter, Dr Saras Reddy, among others.

Stellensbosch students, under the guidance and supervision of Professor Rob Pattman, participated and offered their comments on UKZN’s student presentations.  Maart and Pattman have been working with students on the Transformation Charter of their respective universities for more than a year now and a collection is set for publication later this year.