Our 2018 Scholars’ Conference is fast approaching, and we’re busy with last minute preparations for what is shaping up to be the most exciting one yet! Many thanks to Webber Wentzel for hosting us again. The conference provides an essential opportunity for some of Southern Africa’s most promising young researchers and activists to come together for a weekend of networking, skills development and knowledge sharing in pursuit of social justice.
Following consultation with our scholars earlier in the year, the theme for this year’s conference is Challenging Boundaries: Claiming Rights. Through a combination of lectures, workshops and scholar-led sessions, our scholars will debate the main boundaries constraining the advancement of southern African societies, including social, personal, structural and spatial, and devise agendas for overcoming such boundaries to realise Human Rights for all.
Headlining the event are two women who need no introduction. Former Public Protector and one of the TIME100 Most Influential People in the World in 2014, Advocate Thuli Madonsela, will be joined on Saturday 2nd by esteemed feminist author and academic Professor Pumla Gqola for the keynote addresses.
The weekend will also allow our scholars the chance to debate amongst themselves in various sessions, including a roundtable discussion with highly respected Canon Collins alumnus and Director of the Southern Africa division of Human Rights Watch, Dewa Mavingha on the theme ‘Scholar abroad: Do we owe our homeland?’ Dewa will also give the keynote address at the Alumni Dinner which is taking place on the Saturday evening, with Kline Smith, Canon Collins Alumnus, as MC.
Highlights during the packed Sunday schedule include a panel discussion entitled ‘Boundaries that abound: overcoming interpersonal and structural boundaries’. The panel will feature a mix of academics, activists and legal professionals, including Dr Asanda Benya of the University of Cape Town Sociology Department and Disha Govender of Cape Town Land Rights NGO, Ndifuna Ukwazi. There will also be an exciting Moot Court competition for our Law scholars, giving them an opportunity to put legal knowledge into practice and refine their skills in argument and presentation.
Lastly, the Conference will also award R30,000 to a social justice initiative of the scholars’ choosing. This year’s finalists and their respective projects are:
- Pretty Mubaiwa, University of Cape Town, #UcanUni Campaign for Mental Health Support
- Simate Simate, Stellenbosch University, ‘Including the excluded: Making Deafblind Children Visible in Zambian Classrooms.
- Tse’liso Makara, University of KwaZulu-Natal ‘Nurturing their healthy growth: textile workers children’
- Setseetso Matobako, University of the Free State ‘Extending a helping hand to the previously marginalized and underprivileged children’