Come and experience racial differences through the eye of technology

Belinda Bantham -- Mon, 04/15/2019 - 08:05

Come and experience racial differences through the eye of technology

The North-West University recently launched an initiative to put racial differences among staff and students under the spotlight and to emphasise the importance of understanding these differences.

Organisers of the event feel that confronting race at a South African university involves studying the relationship between race and educational opportunity; facing it, taking responsibility for it and understanding the implication of race for our instruction, research and community engagement.

 “Confronting race at a university involves disrupting and rethinking the existing academic rituals that can inadvertently cause (de)segregation – even while it is investigating the evolution of race. This is achieved by opening up multi-vocal spaces in order to facilitate epistemological plurality,” Prof Pamela Maseko and Dr Andre Goodrich say.

The Faculty of Health Sciences welcomed this initiative and mobilised their staff on all three campuses to give it further momentum.

According to Dr Herman Myburgh, project leader, they will complement the initiative with a virtual-reality video that emphasises racial differences. This video will be available on all three campuses so that students can come and experience this technologically advanced environment. “We made a video that offers a psychological angle on the theme of ‘colour blindness’. In modern South African society all races are categorised as equal; not to see colour; to be colour blind, as it were. The problem when one does not see colour, is that a part of a person’s identity is removed. Doing this is in itself a form of racism. We say: we see colour! Talk about colour. Learn from each other about why a certain race group deals with certain situations in a different way. Suppressing this is like an abscess that just becomes worse until it erupts. As soon as we learn more about each other’s cultural differences, we will understand each other better and automatically make an enormous contribution to further eradicating racism,” says Dr Myburgh.

The virtual-reality video campaign will be rolled out on all three campuses from 15 to 19 April and students and staff are invited to visit the following central points on the campuses:

  • Mafikeng Campus: at the Great Hall
  • Potchefstroom Campus: in Lover’s Lane
  • Vaal Triangle Campus: in the Library

Dr Herman Myburgh can be contacted at herman.myburgh@nwu.ac.za for further enquiries.