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Academics receive award from SA Academy for Science and Art
2009-07-02

 
The South African Academy for Science and Art recently celebrated its centenary year on the Main Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein. Academics involved with the UFS received awards during the academy’s recent awards ceremony. A Centenary Medal was awarded to Prof. François Retief, former Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, for his achievement in the medical sciences over an extended period. The NT Steyn Medal was awarded to Prof. Andries Stulting from the Department of Ophthalmology at the UFS for achievements in the Technical and Natural Sciences and Prof. Albie van Schalkwyk, formerly from the UFS’s Department of Music, received the Huberte Rupert Prize for Classical Music.

According to Prof. Hennie van Coller, Head of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, German and French at the UFS and also Chairperson of the Academy, the centenary celebrations were a highlight in the existence of the academy. “For the first time in years there was a mood of optimism that could not be restrained by any differences between the attendees. Political hatchets were buried and members from different racial groups took hands for the road ahead. The continuous themes were that of excellence, which may not be sacrificed,” he said.

In his address as Chairman, Prof. van Coller emphasised that the specific niche of the Academy (the development of the higher function of Afrikaans) should not limit the organisation to also be involved in Afrikaans at grassroots level (especially rural brown people and suburban white people) who often had to deal with poverty and illiteracy and who battled for survival. The Academy had to act as facilitator and offer its expertise to people like those.

At the awards ceremony of the South African Academy for Science and Art were, from the left: Mr Jaco Jacobs, who received the Elsabe Steenberg Prize for translated Children’s and Youth Literature in Afrikaans, Prof. Hennie van Coller and Prof. François Retief.
Photo: Stephen Collett

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