Professors on a mission to tackle Social Justice through serious gaming 

6 May 2021

Prof Khumbulani Mpofu, DSI-NRF SARChI Research Chair in Future Transport Manufacturing Technologies; and Prof Thuli Madonsela, Faculty of Law at the University of Stellenbosch and Law Trust Chair, were among great scholars who met to explore a range of approaches to assist decision makers in ensuring that social justice is achieved through service delivery by government and various organisations. The event took place at Stellenbosch, Technopark on 26 April 2021.

Prof Mpofu and Prof Madonsela at the serious gaming gathering.

Prof Mpofu mentioned that the social justice approach was inspired by several factors that included a meeting in Wellington in 2020 at a community event, where Prof Madonsela was giving a keynote address. She was then invited by Prof Mpofu to experience the Plan A, a Future Work game that assists leaders to understand the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). “The question of what the 4IR is about is one question that needs attention in this generation. Sadly, many people speak about the revolution, however, few understand its implications. Plan A assists to resolve this challenge by ensuring leaders are educated on the nuisances of this revolution and how it impacts their growth, future viability and employee satisfaction,” he Prof Mpofu said.

He further explained that: “Because it is a serious gaming environment, it allows decision permutations to be explored without necessarily harming the bottom line of the organisation, but most critically, it allows leaders to focus on their organisational vision and align it with the possibilities provided for by the 4IR.”

Prof Mpofu also mentioned that efforts are required from academia, industry, government and international partners to provide solutions for their communities’ triple helix challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty alleviation. He added that the social compact ideal can be achieved by various experts coming together to produce Social Justice tools that will not only impact the country but the region, continent and globe.

Additionally, Prof Mpofu indicated that the intention is to roll out the Plan A gaming offering across the country to one and all, ensuring they are all intuitively prepared for the current and upcoming Industrial Revolution. “Through the mission of developing a parallel platform specific to social justice, this will assist many nations to be able to calculate their decisions to maximise achievement of Social Justice in every willing nation in the globe,” he said. 

The DSI-NRF SARChI FTMT, spearheaded by Prof Mpofu, seeks to address the challenge of transport poverty, through the development of manufacturing technology that allows for localisation of the means of production for all modes of mobility. Through this collaboration, the question of Social Justice in facilitating safe, reliable and affordable transport the chair will contribute to achieving Social Justice through adaption of the gaming approach to resolve the triple helix challenges of SA, the continent and the global South at large.

Other astute experts who also participated at the event include the former Statistician General, Dr Pali Lehohla; Mr Trevor Shihundla, a master’s student and an incubate at RMCERI who supported the facilitation of the Plan A; Prof Bubacarr Bah, the German Chair of Mathematics specialising in Data Science; Prof Barry Green, Director of AIMS; Prof Bruce Bassett, AIMS, UCT; Prof Kanshukan Rajaratnam, Director: School for Data Science and Computational Thinking and Prof Bruce Watson, Head of Department of Information Science at the University of Stellenbosch.

Some of the experts who attended the social justice serious gaming event.

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