NWU celebrates Race Awareness Week

Race Awareness Week (RAW) is a week-long annual event at the North-West University (NWU), dedicated to raising awareness on the current discussions around race in South African society. The goal is to open discussions on history, current events and how we can progress in the future. This is done to create awareness on current debates around race and to stimulate impactful changes by building empathy and progress in our communities.

This year’s event was hosted by the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and included critical conversations as well as a poetry competition. Click here to watch the poetry contributions made by NWU staff and students.

"We had more than 1 500 people that registered for events, attended the live sessions, wrote and voted for the poetry competition and joined the eFundi site,” says Michelle Groenewald, lecturer at the School of Economic Sciences and RAW coordinator for 2021.

“Attendance has been amazing this year, especially considering the busy academic calendar and the limitations that some students sometimes experience in terms of connectivity.”

Throughout the week, a variety of speaker workshops and discussions on various topics centering on themes of race, the economy, intersectionality and history took place.

Michelle also mentions that Race Awareness Week is an opportunity to reflect on how race and the economy intersect with one another in a continual process – one that must extend beyond this week.

“RAW 2021 proved the significant role of having uncomfortable conversations in building solidarity and commitment towards redress. Still, the annual event is not enough, we need ongoing concerted efforts to build the community we want,” says Sysman Motloung, a member of the RAW 2021 organising committee and political sciences lecturer at the NWU.

For anyone who is interested in reading more about some of the topics discussed during RAW 2021, please do visit the university libraries for books relating to questions on Black Tax, how to be an anti-racist, and the role of white people in South Africa.

According to Dr Precious Mncayi, a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences and one of the two facilitators of the session "Ilobolo round table discussion: economics and your lived reality", the greatest success was seeing all NWU students and staff overlook their differences and come together to confront the elephant in the room – race.

She also mentions how she has no doubt that we will all continue to create a NWU that belongs to everyone.

Kebitsamang Sere, an economics lecturer and member of the RAW 2021 organising committee, says that we all need to realise the level of our power, and the implications that different races have in society because this determine our decisions for tomorrow.

Prof Robert Balfour, deputy vice-chancellor for teaching and learning, says Race Awareness Week at the NWU was a distinctive cross-curricular opportunity to listen to a series of presentations, to participate in panel discussions and to contribute to creative production opportunities offered by a cross-section of academics and experts within and beyond the NWU.

Click here  to read Prof Balfour's full written piece.


Submitted by BELINDA BANTHAM on Tue, 05/18/2021 - 12:52