The DAAD Information Centre Johannesburg invites DAAD In-Country/In-Region Scholarship holders in South Africa to take part in a networking conference in South Africa each year. The conference provides the scholarships holders a platform for exchange, discussion and networking and the opportunity to enhance and sharpen various skills needed in higher education through high-quality workshops.
The DAAD South Africa Conference is hosted in a different South African city each year and has been running for the last 8 years. DAAD scholarship holders in South Africa who hold the
for their Master or PhD degree at a South Africa university are eligibile to take part in the conference during a weekend of discussion, networking and further learning.
The conference, centered each year around a different yet always topical theme in the South African higher education landscape, further offers the scholarship holders the opportunity to refine various skills in areas such as academic writing, presentation strategies and intercultural communication through high-quality workshops offered by experts in the field, as well as a platform for discussion around contentious questions in South African higher education.
The 9th DAAD South Africa Conference took place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 5 – 8 September 2019. DAAD scholarship holders in South Africa were invited to take part in a weekend of networking and training together with the DAAD Information Centre Johannesburg Team and colleagues from the DAAD head office in Bonn, Germany. The workshops on offer and the inputs from the panellists and key-note speaker were all centred around Science Communication, which served as overarching topic for the conference.
This year, for only the second time in the conference’s nine-year history, both South African scholarship holders as well as scholarship holders from other Sub-Saharan African countries at South African universities were invited to take part the conference. This is in line with the In-Country/In-Region Programme Sub-Saharan Africa’s strategy to promote academic exchange between and sustainable capacity development in Sub-Saharan African Countries. More than 15 Sub-Saharan African countries were represented among the conference participants this year.
On Thursday, 5 September, the conference participants received information on various DAAD funding opportunities that they have access to with their In-Country/In-Region scholarships as well as other standard DAAD funding opportunities, after which they dressed in beautiful fashion and were whisked away to rooftop venue in Braamfontein for the Welcome Reception.
On Friday, 6 September, Prof. Salim Vally, the Director of the Centre for Education Rights and Transformation at the University of Johannesburg, offered an insightful look into science communication, research’s place in the modern world and the university’s autonomy in his key-note speech, to all of the conference participants’ enrichment and pleasure. A diverse panel continued the discussion together with the conference participants on Saturday, 7 September. Prof. Jan Botha from the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology at the University of Stellenbosch, Prof. Pamela Dube, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of the Western Cape, Michael Ellis, the Manager of Science Communication at the National Research Foundation (NRF), and Faith Dlamini from the South African Cities Network all delivered keen insights surrounding this significant topic in higher education.
On Friday and Saturday, the conference participants had the opportunity to attend full-day workshops. On offer were Presentation Skills offered by Dr Samia Chasi, Academic Authorship by Prof. Jan Botha, Learn German by Roma Gendera and Ann-Christin Kiehl, and PhD Proposal Writing offered by Dr Dana Marks and Dr Alex Wafer on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The DAAD Information Centre Johannesburg is confident that the training the conference participants received over these two days has enriched their studies and research considerably.
We would like to thank all our guests and participants for this exciting weekend once more. Nothing affords us greater pleasure than to meet our scholarship holders in person and, together with them, change the world by exchange!
More photos from the conference can be viewed here.
Over the weekend of the 7th of September, the DAAD South Africa team, its guest and in-country scholarship holders came together for the 8th annual DAAD South Africa Conference. “Be International!” served as theme for the conference and so internationalisation and decolonisation in South African higher education were at the centre of the discussions and workshops that took place over the weekend.
The scholarship holders, coming from all corners of South Africa, arrived at the Garden Court Marine Parade Hotel in Durban on Friday afternoon where they were greeted with a lunch and a welcome bag for the weekend. They quickly got to know one another over the lunch and soon went to their rooms to prepare for the Welcome Reception.
The Welcome Reception took place on Friday evening in uShaka Marine World’s Aquarium where the DAAD South Africa Team and its guests enjoyed a night of dancing, joy and laughter. The Welcome Reception in this most extraordinary of settings proved to be the perfect ice breaker for the two days of intensive discussions and engagement that were to follow.
Over Saturday and Sunday, the participants forged further networks and connections with each other through active engagement in workshops and other activities. Mr Umesh Bawa delivered an illuminating speech on decolonisation in South African Higher education on Saturday morning, introducing the key topic for the weekend: how do internationalisation and decolonisation, two very important processes currently taking place in South African higher education, work together? Later that day the participants attended exciting workshops designed to provide them with interpersonal as well as practical research skills. Dr Shamim Bodhanya introduced his exciting work surrounding Systems Thinking in Higher Education while Nisha Ramlutchman and Dr Dayaneethie Veerasamy worked with the participants on social skills in Intercultural Communication. Dr Nyna Amin engaged with the participants on their paper- and abstract-writing skills in Pre-Conference Preparation and Dr Thakane Ntholi rounded off the workshops with her Science Slam workshop.
In between the discussion in the morning and workshops in the afternoon, Tebogo Makhubela and Maserame Cleopatra Mokhaneli were kind enough to share their research experiences in Germany with the rest of the participants, encouraging them to also apply for a short-term research visit in Germany that is open to all DAAD-NRF scholarship holders.
We kicked off Sunday with a panel discussion on internationalisation in South African higher education, continuing the conversation that Mr Umesh Bawa had so skilfully initiated on Saturday. Dr Lavern Samuels, director of Internationalisation at the Durban University of Technology, Dr Nomakwezi Mzilikazi, director of Research Management at Nelson Mandela University and Dr Sepo Hachigonta, director of Strategy, Planning and Partnerships at the National Research Foundation shared their experience and expertise surrounding this much debated topic with the audience and provided intuitive possible solutions for the challenges still facing South African higher education today.
After the panel discussion the DAAD South Africa Team and its guests had the pleasure to participate in a Science Slam competition, a platform used to communicate science and research to a non-expert audience. A few brave scholarship holders signed up for the workshop and worked with Dr Thakane Ntholi throughout Saturday evening to perfect their presentations. They were tasked with presenting their research in an innovative and creative way but not to the undermine the integrity of the science of their research – a rather difficult task. In the end, Mandi Hamman walked away with the first prize, as voted for by the audience, having presented an insightful, creative and concise overview of her research on substance abuse in audio-visual format. Congratulations once more!
The DAAD South Africa Team regards it as the highest honour to meet DAAD scholarship holders and to engage with them. The participants never fail to show interest, excitement and active involvement throughout the weekend – and this year was no different. We would like to thank all of our guests and scholarship holders for this wonderful weekend by the sea!
View more photos by Anwyll de Leeuw from the conference here.