News & Media

Good things come in twos

The 2017 Hiddingh-Currie Award will be presented at the Research and Innovation gala event on 8 March 2019, to Chaka: Die nuwe Afrikaanse vertaling, by Chris Swanepoel, and Violence in schools: South Africa in an international context, by Clive Harber and Vusi Mncube.

Announced by the university’s Senate Publications Committee at its meeting on 8 November 2018, this prestigious prize is an annual award to recognise Unisa Press books deemed to be of the highest academic merit and original scholarship. These two books were nominated from a list of 12 books that were published by Unisa Press in 2017.

Firmly embedded in poetic traditions

Chaka: Die nuwe Afrikaanse vertaling, by Chris Swanepoel, was nominated for fulfilling the criteria for an academic and artistic work of the highest quality that contributes to the understanding and development of a discipline.

Thomas Mofolo’s iconic Chaka is a complex work of verbal art that captured the imagination of thousands of readers in many parts of the world, notably also in West Africa. The work has been translated into English twice, French, German, Italian and now the latest Afrikaans translation published by Unisa Press.

Unisa’s Hiddingh-Currie award is a prestigious annual research prize for authors of published works within Unisa Press. The aim of the award is primarily to encourage and nourish specialised skills in academic research and scholarly publishing.

Part of its complexity is the mysterious interplay of history and fiction that straddles both the events in the narrative (real and fictional) and characters (also real and fictional), and the riddling role of religion (traditional and Christian) and divination. The complexity continues in the legendary layer that surrounds the hero right through the work. Complexity also marks Mofolo’s heroic style, firmly embedded in the poetic traditions and culture in which he (Mofolo) was profoundly grounded. Oral art served as the bedrock of the many poems and lofty prose passages he included in the book.

This year, the awards will be presented by the acting Director of Unisa Press, Dr Meiya Nthoesane, at the Research and Innovation gala event, which take place on 8 March 2019.

Mofolo himself called his work a tshomo (folktale, popularly speaking) and it may well be that the freedom of the oral narrative enabled him to embellish his storyline at significant stages with elegies, prophesies, praise poems, and prayers, allowing space for reflection, admiration, and lamentation.

This year, the awards will be presented by the Acting Director of Unisa Press, Dr Meiya Nthoesane, at the Research and Innovation gala event, which will take place on 8 March 2019.


Bringing together theory and research on the causes of violence

Violence in schools: South Africa in an international context, by Clive Harber and Vusi Mncube, speaks to the criterion for a work that addresses a specific need or problem in society.

While a number of academic studies have delineated the extent and nature of such violence, and made recommendations on possible solutions to the problem, there has - until now - been no single book bringing together theory and research on the causes of violence, and on its reduction and prevention. Finding suitable solutions requires a clear understanding of how and where violence emanates. Uniquely, Violence in schools: South Africa in an international context covers both the social bases of school violence and the role many schools themselves play in breeding violent behaviour.

The book further argues that school-generated violence is potentially much more amenable to positive intervention: solutions can be developed at the local level, by schools themselves, and in response to the specific circumstances generated in individual schools.

Named after Dr Willem Hiddingh, one of the first advocates in the Cape Colony, and Sir Donald Currie, an early benefactor of higher education in South Africa and the United Kingdom, the award specifies that the recipient must be an academic or artistic work of the highest quality. It should also contribute to the understanding or development of a discipline or work that addresses a specific need or problem in society. Contenders are drawn from the books published by Unisa Press in the previous year.

Worth R20 000, the Hiddingh-Currie Award encourages and nourishes specialised skills in academic research and scholarly publishing.

* Submitted by Innocentia Swanepoel, Marketing Officer, Unisa Press

Publish date: 2019/03/07