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14 June 2019 | Story Valentino Ndaba | Photo Albert van Biljon
Alison Botha
Over and above being a survivor, Alison Botha is an inspiration.

It was an ordinary December 1994 evening in Port Elizabeth. Alison Botha parked her car in front of her home. A man ambushed her at knife point. Minutes later, she was forced into the passenger seat and the perpetrator drove off, picking his friend up on their way to the coastal bushes of the city.
 
What was supposed to be an ordinary evening turned into a horrific experience which changed Botha’s life forever. She was raped, strangled, had her throat slit and her stomach cut open. Physicians called her survival a medical miracle. The true miracle though, is how she has chosen to deal with the experience. 

Botha overcame her fear of public speaking and has become an international motivational speaker who also authored a first-person account of her ordeal and recovery in 1998, titled I Have Life.

Aluta continua against gender-based violence

As part of our university’s advocacy against gender-based violence, the Human Resources’ Division for Organisational Development and Employee Wellness hosted Botha for a motivational talk on 5 June 2019 at the Bloemfontein Campus. In telling her story, Botha stated that she still receives healing.

While welcoming guests and the speaker, Prof Prakash Naidoo, Vice-Rector: Operations touched on Project Caring which is supported by the Rectorate. “We care for you and part of that caring agenda is gender-based violence. We encourage you to speak out about this issue, don’t remain silent, someone will listen,” he advised.

From victim to victor

Botha believes that if her story serves to help someone else avoid the same situation or perhaps even survive a similar trauma, then she has served her purpose. “I now believe that the evil is far outweighed by all the good that has come out of my choice to share my story,” she said.

Much of the reason behind her strength lies in what she terms her own ABC principle which speaks to attitude, belief and choice. “We are not always going to be in control of everything that happens to us. But we always control how we respond,” said Botha. 

The story of Botha’s survival, recovery and victory proves that the human spirit cannot be crushed. There is indeed life after a near-death tragedy.

News Archive

Paying homage to a music maestro
2013-10-08

 

08 October 2013
Photo: Supplied

American singer, songwriter, composer and actor, Thomas Alan Waits (1949–), has been a major inspiration to artists, musicians, poets, writers and thinkers for almost 40 years. He is considered as one of the godfathers of grunge and poetic rock and is a master of contemporary narrative –able to weave emotion and intrigue into his stories of urban grit and rural abandonment. His sometimes jaundiced view of the underbelly of society serves as a rich source of visual imagery.

The Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery is celebrating this vanguard with the exhibition Tom Waits for No Man.

Gordon Froud, artist and senior lecturer at the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), curated and toured with the Leonard Cohen exhibition entitled Altered Piecesin 2011 and 2012. Due to the success of that exhibition, Froud decided to extend his curative activities in the direction of Tom Waits.

This exhibition is based on a roughly LP-sized circular format (30cm in diameter). Most works hang on the wall, but some artists that preferredto work in 3D, made use of the disc as a base or platform on which to build. There was no restriction on materials or approach. There was no process in selection of songs and each artist was free to use whichever lyric or section of lyrics that they choose (even if someone else had selected this too – artists seldom come up with the same solutions).

The exhibition was launched at the ABSA KKNK in April 2013 and has travelled to the UJ Art Gallery and Grande Provence Wine Estate for the Literary Festival.

The exhibition is on display at the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery until 25 October 2013.

Gallery hours: 08:30 – 16:30, Monday – Friday

Enquiries: +27(0)51 401 2706 | dejesusav@ufs.ac.za

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