Newsletter, November 2008

Posted on November 15, 2008





November 2008



Dear Students,


We hope you will find our last newsletter for 2008 informative and will enjoy reading it.




Students often enquire about the academic standards and status of UP degrees. The fact that a number of our former students have successfully pursued postgraduate studies at various universities abroad after the completion of degrees at UP, attest to the standing of our politics related degrees. A recent example is Marné Beukes (2005 Honours) who recently submitted a dissertation written under supervision of Prof John Mayall for the MPhil International Relations degree at Cambridge University (UK). Bearing in mind that only 60 out of 700 applicants were admitted to the MPhil programme, the following quote from her e-mail is noteworthy: (translated) “It was difficult since the standard here (at Cambridge) is very high. However, your department prepared me very well and it is with pride that I can attest that we (UP students) compare well with my fellow students at Cambridge from Harvard/
Stanford/Oxford.” UP students can also take note of her comments on assessment: (translated) “At Cambridge (for the MPhil coursework & dissertation) you can only obtain a mark between 60% and 70% (59 being a fail mark). If you get 65% it is ‘
very good’. Here no one gets a distinction!”




In October, Mr Roland Henwood published a piece on the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) Washington’s online forum. The title of his publication is ‘Emerging trends in South African Politics post-Mbeki’.


Mr Henwood presented a paper at a CIPS conference in August, entitled the ‘State of South Africa’s constitutional democracy: 1994-2008’. Mr Henwood also conducted a couple of radio interviews on radio stations: Radio Netherlands, Radio Islam, Radio Pretoria and the SABC, just to mention a few. In August, Mr Henwood lectured on Constitutional Governance at the South Africa National Defence College. In July, he lectured at the UP Centre for Human Right’s Politics and Good Governance Course.


‘Federalism in South Africa: the constitutional & political practices’ was the topic of Mr Henwood’s presentation to members of the Nepalese Constituent Assembly, at IDASA, on 15 September.


Mr Gerhard Wolmarans  presented a conference paper at the South African Association of Political Science (SAAPS), which was held from 03-05 September 2008 at Kopanong and hosted by the University of Johannesburg. His paper was entitled ‘Conventionalism and Character in politics and governing in South Africa: A theoretical orientation’.


Mr Patrick Dzimiri, a junior lecturer, was involved with the research institute Pax Africa. He researched the issue of South Africa’s involvement with the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The focus was on Peace and Security issues, with specific reference to Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.


Oh, and have we travelled!


Prof Schoeman was invited to visit Copenhagen and Lund in October. During her visit she presented a paper on South Africa’s involvement in peacekeeping at the Nordic Africa Institute Conference, a seminar on China-Africa relations at the Danish Institute of International Studies and a keynote lecture on civil-military relations in South Africa at the Danish Defence College. In Lund she presented a paper on the role of religion in conflict resolution and participated in a panel discussion on African elections.


In August Prof Schoeman taught in the Mansfield College (Oxford University) summer school programme on Africa and the EU and delivered a seminar at Chatham House (London) on South Africa-Zimbabwe relations.


 In September Professor Hussein Solomon took up the Nelson Mandela Chair in African Studies at Jawahrlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India, where he will be until December. He will develop the programme in Africa Studies and will also be lecturing and doing research on various subjects including IBSA.


Two of the Department’s junior lecturers, Mr. Shaun Edge and Mr Leon Hartwell, visited the Indiana Perdue Fort Wayne (IPFW) University in Indiana during late September to early October. During this ten day visit, they both presented lectures to the undergraduate and post-graduate students of IPFW on topics ranging from ‘Humanitarian Intervention in Africa’ to Zimbabwe’s failed democracy and terrorism in Africa. In addition, they presented a lecture to the Fort Wayne International Affairs Association on ‘The implication of Zimbabwe’s failed democracy on the region’.


Mr Leon Hartwell, Mr Kabelo Mabalane and Ms Naomi Pienaar visited Rwanda from 17 to 24 August 2008 as part of a joint South Africa and US student delegation. The purpose of the visit was to explore the circumstances and consequences of the 1994 genocide that claimed the lives of an estimated 800 000 victims, and to gauge progress made in post-genocide reconstruction and develop- ment. The visit was organised by the South African Union of Jewish Students (SAUJS) in conjunction with the UNISA Primedia Holocaust & Genocide Unit and the Johannesburg Holocaust Centre. Sponsorship was provided by Stanley Bergman of the American Jewish Committee’s Africa Institute, and members of the South African Jewish community. 


Mr Julian Kitipov, also one of our junior lecturers, will be in Seoul, South Korea as a visiting lecturer for the month of November. During this time he will be lecturing at Sogang University and Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. Some of the topics he will be giving lectures on include African Politics, Democratisation and Regional Security in Africa.


Mr Emmanuel Nibishaka was selected to attend the International Conference on Forced Migration, Environment and Social Vulnerability in Bonn, Germany, from 9 – 11 October. He presented a paper on the recent xenophobic attacks in the country.


Master of Diplomatic Studies (MDIPS)


The Department is currently presenting a customised Master of Diplomatic Studies (MDIPS) degree for a group of fourteen senior South African diplomats. These students are immersed in campus life during full-time blocks of lectures, and during the remainder of the two-year programme participate on a part-time basis in seminars and simula- tions.


The MDIPS curriculum is enriched with contributions by practitioners and academics in an array of related fields, and importantly also draws on the vast collective professional experience of the participants. The programme is the only one of its kind in Africa, and prioritises an African, as well as developing world approach to the academic study of diplomacy. Dr Yolanda Spies is the MDIPS Programme Manager and the Administrative Assistant is a new member of staff, Ms Uyo Salifu (who is also a Masters student within the Department).


Seminars and guest lecturers


Our Third year Foreign Policy students had two guest lecturers. Prof Gerrit Olivier presented a lecture on Russian Foreign Policy and Mr Jonathan Smallridge, from the United States Embassy, discussed the foreign policy of the USA with them.


Dr Oscar Mwangi, from the  National University of Lesotho, presented a lecture to the third year students on ‘Environmental security, economic marginalisation and electoral violence in Lesotho’.


Mr Hartwell presented a brown bag lunch on Friday, 8 August on ‘The Macro-Economic Context of Skilled Migration in Southern Africa’.


Our Honours and third year function


On 23 September the Department of Political Sciences invited all Honours and finalist 3rd-year students studying Political Science (STL) and/or International Relations (IPL) to an informal year-end function with the lecturers in the Department.


ISSUP activities


The Institute of Strategic Studies presented a Conference with the theme ‘Security 2008’ at the UP Conference Centre on 26 August 2008. Pertinent security issues such as combating crime in South Africa, ATM attacks and Cash in Transit Heists, as well as the attacks on foreigners, were topics for discussion. Guest speakers included a delegate from the Office of the MEC for Community Safety Gauteng Provincial Government, from the Democratic Alliance and the University of the Witwatersrand.




The Department warmly welcomes Prof Sandra Africa, our new associate professor, who joined the Department in August.




To Dr Yolanda Spies on her appointment as a Permanent full-time senior lecturer in the Department.


To Ms Rentia Pretorius on her contract appointment as a full-time lecturer in the Department.


To Ms Nicola de Jager on the birth of her baby boy, Nathan.


We also wish to congratulate:


Mr Boris Atanassov , one of our IPL students who graduated end of 2007 and who was accepted into the prestigious Masters programme in Globalization, Environment and Social Change at Stockholm University. Boris was chosen from 950 applicants, nominated from all over the globe, as one of only 22 participants in the programme.


Mr Marius Redelinghuys, third year BPolSci (Political Studies) student and tutor in the Department went to the United States in July as one of eight South African university Youth Ambassadors and experienced the cultural, political and social life of America. He further attended a number of post-programme events organised by the United States Embassy. Mr Redelinghuys also received the 2008 South African Association of Political Science (SAAPS) Best Undergraduate Essay Award for his essay entitled: “The Rise of the New Colonialists: A Comparative International Political Economic Analysis of the Rise of China.” Additionally, he was selected as one of the 28 Mandela Rhodes Scholars for 2009 to pursue his honours studies in Political Science in the Department.


The 19 students who successfully completed their studies and received their degrees during the September graduation ceremony. These include:


Three students who received Masters degrees. They are:


·   Gerrie Swart who was awarded the MA (International Relations) degree with disctinction after completing his dissertation under the supervision of Prof Solomon;


·   Maiendra Moodley and Lyle Pienaar who completed their mini-dissertations for the coursework Master of Security Studies degree under the supervision of Prof Hough.


o        Six students who received Honours degrees. Five students received Honours (International Relations) degrees and one student received an Honours (Political Science) degree. Amongst the former was Ms Alida Kok, assistant lecturer in the department, who was awarded the degree with distinction!


o                Ten students who received the degree BPolSci (International Studies).


Congratulations to those students who were awarded other degrees, such as BAdmin, BA Journalism and BA. Well done! We are proud of you. Best wishes for the future.


Students on the move


Ms Zani Naude accepted the position as Operations Co-Ordinator at ACCORD. Her message to our students:  “I am privileged to be an alumnus of the Department of Political Sciences. My studies in the Department provided me with the knowledge and skills needed to work in various arenas. The department’s staff continued to guide my personal development long after I graduated”


Ms Mokgadi Mabela (class of 2007) was awarded an internship in the International Relations Section of the Department of Housing where she is involved with co-ordinating and maintaining the Department’s multilateral and bilateral relations. She is particularly involved with South Africa’s assistance to other African countries in achieving MDG 7: achieving “significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers by 2020”.


We say goodbye to…


Ms Alida Kok who was responsible for our first year Afrikaans modules and who was involved in our EU framework 7 research programme. She did a sterling job and we will miss her, but support her decision and wish her the best of luck.


Study leave


Prof Anton du Plessis is currently on sabbatical and will return in July 2009.






Transitional arrangements – quarterly modules: Senior students must take note that from 2009 quarterly modules (e.g. IPL 356 or STL 351) will no longer be presented by this department and hence students will not be able to register for these modules. From 2009 the Department will only offer semester modules in Politics (PTO), International Relations (IPL) and Political Science (STL).


Monday 26 January 2009, 08:30 in HSB 3-15. Registration of senior  (non-first year) undergraduate  BPolSci students.


Please keep strictly to this date/time since no registration will be accepted or assistance provided before/after this date/time. Senior undergraduate students who do not attend this session will, thereafter, not be assisted with their registration by the package organisers (Prof Du Plessis and Mr Henwood). Latecomers have to report directly to and register through Faculty Administration.


BPolSci students (non-first years) may also register electronically through the UP website. Students who register electronically are not required to attend the scheduled registration session. However, should they require the assistance of the package organisers, this assistance will only be provided during the scheduled registration session and not before/after this session.


BAdmin (International Relations) students register in accordance with the instructions of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences (direct other academic enquiries to the programme manager: Mr Wolmarans).


·                Wednesday 28 January 2009: Commencement of first semester lectures.




Students who wish to apply for the Honours programme, need a minimum of 65% average in their 3rd year BPolSci major, e.g. in International Relations or in Political Sciences. More information is obtainable from the Department.


Tuesday 27 January 2009, 17:00 (HSB 21-4). First meeting of Honours students (who have been admitted to the honours programme by the Head of the Political Sciences Department).






Students who have completed their Honours degrees and who are interested in pursuing research based Masters studies, need an average of at least 65% for their Honours studies and have to apply for admission. Guidelines on masters studies and for the preparation of research proposals are obtainable from the secretary’s office (HSB 21-14). Please note that there will not be an intake of students for coursework Masters degrees (e.g. MDIPS & MSS) in 2009.


We trust that you have enjoyed this year and we wish all our students good luck with the end of year exams and a very happy and joyful festive season. We hope to see you back next year.


We hope that you found this newsletter informative and that you enjoyed reading it.

Any contributions to future newsletters or suggestions for improvement are welcome.

Please contact Ms Rentia Pretorius (012 420 2690 ) or [email protected]


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