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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

UFS academic discusses Dutch, Afrikaans and African languages
2006-05-22

During the colloquium presented in Belgium by the Province Antwerp were from the left Prof Pol Cuvelier (University of Antwerp), Prof Theo du Plessis (Director: Unit for Language Management at the UFS), Mr Ludo Helsen (Permanent Deputy: Province of Antwerp) and Mr Jean-Pierre Rondas (Flemish radio journalist).

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UFS academic discusses Dutch, Afrikaans and African languages at international conference

Prof Theo du Plessis, Director of the Unit for Language Management at the University of the Free State (UFS), was the main speaker at a colloquium titled “Routes:  Where to now? - Een traject van het Nederlands naar het Afrikaans en de Afrikatalen”, which was recently presented by the Province Antwerp in Belgium.

 The aim of the colloquium was to discuss the future cooperation in the field of language between the Province Antwerp and South Africa. 

 The Province Antwerp is already involved with projects in South Africa.  One of these projects is the Multilingual Information Development Programme (MIDP), a partnership project between the UFS and the Free State Province that is mainly funded by the Province Antwerp. 

 The project has been running since 1999 and was recently in the news with the presentation of a symposium on multilingualism and exclusion on the Main Campus of the UFS.  It is hoped that the Routes colloquium will indicate new stages on which can be added to the already successful cooperation in the area of language.

 Prof Du Plessis’s presentation titled “Nederlands, Afrikaans en die Afrikatale – kan samewerking slaag? Die geval MIDP in die Vrystaat”, investigated the successes that have been made with the MIDP.  He discussed two possible approaches to cooperation in the areas of language, that of a sentimentalistic  approach against an instrumentalistic approach. 

Cooperation in the first approach makes language the aim.  In the second approach language is used as a means to a greater aim.  According to Prof du Plessis the first approach is driven by a romantisised idea about the relation between the Flemish and Afrikaans speaking people, which may unfortunately polarise the position of Afrikaans in South Africa even further.

 He argues that, given the time that we are in, the second approach will deliver more constructive results as language can among others be used for to further  democracy in South Africa.   This can happen by cooperation in the institutionalising of multilingualism in our society.  The more languages are used in education, law and government administration, the more we can be assured a successful democracy.

 The Routes colloquium was facilitated by the well-known Flemish radio journalist, Jean-Pierre Rondas. About twenty South African and Flemish language specialists took part in the colloquium.  Dr Fritz Kok, outgoing chief executive officer of the ATKV took part in the opening ceremony and Dr Neville Alexander from the University of Cape Town and well-known activist for multilingualism in South Africa was also one of the main speakers.

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