Dinokeng - place of rivers.
These were the words expressed by Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal at the dialogue that deliberated on the Art of Naming & Renaming, and its critical role in the Transformation Agenda, which formed part of the Dinokeng unveiling ceremony attended by TUT management, staff, student leaders, convocants and alumni.
In his keynote address, Prof Maluleke said that naming and renaming is a powerful way of rewriting the slanted representation of our past. Referring to the very first sentence of Nelson Mandela’s biography Long Walk to Freedom, Prof Maluleke noted “the beautiful, backhanded tribute which the great Nelson Mandela pays to his father when he wrote: Apart from life, a strong constitution and an abiding connection to the Thembu royal house, the only thing my father bestowed upon me at birth, was a name, Rolihlahla (troublemaker)”.
Prof Maluleke went on to say: “Names may not be destiny, and they may not be the be all and end all of transformation, but they play a crucial role in helping us to navigate the many storms of our lives, and in helping us shape our own destinies”.
He further explained that Dinokeng speaks of a place overflowing with life. “It is place of life and buoyancy,” he said.
“In naming this place Dinokeng, we have marked it as a place that will bubble with fresh ideas intended to build the people’s university.”
“To call our building Dinokeng is to suggest that the place will sparkle with the energy we need to nurture and to incubate future-ready graduates. In naming it as Dinokeng we are clothing the place in effervescence, injecting it with a sense of vitality, the same vitality we wish to see in all our staff members and in our curricula.”
Prof Tinyiko Maluleke, Vice-Chancellor and Principal.
In addition, he said that Dinokeng symbolises a constellation and a confluence, where great ideas from a diversity of origins, persons and communities, will come together, in the service of TUT staff and students.
“There is something about rivers that is both exhilarating and calming. My hope is that this building will inspire a bit of both, but more the former rather than the latter,” said Prof Maluleke.
Elinor Sisulu, an award-winning author and human rights activist, and Dr Tebogo Rakgogo from the Department of Applied Languages formed part of the dialogue as panellists.
Ms Sisulu congratulated the University on its commitment to the transformation imperative. “Nowhere is this more clearly shown than in the milestones of one of the most iconic and noticeable representations and embodiment of TUT’s very identity, or its personhood – its buildings. The process of naming and renaming facilities is the first critical and formal step of recreating TUT’s identity and has the potential to enhance its ability to achieve its vision. The reconstruction of an identity involves reclamation of our history and rewriting our own stories as Africans and as TUT – who we are,” she said.
In his remarks, Dr Rakgogo brought in the language aspect to the conversation. He said in South Africa, renaming has been on the agenda since the first era of democracy. He explained that renaming universities and other facilities helps to embrace African culture, values and beliefs. African names go beyond identity construction as they communicate values, beliefs, experiences and other cultural practices.
Elinor Sisulu, an award-winning author and human rights activist.
“In theory the new name of a place must be chosen with care and has to respect the culture, heritage, history and language of the inhabitants, because renaming can result into either reconciliation or hostilities,” explained Dr Rakgogo.
Prof Maluleke ended his address with the following inspirational words: “May the swirling waters of Dinokeng refresh and revitalise the dozens and hundreds who enter and exit this building, daily. May the dazzling waterfalls of Dinokeng sweep all our graduates towards the future that beckons, the future of work, the future of technology. May the leaping waters of Dinokeng, inspire the Tshwane University of Technology, to keep moving from good to great in every way and at every level”.
Click here to watch the full event.
Click here to read Prof Tinyiko Maluleke’s full speech.