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24 May 2019 | Story Eloise Calitz | Photo Charl Devenish
Gangster book Discussion
From left: Jacques van Wyk from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Cathy Dlodlo, news editor from OFM; Pieter Roux from the UFS Business School; Alta Vermeulen from the UFS Department of Political Studies and Governance and Pieter-Louis Myburgh, author

A packed Odeion Auditorium at the University of the Free State was welcomed by Professor Helena van Zyl, Head of the UFS Business School. The reason being, a panel discussion with award-winning investigative reporter and author, Pieter-Louis Myburgh, on his much-publicised book Gangster State: Unravelling Ace Magashule's Web of Capture. The programme took the form of a panel discussion. The panellists included Pieter-Louis Myburgh, author; Jacques van Wyk from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE); Cathy Dlodlo, news editor from OFM; Alta Vermeulen from the UFS Department of Political Studies and Governance; and Pieter Roux from the UFS Business School.

In his introduction, Myburgh said he was happy that he was able to come to Bloemfontein and have the discussion, since South Africans should cherish freedom of speech and a free press.

The research for the book took 13 months to conclude, and during this time he spent a lot of time in the Free State and Bloemfontein. He mentioned that the book gave him the opportunity to present a condensed account of what he discovered; he could therefore share more, as opposed to just reporting on a story in the newspaper. For him, investigative reporting should always be fact based and open to scrutiny.

Some of the topics raised by the panel was concern about the perception that investigative journalists are focusing more on corruption in the public sector and less on the private sector. This was, however, discarded as a myth, as Myburgh pointed out that he exposed both private and public sector dealings in order to provide the full scope of involved parties.

Focusing on whistle blowers, the panel challenged the verification of whistle-blower information. Myburgh responded that journalists never use only one whistle-blower’s evidence, since that is merely the start of the investigation. Further investigation was necessary, and facts had to be verified. With that said, there is still a lot to be done with regard to the protection of whistle-blowers, he concluded.

The floor was opened to the audience, which provided the opportunity to ask questions and raise concerns about what was mentioned during the panel discussion. The audience eagerly participated in the discussion. In conclusion, Myburgh reiterated that society plays a vital role in keeping those in power to the promises they make.

After the discussion, the audience had the opportunity to have their books signed by the author.

News Archive

“You cannot find Ubuntu in a culture of dominance” – Dr Mamphela Ramphele during second Leah Tutu Gender Symposium
2015-02-28

 

From the left are: Samantha van Schalkwyk, Zanele Mbeki, Prof Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela and Dr Mamphela Ramphele.
Photo: Johan Roux

 

Video message from Mrs Leah Tutu

Session 1: Keynote address by Dr Mamphela Ramphele
Ndiyindoda! Yes, you are a man 

Session 2: Professor Robert Morrell from the University of Cape Town
South African Gender Studies: Setting the context

Session 3: How can we engage young men to act against violence against women?
Panel discussion by Lisa Vetten (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research), Despina Learmonth (Psychology Department, University of Cape Town) and Wessel van den Berg (Sonke Gender Justice) 

Session 4: Professor Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
Self-defence as a strategy for women’s resistance: Reflections on the work of Susan Brison
 

Engaging men to act against gender-based violence in the Southern African context.

This was the theme of the second International Leah Tutu Symposium, hosted by the Gender Initiative of Trauma, Forgiveness and Reconciliation Studies of the University of the Free State (UFS) on Tuesday 24 February 2015.

What does it mean to be man? How can men become active in the fight against gender-based violence? And when does one say: enough is enough? Questions like these set the tone as highly-respected individuals such as Dr Mamphela Ramphele, Prof Rob Morrell, Lisa Vetten and Andy Kawa took to the stage in the Odeion on the Bloemfontein Campus.

Leah Tutu
Unfortunately, Mrs Leah Tutu could not attend this year’s event, but she still managed to send sparks of wit and insight into the auditorium. In her video message, Mrs Tutu referred to the fact that our country has “consigned discriminatory legislation to the rubbish bin of the past”, but we continue to inhabit a divided society.

“We have a constitution and bill of rights that should have sounded the death knell for patriarchy. But women are unsafe across the land,” Mrs Tutu said. “Our freedom cost too much to be left out in the rain,” she urged.

Ndiyindoda! Yes, you are a man
In Dr Ramphele’s keynote address, “Ndiyindoda! Yes, you are a man”, she scrutinised the dominant masculinity model that has supported an alpha-male mentality for millennia. A mentality that celebrates dominance, power and control – where the winner takes it all. How then, can we expect our young boys to embrace the value system of a human rights culture?

“Gender equality is at the heart of our constitutional democratic values. Yet, our society continues to privilege and celebrate the alpha male as a masculinity model,” Dr Ramphele said. This dissonance can only produce conflict and violence.

We encourage our young men to be gentle, communicative, caring people who show their emotions. And when they do, what do we as women do? Do we encourage them?

“Or do we join those who call them wimps, moffies, sissies? How do we respond when they are ridiculed?” Dr Ramphele asked. Are we, as mothers, fathers and grandparents willing to socialise our children to acknowledge a diversity of masculinities as equally valid in our society?

The new man and the new woman of the 21st century need to be liberated from the conflict-ridden dominant masculinity model. They need to be able to shape their identity in line with a value system of human rights as enshrined in our constitution.

Perhaps Dr Ramphele’s message could be summed up by one sentence: You cannot find Ubuntu in a culture of dominance.

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