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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

Well-known alumni honoured
2013-10-24

 

From the left are: actor Hannes van Wyk, Judge Faan Hancke and his wife Benita at the Kovsie Alumni Awards.
Photo: Elmada Kemp
24 October 2013

The actor and film maker, Hannes van Wyk, known for his role as Krynauw du Boisson in the M-Net soapie Egoli, was named Kovsie Alumnus of the Year during the Kovsie Alumni Awards. He and six other former Kovsie students and staff were honoured at this gala event for their outstanding achievements and contributions to the UFS during 2012.

Van Wyk, who completed his BAEd in 1990 at the University of the Free State, was honoured for his contribution to, and development of the South African Film and Television industry. This includes his work as producer, writer, researcher and director of companies such as PACOFS, M-Net and the SABC.

The actor wasn’t the only person in the public eye to be celebrated at the event.

The well-known columnist, Hanlie Retief, who interviews the top newsmakers of the country every week for Rapport, was recognised with a Cum Laude Award. She was honoured in this category together with Paul Colditz, Chief Executive Officer of FEDSAS, the national representative organisation of governing bodies, and Judge Violet Phatshoane, founder of Phatshoane & Henney Attorneys and judge in the High Court of South Africa.

Hanlie told the audience that her degree from Kovsies opened doors for her. She spoke about the interview she had in those days with the athlete Zola Budd, her first story to be published in the university publication, Bult.

Prof Johan Willemse, who is internationally known as an agricultural economist, and Dr Philemon Akach, known for his contribution to the development of Sign Language on the continent, were bestowed with the Alumni Award for outstanding service to the UFS.

The Kovsie Ambassador Award was presented to Judge Faan Hancke, Extraordinary Professor in the Faculty of Law at the UFS. As a former Kovsie, he served more than 12 years as Council member during his career and is still involved with the Alumni Trust.

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