Reflections on struggles, stories and our celebrations

19 Dec 2023
Deanery group
19 Dec 2023

Dear Staff and Student Colleagues  We come to the end of another year! A year in which so many of our celebrations have been touched in some way by our struggles. I've become more acutely aware of our different stories. I recognise the pressure that is experienced, the vulnerability that we create when we take positions that may be popular and justified, and that we don't always offer spaces for those who are in the minority to express themselves. As an academic institution, we are called to hold in safety multiple positions. Mariam Karjiker offered me a heuristic for engagement which offers the possibility for empathic discourse. She invited me to talk with clarity, and with kindness in the anticipation which hope brings. I offer you this framing for courageous conversations which may allow those who feel vulnerable to hear you in ways that are not threatening. I am on leave for a couple of weeks and looking forward to the break. I am educated by my encounters with people across the faculty. Three things I learn especially:

  • ​The importance of story. Hearing stories of the origins of people’s names. The young man who travels, often alone, by car for 16 hours to his home in the Eastern Cape. The young man who has been cleaning in our faculty these past 8 months and who does not know who I am, and the security colleague who tells him I am the ‘big boss’. I chuckle wryly at this suggestion. 
  • Sawubona. I see you. I see you in the multiple contributions across the faculty. The reality that all that you as individuals do, whether you think it is important or not, matters to who we as a faculty are becoming. I saw it again at the ceremony of oath-taking with the graduate qualifiers.
  • Umunutu ngumuntu ngabantu. A student of mine has characterised this idea of being as ‘You are, therefore, I am’. It is a wonderful way of reminding me of our interdependence.

​I wish you a restful time. I wish you the renewal that rest brings. I wish your rest happens in the company of those who keep you safe.

Before I sign off, please take time to reflect on some of the year's Faculty highlights below:

Highlights of 2023 video

Highlights of 2023 video

'2023 at a glance' website page

2023 at a glance web slide

Kaise ke gangans Associate Professor Lionel Green-Thompson Dean: Faculty of Health Sciences