La Journée Internationale est la meilleure vitrine de l’année pour la NMMU !

Par Lisa Moore

Chaque année, l’université de Nelson Mandela Métropolitain (NMMU) unit toutes les différentes cultures présentes sur le campus pour un mois de diversité. Il y a beaucoup de nationalités, de coutumes et de traditions à la NMMU. La journée internationale est l’occasion pour tous ces gens (étudiants et personnel) de célébrer ce melting-pot de diversité. Chaque année, en août, il y a une semaine consacrée à la  « diversité internationale » et le programme aboutit au vendredi, la journée internationale.

            Pendant cette semaine, il y a beaucoup de choses qui durent plusieurs jours, et les étudiants et les enseignants sont encouragés à participer et à couvrir  toutes les cultures, aussi différentes soient-elles. D’habitude, une personne donne une conférence sur les cultures internationales, et il y a aussi un festival du film, parmi d’autres activités. Les étudiants de la NMMU sont tous uniques et représentent la diversité. Ainsi, ils peuvent venir d’universités reconnues internationalement : l’Allemagne, le Botswana, le Cameroun, le Soudan, l’île Maurice, les Pays-Bas et les États-Unis sont quelques exemples des pays représentés.

            Toutes les couleurs de peau, toutes les langues sont présentes à la journée internationale, aussi connue comme « l’exposition internationale de la culture », accompagnée d’une présentation de la collection. Cet évènement est organisé et accueilli par la cafétéria « kraal », et tous les pays de la NMMU décorent leurs stands avec des drapeaux, beaucoup de couleurs, des images et des plats traditionnels. Je suis une étudiante anglaise, et j’apprends le français depuis trois ans. Cette année avec mes amies, nous avons aidé au stand français, et nous avons servi de la nourriture typiquement française : du jambon, du pain, du fromage, des pains au chocolat et des croissants.

            Il y a une ambiance très festive et animée, avec tous les genres de musique et de danse, de la poésie et des représentations d’artistes locaux. C’est aussi une occasion pour rencontrer des gens que l’on ne connait pas encore. À la fin de la journée, des prix sont attribués et les gagnants du défilé de mode et du meilleur stand sont annoncés. Il y a beaucoup de voix différentes à la NMMU, mais elles font toutes parties de la même université, et ce principe est très bien illustré lors de cet événement spécial et mémorable.

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By: Odette Johaar

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UNESCO World Heritage Sites in SA is something to be proud about

World Heritage Sites identify and protect areas of exceptional cultural, historical and natural value. As a country, South Africa not only boasts a very diverse culture, but also a rich history and breathtaking natural scenery as well as resources, which are useful both locally and internationally. Therefore, there is no questioning why South Africa is the proud host to eight World Heritage Sites.

Taking a look at the word heritage, we can understand that it involves customs, inheritance, a legacy and traditions. Heritage is what we remember and receive from the past, what we live and carry with us today, and what we hope for and pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritages cannot be replaced, and they are also great sources of life and inspiration to others. World Heritage is universally applied and acknowledged, and these sites belong to all the peoples of the world, irrespective of where they live or what language, race or culture they might be associated with.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) adopted an international treaty in 1972, called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage. UNESCO’s goal is to encourage worldwide cultural and natural heritage be identified, preserved and protected. This heritage is of infinite value and importance to our human race, which is why it is being promoted that local populations become more involved with and participate in preserving their natural and cultural history, so that it does not become extinct, is maltreated, or is eventually forgotten.

South Africa’s eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites include the following: Cultural World Heritage Sites are the The Cradle of Humankind (Fossil Hominid Sites of Sterkfontein, Swartkrans, Kromdraai, and Environs) in Gauteng (1999); the Mapungubwe Cultural Landscape in Limpopo (2003); Robben Island, 12km from Cape Town (1999) and the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape in the Northern Cape (2007). A mixed World Heritage Site is the UKhahlamba / Drakensberg Park (2000) in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Natural World Heritage Sites include the Cape Floral Kingdom/Region Protected Areas in the Western Cape (2004); the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park in Kwa-Zulu Natal (1999) and Vredefort Dome in the Free State (2005).

The Cape Floral Region is comprised of eight protected areas which stretch out over a total of 553 000 hectares from the Cape Peninsula to the Eastern Cape. It has been described by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee as “one of the richest areas for plants in the world.” Although this region represents less than 0.5 per cent of the area of Africa, it contains nearly 20% of our continent’s flora. This flora, which also makes up roughly 3% of the world’s plant species, is famous for being diverse, dense and widespread, and is endemic; found nowhere else on earth.

The eight protected areas which are considered to be the most important examples of the Cape Floral Kingdom are the following: the Baviaanskloof, the Boosmansbos wilderness area, the Boland mountain complex, the Cederberg wilderness area, De Hoop Nature Reserve, the Groot Winterhoek wilderness area, the Swartberg Mountains and Table Mountain. The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, which lie on the slopes of Table Mountain, is included in the site, which marks the first time that a botanical garden has been included in one of UNESCO’s world heritage sites. The plants and animals of these areas are adapted to highly specialised environments, and are also unique in their vast numbers and endemism. The above are the smallest and richest areas of the world’s six floral kingdoms – and the beauty of them is that they are all found in our stunning country!

Article by Lisa Moore

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NMMU Choir sings their way through South Africa and Abroad

NMMU Choir

Our very own award-winning NMMU choir toured to Italy these past holidays, where they celebrated the opening of the World Cup by singing in a city square in Milan. Claricia Coeries, 21, a third-year BA-MCC student has been a member of the NMMU choir since 2008. She shares some thoughts about why she so enjoys being a part of this multicultural group.

There a number of different cultures and nationalities present within the approximately 50-member choir – from Afrikaans, to English, Xhosa, Zulu, and there are even two students from the Seychelles. The ages of the members range between 18 and 30 years. If you thought singing and cultural activities were just for the artistic at heart, think again! According to Claricia, our NMMU choir is made up of students studying accounting, biology, chemistry, education, radiology, as well as journalism, languages, music and psychology… and the list goes on!

We sing a lot of choral western music, but also a variety of African Xhosa and Zulu songs”, Claricia explains. “We recently started to work on some Spanish cultural music too”. What makes the choir so proudly South African is their traditional African music and dancing.  “We love it! It’s a perfect picture of our diverse cultures within South Africa” she enthuses. Their traditional uniform is multi-coloured and worn with a variety of beads, whereas their formal uniform is black and orange with the university emblem printed on the front.

Our NMMU choir has not only done well in our country, but has also spread the spirit of ubuntu and diversity overseas. They toured Austria, Germany and The Czech Republic last year, as well as the abovementioned visit to Italy this year. “On our tours I got to learn about the rich history these countries have.  The architecture and their love for the arts was so inspiring”, says Claricia. “Our music truly blessed our audiences; they often conveyed their heartfelt gratitude to us for sharing our unique spirit and culture with them. The Xhosa songs and dances were indeed a great hit!” she fondly remembers.

According to Claricia, the foreigners absolutely loved our choir. “We enjoyed quite a few standing ovations and votes of thanks from mayors of the towns where we performed. They applauded our energy and our ability to maintain such a high standard in both Western and cultural music”, she says.

The NMMU choir has taken part in the Spittal Chor Wettbewerf competition in Spittal, and the La Fabbrica del Canto choir festival in Italy. “We won third place among the world choirs at the competition in Spittal as well as the audience award, being the most-loved choir” she proudly says.

“Taking part in the choir has taught me to appreciate difference and work together towards a common goal. When you develop your talents and skills while studying, you not only improve yourself academically, but also socially.  I have loved every minute of the three years I’ve been with the NMMU choir”, Claricia concludes. NMMU is a university full of colour, cultures and many talented students. If you would like to become more involved and experience this vibrant life, then maybe the choir is just the right place to begin!

Article By Lisa Moore

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Young Frenchman tutoring at NMMU

Pierre Flandé, 25, from Pau in the South of France, came to NMMU in February last year to tutor

 

Pierre Flande French Tutor at NMMU

 

 

French. He has been giving conversational classes to second and third-year students studying French. Pierre had travelled abroad to numerous countries before, but South Africa has been his first stay in a foreign country.

Pierre studied English Language, Literature and Civilization at the Université de Pau et des pays de l’Adou for 5 years before coming to teach French as a foreign language to students in South Africa. “I loved English. From the day I started, I knew I was going to do that”, says Pierre. His university in France is smaller than NMMU, with a total of only about 2000 students. It is more convenient and friendly there, according to Pierre, and due to its size, you get to know everyone and you see your friends often. Compared to South Africa, Pierre says that food at the university cafeteria in France is “ridiculously cheap”. You can buy a full meal, consisting of two small portions and a main portion, for as little as R28. One thing that struck Pierre on his arrival at NMMU is the extremely high cost of studies, which he found “shocking”.   South Africa was Pierre’s second destination choice when he applied for this job. He is paid by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and teaches French at the Alliance Française in Port Elizabeth, as well as organises various events for them. Pierre has enjoyed his time in South Africa and is continuing to do so.

Pierre’s impressions of living in South Africa are rather interesting. “Security is really, really different”, he says. “Back home we have no alarms and electric fences. We don’t leave lights on, and we don’t lock our doors all the time. Everything is so slow here, which is a good thing, because in France, things can get hectic. I was very surprised how good the roads are, and petrol is much cheaper. People are much friendlier here. I enjoy the ocean and  being able to surf and braai – because most of the time the weather is very nice”. In the beginning, the English language was a problem for Pierre. “After a month he felt more confident, and after three to four months, I was very confident and had basically reached my English goals”, he proudly says. “At the moment, I would like to stay in South Africa, and then go to other countries to teach and travel. I started with good working conditions, so I have to find these again”, he says.

Lisa Moore

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Swartz calls for Unity

Professor Derrick Swartz Vice Chancellor of NMMU

Multi-culturalism is an idea born of an expressed commitment to enjoin cultural plurality within the same spatial and institutional context, said the nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Vice- Chancellor Professor Derrick Swartz in New Brighton. He was giving an honorable lecture on Multi-Culturalism and Identity in Post apartheid South Africa on the 23rd of September 2010. It was a part of a series of continuing public lectures that are often hosted at the Red Location Museum as an attempt to have our heritage passed on and a remembrance of how the nation ended up living in a diverse society.

Though Prof Swartz briefed the attendants on the background of our diversity, he dared to emphasize the importance of unity and the road that South Africans have gone from the apartheid regime to a democratic society that consists of different cultures. “In South Africa, the recognition of its ‘cultural diversity’- one of the precepts of multiculturalism has been long been used as an argument in favour of apartheid ideology”, he said. He added that racial or ethnic acknowledgement is still a part of everyday life in South Africa.

He admits that the racial division still present in this nation is due to the pre 1994 government rule which insisted on the ‘separation of people, conceived as culturally and socially incompatible to exist within the same geographical and institutional spaces’.

Meanwhile, the event was also aimed at informing the public about the possible advantages and the disadvantages of practicing multi-culturalism as Prof. Swartz said that cultural groups need to exist at a distance as mixing with others can certainly lead to the ultimate loss of cultural uniqueness.

As this lecture was hosted by means of celebrating the annual national Heritage Day, the words of Prof. Swartz really suited the mission of the event as well as the aim of the museum as a hosting venue. He was approved by Mr Mpumezo Ralo, the researcher of the Red Location Museum because of his excellent academic record and knowledge and understanding of the long time situation this country lived in before.

However, the importance of his speech was clearly proved by the presence of Nceba Tutu, the NMMM’s ward 15 councilor, who seemed to be impressed by the delivered lesson. According to the receptionist, Nosikhumbuzo Hoza, the occasion was being attended by many of the other local politicians though they are not mentioned.  Nomzamo Yuku

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