College of Human Sciences

College of Human Sciences celebrates its staff and Language Festival winners

The College of Human Sciences, under the leadership of its executive dean, Professor Andrew Phillips, this year thanked it staff through an engaging tour of the world-class museum and memorial, Freedom Park. Using the nation's unique culture, heritage, history and spirituality, Freedom Park tells the previously untold stories of South Africa. It is the heart and soul of South Africa captured in one breath-taking space and given that every discipline from the human sciences can be found at Freedom Park, it provided the perfect backdrop for a celebratory event of the work done by staff this year.

Also forming part of the Freedom Park festivities was the conclusion of the 2017 Unisa Language Festival, which this year, under the guidance of Professor Mabel Majanja, took on a new format. In August this year, a Language Festival Roadshow for high school learners in Gauteng was launched. This deviated from the previous one-day festival in an effort to make an even larger impact by reaching more learners

A fun and educational industrial theatre show was crafted to communicate Unisa’s language offerings as well as excite and educate young South Africans about the different languages they can choose from when pursuing their future careers.

Unisa aims to leave a mark and to encourage young people to celebrate the different cultures and languages and acknowledge that diversity can unite us as a country. Through this roadshow, which took place at 60 schools, 30 1344 learners formed part of the crucial conversation on the careers that one can have by studying languages at university. Educators were also supported through the curriculum aligned teacher workbooks that were provided by Unisa.

An exciting part of the roadshow was the essay writing competition. Learners were invited to write an essay on whether multilingualism in South Africa is a resource or a problem. Many of the entries reflected a personalised account of the topic, while some looked at both the pros and cons of multilingualism in South Africa, demonstrating their knowledge of the political and social landscape. There were some essays written in mother tongue languages as well. It is also important to highlight that many learners also acknowledged their teachers in their essays.

The top three essays were written by Phumzile Nkosi (first prize) from Amogelang Senior Secondary School; Pertunia Msimango (second prize) from Lekamoso Secondary School; and Vusumuzi Ernest Nhassengo (third place) from BB Myataza Senior Secondary. Both the learners and their schools received cash prizes. The school with the most entries, Senthibele Secondary School, also received a cash prize.

All three winners, their teachers and a representative from Senthibele Secondary School were present at Freedom Park to receive their prizes in front of the CHS staff. It was an emotional moment for the learners as they all required the cash prizes for their families and studies. They all thanked the College of Human Sciences for helping make a difference in their lives and that of their schools.

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Pictured are Pertunia Msimango (Lekamoso Secondary School), Phumzile Nkosi (Amogelang Senior Secondary School), and Vusumuzi Ernest Nhassengo (BB Myataza Senior Secondary).

* By Rivonia Naidu-Hoffmeester (CHS communications and marketing)