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Back to the drawing board to save water
We’ve managed to damage nature’s ‘filter’ with air, ocean, and soil pollution, and by destroying wetlands.

Dr Cindé Greyling, a University of the Free State (UFS) DiMTEC (Disaster Management Training and Education Centre for Africa) alumni, studied drought mitigation with a strong focus on communicating important water-saving information. 

Can we run out of water?
Yes, and no, says Dr Greyling. “To our knowledge, water is not ‘leaking’ through our atmosphere. We have what we have, but that doesn’t mean we will have enough clean, fresh water forever. Nature has a magnificent way of purifying water through the water cycle. We, on the other hand, must use a lot of money and energy to purify water. Also, we’ve managed to damage nature’s ‘filter’ with air, ocean, and soil pollution, and by destroying wetlands. The other problem is a simple supply and demand scenario. More people will need more water, but not only that, population growth calls for industry development and increased food supplies – all of which require more water.”    

A war over water
Besides some Hollywood impressions, it is difficult to imagine a war over water, but it is possible. “Some experts are convinced that we are heading there, and others claim that such tensions already exist. Personally, I don’t favour these kinds of shock tactics (or truths) – social research has shown us that it rarely leads to behavioural changes. We can learn a lot from what was has been done in Cape Town. Although we all think people were bombarded with ‘Day-Zero’-scares, they were actually encouraged to adapt their behaviour with a communication campaign that hardly ever used the term ‘Day-Zero’. This approach mobilised citizens to reach record lows of water usage.” 

Adapt a new normal
Dr Greyling encourages the “new normal” set in motion by Capetonians. “Water consciousness is needed, even when the rain comes again. We’ve taken water for granted for too long. As consumers, we have the power to turn this situation around – drop for drop. Be aware about the amount of water you use, how you use it, and for what. Keep in mind that any wastage and pollution (of ‘dry’ things) also wastes and pollutes water. Generally, we need to behave better regarding consumption.”  

News Archive

Lecture on interpretations and translations of San place names
2011-09-23

Prof. Peter Raper, recently appointed as Honorary Professor: Linguistics, in the Department of Language Management and Language Practice at the University of the Free State, will deliver his inaugural lecture on Tuesday evening, 27 September 2011. His topic for the evening is “Interpretations and translations of Bushman (San) place names”. With this inaugural lecture, he also introduces an interesting one-day international colloquium on the theme: “Name-change planning – striving towards authenticity”.A panel discussion about street-name changes in Bloemfontein forms part of this colloquium and promises to elicit a stimulating debate.

Prof. Raper is probably better known for three popular place-name dictionaries, Streekname in Suid-Afrika en Suidwes, published in 1972; the Dictionary of Southern African Place Names, published in 1987, updated in 1989 and published in 2004 with some additions as New dictionary of South African place names; and Hottentot (Khoekhoen) place names, a dictionary compiled in collaboration with the famous Prof. G S  Nienaber (a former Kovsie). In fact, Prof. Raper’s work is a continuation of their world-renowned series, Toponymica Hottentotica, which was published between 1977 and 1981. It is generally regarded as the most authoritative work on Hottentot place names. His current interest in Bushman place names builds on this pioneering work and is actually also a re-evaluation of the underestimated role of the Bushman with regard to place naming in South Africa up to now. His work offers a new perspective on what could be regarded as the “first” or earliest names of places in South Africa and brings a sobering perspective to the current debates regarding place-name changes where various claims are made about “who has given the name first”.

However, Prof. Raper is also known for his role in the standardisation of place names, both nationally and internationally. In South Africa, he has served on the South African National Place Names Committee (1972-1999), the South African Geographical Names Council (1999-2002) and, since 1981, on the Names Society of Southern Africa. Currently, he is an honorary member of this association. Since 1984, he has also been serving on the United Nations Group Experts on Geographical Names and has even been the Chairperson of this Leading international standardisation body (1991-2002).

Apart from this, Prof. Raper regularly publishes his research on geographical names in a variety of academic journals and still participates in the most important national and international conferences on names on a regular basis. Prof. Raper is honoured as South Africa’s foremost names expert.

His inaugural lecture will introduce a colloquium on names planning, presented by his host department. Experts from Lesotho, Zimbabwe and the USA are participating in the proceedings, amongst others, the current Chairperson of the Names Society of Southern Africa, Prof. Adrian Koopman (University of KwaZulu-Natal).

RSVP: Joy Maasdorp on +27(0)51 401 2405 or maasdorpjh@ufs.ac.za before or on Thursday, 22 September 2011.

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