Speaking at the launch, Prof Jacob Mofokeng, spearheading the Research Chair, said: “There is no better time than now to conduct research and take action to reduce Gender Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) as well as other forms of violence driven by moral decay in our communities. We now know more than ever before about the prevalence and risk factors as well as what works not only to prevent, but also reduce GBVF and other forms of violence.”
“There is immense political will to end GBVF at campuses, at country level, continentally and globally. Goals to end GBVF are included in the National Sustainable Development Goals. These global initiatives coupled with the rise in global activism against sexual assault and harassment, present a unique time in history for using evidence to influence decision-making and policy action. Modern global activism builds on decades of hard work of women leaders, activists and researchers,’ said Prof Mofokeng.
Prof Mofokeng also commented on the goals of the chair to promote partnerships, strengthen capacity, build evidence and influence change. The Research Chair will strengthen the evidence base to “improve policies and programmes to respond and prevent GBVF”, including soliciting expert support and funding towards the production of impactful and innovative research on GBVF.
The fight against Gender Based Violence and Femicide
Dr Vathiswa Papu-Zamxaka, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Engagement, extended appreciation to the Campus and School Safety and Security Training Institute (CASSTI), for assisting the University in creating a platform to address gender-based violence. “The establishment of this research chair could not have been a more appropriate intervention as this scourge has reached an alarming and terribly worrying proportion. Because of this, South Africa has earned a spot of notoriety among nations as one of the most violent societies.”
“Women bear the brunt of this. Even scarier is how this unfolds and manifests in society, including the amount of heartlessness associated with it.”
“Please allow me to talk a bit about this social distemper as a way of contextualising the thinking behind the new Chair. Misogyny and femicide are key characteristics of gender-based violence which continues to rise, despite numerous interventions. There are women who have died with protection orders in their hands. Because of this, an inevitable question is whether the system is really designed to protect or create a false sense of protection,” said Dr Papu-Zamxaka.
She added that an MoU in support of the research activities of the chair, was recently signed with the International University of Management and Administration (IUMA) in Benin. “We are looking to your participation and partnership in its activities on various aspects of its niche areas. It’s only in working together that we could fully expunge violence from our societies, including our campuses.”
Continental impact presented by the chair
Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, Vice-Chancellor and Principal, congratulated Prof Mofokeng and the office of the DVC: Research, Innovation and Engagement on the establishment and launch of the chair. He said that these mark the re-dedication of TUT towards the attainment of the “Pan African Vision of an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens”, while representing a dynamic force in the international arena.
Extending his support for the chair, Cuthbert Ncube, African Tourism Board Chairperson said the African Tourism Board, in it endeavours to advocate for robust design in piloting new approaches in our academia, celebrates the inaugural African Research Chair and the synergy between the giants, TUT and the Campus School Safety Training Institute.
“Dear friends, the time is now to break the barriers that separate us as brothers and sisters, as well as higher learning institutions, it is time to craft our own syllabi and mechanisms that will appreciate and drive us towards a more competitive advantage, stemming from our undeniable entrepreneurial spirit embedded in us as Africans,” concluded Ncube.
International relations and support
The Research Chair also received support from ambassadors and diplomats from across the world. The collaboration agreement between the TUT and the International University of Management and Administration (IUMA) in Benin in support of the Africa Research Chair, is proof of the support.
Additional congratulatory messages poured in from the Chairperson of the TUT Council, Tilson Manyoni, Sam Chauke: (CEO) Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority (PSIRA), Cuthbert Ncube: African Tourism Board, John Ojesiekhoba: President elect – International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) ; Major General Mathonsi: SAPS – GBV and Social Crime Prevention ; Dr Roger Ludeman: President of International Association of Student Affairs and Services. (USA) (Virtual); Dr Joseph GRAH: Secretary General, Universite EPHRATA / Ivory Coast; His excellency David Magabe: Ambassador of South Africa to Dubai ; Her excellency Aysegul Kandas : Ambassador of Turkey to South Africa ; Her excellency Fionnuala Gilsenan : Ambassador of Ireland to South Africa ; Hon Rodrique Francis: Conseiller - Economique Commercial du Gabon en Afrique du Sud ; Nkosikazi ND Mhlauli: Chairperson of the National House of Traditional and Khoi- San Leaders.