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21 May 2019 | Story Igno van Niekerk | Photo Stephen Collett
Digital storytelling
Collaborating for the common good are from left: Willem Ellis, Karen Venter, Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Bishop Billyboy Ramahlele, and Dr Johan van Zyl.

Prof Hendri Kroukamp, Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences quoted the Cat Stevens song I can’t keep it in, to capture the excitement surrounding the opening of a Digital Storytelling Lab on the Bloemfontein Campus on 10 May 2019.

After months of hard work by Dr Deidre van Rooyen, Willem Ellis, Karen Venter, as well as the staff of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Centre for Development Support, the Common Good First lab was completed just in time for the launch attended by about 50 delegates from other South African universities, as well as private and public institutions.

Stories meet technology

In a message, from Prof Puleng LenkaBula, Vice-Rector: Institutional Change, Student Affairs, and Community Engagement, informed the audience that the launch heralded the joining of the old world of stories with the new world of digital technology. Julie Adair, Director of Digital Collaboration at Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, welcomed the UFS as a partner to this international social innovation collaborative project in a video message. 

Dr Van Rooyen, the project manager for the UFS, explained how she got involved in the Common Good First project, what the benefits of digital storytelling are, as well as what opportunities the lab creates for cooperation between role players involved in social innovation projects. 

Why the Common Good First lab?

The purpose of the lab is to create a digital network to identify, showcase and connect social innovation projects in South Africa to one another and to universities around the world for research, student engagement and learning and teaching. The lab has been fitted with state-of-the-art equipment for recording and digitising the stories that result from social innovation projects.

In a live Skype session with Dr Il-Haam Petersen, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), and some of the recent successes of the digital stories in Philippi in the Western Cape were shared.

Bishop Billyboy Ramahlele, UFS Director Community Engagement did the final honours by cutting the ribbon, declaring the lab open, and sharing the dream that the work done in this lab will contribute to positive relationships and cooperation between the university and the community, in making not only the university, but the country and the world a better place.


News Archive

Beyers Naudé challenge still stands – Dr Allan Boesak
2011-09-14

 

Dineo Babili, a first-year Foundation-phase Education student, reading out her winning essay during the final Beyers Naudé Memorial Lecture held last Friday. Dineo and Siphesihle Mavundla (poetry) both won R3 000,00 each from Kagiso Trust.
Photo: Thabo Kessah

The eighth Annual Beyers Naudé Memorial Lecture Series reached its climax with the third and last lecture being presented by Dr Allan Boesak at our Qwaqwa Campus on Friday, 9 September 2011. The first two lectures were presented by our Vice-Chancellor and Rector, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, and Prof. Kwandiwe Kondlo who heads our Centre for Africa Studies, respectively.

In his address, Dr Boesak posed hard-hitting questions, such as ‘'What kind of society do we want to be? At what price are we willing to sell the noble history of the struggle, the ideals and hopes of our people, the meaning of the freedom we sacrificed for?'’ He spoke fondly of his former friend and colleague who had appealed to the government of the day in 1973 to understand that the future security of our country did not lie with a consensus of white opinion, but rather ‘'a consensus of white and black opinion'’.

Dr Boesak said that Oom Bey had asked white people ‘to speak and act before it was too late’ and that he appealed to black people to prepare for the day on which they would be truly free.

‘'That was his hope. When he died, democracy had come, but this hope had not been realised and today we are in serious danger of losing it altogether. We have the matchless Freedom Charter; we have a most progressive Constitution; we have an impressive body of laws and we have enviable policy positions. However, the challenge from Beyers Naudé still stands and it comes to a new generation: it is time to transform words into deeds. The time for pious talk is over,'’ said Dr Boesak.

The lecture was well received by students and staff, as well as leaders and representatives from various sectors in the community. Learners and educators from a number of schools in the region also attended. Next year’s series will be hosted on the South Campus in Bloemfontein.
 

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