Alumni

Unisa hands over San community knowledge centre

Dries Velthuizen, Markus Jetembo, Feresane Sibeko, Kamamwa Makua, Antonio Sibao, Scholtz van Wyk, David Letsoalo, Wentzel Katjarra, and Nepa Katumbera

On 6 April 2019, the Unisa Institute for Dispute Resolution in Africa (IDRA) officially opened and handed over a newly upgraded community knowledge centre, which includes a Military Veteran Entrepreneurship Centre, in the San village of Platfontein on the outskirts of Kimberley.

This event was the culmination of five years of commitment, tireless work, and engagement with the community under the leadership of Professor Dries Velthuizen, current Head of the Institute for African Renaissance Studies (IARS), and former Senior Researcher and Acting Head of IDRA, as part of bringing engaged scholarly work into community dispute resolution involving the !Xun and Kwe people of Platfontein.

The project was made possible by the generous grant from the Sage Foundation’s Charities Aid Fund (CAF), facilitated by the Unisa Foundation and the Unisa Department of Estates. In giving background to the project, Velthuizen maintained that the community were treated as equal partners in the project and he learned more from community than from other academics.

The centre comprises a Military Veterans Centre, the Community Knowledge Centre, and a container donated by the Department of Arts and Culture that will be used for entrepreneurship training. The Knowledge Centre will be used as a multi-purpose centre by the community.

The Military Veterans Centre will be used by the veterans and community leaders to solve community problems and conflicts as they arise. It will also be a space where military veterans and their families will get support to start small businesses. The big container will be used to conduct entrepreneurial training by the community.

Unisa hands over San community knowledge centre

Platfontein Military Veterans Office and the Entrepreneurship Centre

Handing over the centre to the community, David Letsoalo, Head of IDRA, encouraged and challenged it to jealously guard the facilities and use them efficiently. He echoed Velthuizen’s words that the place should be used to develop intervention towards challenges facing the community.

Among the guests was Scholtz van Wyk, who also has history with the San community of Platfontein. He shared with community members the challenges of entrepreneurship and advised the community to adopt a “do” attitude and not to entertain conflict. It was also a great moment when about 20 learners from the community received certificates of attendance in computer literacy from The Hilltop Institute, a San Training Centre. The training was funded by IDRA.

*By David Letsoalo (on behalf of the College of Law and the Unisa Foundation)
Head
Institute for Dispute Resolution in Africa

Publish date: 2019/05/21