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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

SA women’s Hockey players give a recount of Hockey World League
2015-07-02

Nicole Walraven and Liné Malan
Photo: Hatsu Mphatsoe

Three of the star players of Kovsies Hockey formed part of the South African Women’s Hockey team, which competed at the Hockey World League (HWL) tournament in Spain.

Hatsu Mphatsoe, student assistant at the Department of Communication and Brand Management, spoke to Nicole Walraven and Liné Malan. Tanya Britz will be returning only at a later stage to South Africa.

As key players in the Kovsies women’s team, Malan and Walraven (along with Britz) have a new wealth of knowledge that could assist the team in their forthcoming USSA tournament. Here are some of the sentiments they had to share:

What was your reaction when you first received the news that you’d be representing the country in Spain?

Liné: “It was a shock to me, I honestly didn’t expect it. At the same time, I was extremely excited to be granted the opportunity to represent my country, and prove my worth to the team.”

Nicole: “I was so excited and felt honoured! To represent my country at such a big tournament is amazing. I was very nervous, but excited.”

How has playing at an international level improved your personal performance and mentality of the game/sport?

Nicole: “Playing at such a high level has helped my hockey immensely. It has helped me read the game better, it has upped my self-confidence, and it has also improved my ability to deal with pressure.”

Liné: “Playing at an international level looks much easier than it is. It is a much faster game, the pressure on the ball is much higher, and the individual skills are on a different level. It has helped me to lift my game, and make decisions much quicker. It has honestly benefitted me as an individual, and I’ve learnt so much from the experience.”

Now that you’ll be going to play at the USSA tournament, what new perspectives do you wish to bring to the team in order to improve its overall performance there?

Nicole: “The importance of teamwork as well as adapting the game plan according to the situation and the opposition. Constant hard work and a never-give-up attitude are vital. One quote that stood out from the tournament is ‘1MT, 1MT’ which stands for ‘1 More Thing, 1 More Time’.

Liné: “Going to USSA, I now have a better understanding of what pressure is, and how to make better decisions. We will still make use of our Kovsies brand of Hockey, which is our passing game, and apply all aspects to the best of our ability.”

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