WOMAN EMPOWERMENT The Circle monument on the Rooiplein was one of the first major steps in the Visual Redress Policy. Photo: Erin Walls

Say yes to the SU Redress

BY CARLA VISAGIE

After the final draft of the Visual Redress Policy was granted approval at the Stellenbosch University (SU) Council meeting last year, various changes to the visual landscape will continue to happen through­out the year.

According to the Visual Re­dress Policy draft the “[the visual changes] will assist SU in its drive for transformation in and through visual redress”.

“The Visual Redress Policy will guide visual changes on SU cam­puses specifically through new art installations, the removal or con­textualisation of historically sensi­tive art and other symbols, campus signage, the naming and renaming of buildings, venues and other fa­cilities and premises, improving accessibility to facilities, and so forth,” the policy reads.

According to a joint response to Die Matie from Dr Leslie van Rooi, chair of the VR committee Senior Director: Social Impact and Transformation and prof Elmarie Constandius, senior lecturer at the Visual Arts department, “research shows that visual redress may pro­vide a means to attend to underly­ing, unspoken and unconscious ex­pressions of exclusion that remain in higher education institutions on South African campuses today”.

One of the new visual art installations will include a history lane artwork next to Wilgenhof on the corner of Victoria and Ryneveld street as, according to Van Rooi and Costandius, this location “connect the histories of the town on the one hand [and] with the university on the other hand”.

“The historical significance in­cludes the slavery history, the link between the town and the battle of Andringa Street as well as the link between the historic Vlakte and the university. A full public participa­tion process is foreseen in order for this initiative to be as inclusive and impactful as possible. Through the history lane, the history and cur­rent realities of campus (and town) will be depicted through the sto­ries and diversity of people across the history of the town. As indicat­ed in the budget, it is also the most expensive but impactful of the planned initiatives,” Van Rooi and Costandius told Die Matie.

The Rector’s Management Re­port to Council states that “sup­porting visual redress” falls under the “projects in support of strate­gic positioning”.

According to the Report “Sup­porting visual redress” along with “including building a value-driv­en culture, continued roll-out, monitoring and evaluation of our vision and strategy, developing an overarching brand positioning strategy, redeveloping the corpo­rate website [and] strengthening public relations and communica­tion” have a joint budget of R66,4 million.

According to Van Rooi and Co­standius some of the buildings that will be named or renamed in 2020 include “the Wilcocks Building and residence dining halls (Huis Visser, Dagbreek, Simonsberg and Goldfields)”.

“This process [of naming and renaming] has as outcome engage­ment regarding the history behind names of buildings as well as their current relevance in such a way that it will allow the SU commu­nity to understand, engage with and remember the history behind building names and to, where nec­essary, apply for building names to be changed.”Other initiatives include remembrance scheduled for public participation this year with final implementation next year, include Die Vlakte walkway and garden.

The remembrance garden at the Ryneveld/Merriman intersection will highlight the history of Die Vlakte through an art installation as well as through boards and signs in the historic old commu­nity, showcasing pictures of the community over periods (starting in 1930).

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