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Change the world

19/06/2024

The Faculty of Education (FOE) recently launched their first collective book reading initiative, with the hopes of bringing staff within the Faculty together to read, exchange ideas, and generate knowledge.

This initiative entails a series of group reading sessions, where Faculty staff read collectively. The first book chosen, which received the highest votes, was Steve Biko’s I write what I like.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Learning and Teaching, Dr Muki Moeng, sponsored a book for each Faculty staff member who participated in the collective reading sessions and kicked off proceedings by reading page 101 of I write what I like.

In line with the institutional vision of being a ‘dynamic African University’, the Faculty’s choice to read Biko’s book reflects the same aspiration by grappling with concepts like Decolonisation and Africanisation, which require critical engagement. 

With his focus on Black Consciousness, Steve Biko spoke about, and to, the African Being, and in so doing, rejected the colonial essentialising of Africa.

From left:Acting Deputy Dean, Prof Shervani Pillay, DVC of L&T, Dr Muki Moeng & Acting Executive Dean Prof Heloise Sathorar 

Dr Moeng asserted how we can actualise Biko’s teachings by destabilising institutional racism in our personal capacities, and aspiring towards what Biko termed the ‘envisaged self’.

Co-ordinator and Acting Deputy Dean of the Faculty, Professor Shervani Pillay, said the concept emerged from her portfolio, which is to augment the culture of Scholarship within the Faculty.

“We call ourselves an African University, and in the Faculty, we talk about Decolonising, but what does it mean? I selected four books, which spoke to Decolonisation and the colleagues chose, I write what I like”.

“The importance of making meaning together is particularly important in our context, especially at a deeper level of what it means to be African. It is important to think deeply about these issues because it influences who we can be and the work which we are already doing,” she said.

Acting Executive Dean of the Faculty, Professor Heloise Sathorar, highlighted the benefits of reading together as colleagues, stating that it enhances teamwork, which is one of the key focus areas of the Faculty.

“We would like to build the team spirit and collegiality in the Faculty, where you learn from each other, feed off one another’s ideas, and gain new perspectives,” she said.

Dr Moeng concluded that the project is intended to reach other Faculties, with books being chosen by Faculties, based on their needs, and journeys in their knowledge generation processes.

Faculty staff felt that the launch was a success, and expressed appreciation of the DVC's contribution to the project.

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