IEE Newsletter No. 31

News South African-German Centre for Development Research

Britta Niklas reports on the start of new scholarship holders at the South African-German Center for Development Research and on the new Call for scholarship applications

Ruth Knoblich reports on the German university delegation visit in March 2020, on the Kick-off Meeting of DigiFace, and on online teaching at the SA-GER CDR

Two new scholarship holders started at the SA-GER CDR

In 2020, two new scholarship holders commenced their studies at the South African-German Centre for Development Research! Out of about 500 applicants, the selection committee chose Kenechukwu Ikebuarko from Nigeria for the PhD in Development Studies, and Eric Nordjo from Ghana for the MA in Public Administration. Both were welcomed by the SA-GER CDR Coordinator at UWC, Freda Philander.

New scholarship holders
From left to right: Eric Nordjo, Freda Philander and Kene Ikebuako

New call for scholarship applications at the SA-GER CDR

There is a new call for applications for Master and PhD scholarships at the SA-GER CDR for the 2021 intake (starting in January). The deadline for applications is the 20th June 2020. All applications must be submitted via an online application platform. More information on the current call can be found on the SA-GER CDR website.

NiklasBritta Niklas
Coordinator CDR
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: +49 (0)234 / 32-25148
Fax: +49 (0)234 / 32-14294

DAAD’s Secretary General Dr. Dorothea Rüland, RUB’s Rector Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich and Chancellor Dr. Christina Reinhardt visited the South African-German Centre for Development Research in March 2020

In early 2020, South Africa has welcomed and hosted the '27th Delegation Visit for Leaders of German Higher Education Management', organized by the International DAAD Academy. In the second week of March, 20 Presidents, Vice Chancellors and Registrars from German universities visited South African higher education and research institutions, ministries and the National Research Foundation (NRF) as well as German partner institutions such as political foundations or the German Agency for International Cooperation GIZ. During the meetings delegates received in depth insights into the South African higher education system as well as into current research focal points of the respective institutions, and were able to directly reach out for potential further cooperation partners. The delegation was accompanied by the Secretary General of the DAAD, Dr. Dorothea Rüland, and Lena von Eichborn, Head of the International DAAD Academy.

On March 12, the delegation visited the University of the Western Cape. Umesh Prawa, Head of the university’s International Relation Office, was responsible for the visit and led the programme, supported by his team and further colleagues. After a profoundly informative input by different UWC Departments, led by UWC Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Vivienne Lawack, hosts and guests were able to network during a fingerfood-lunch.

Ruth UWC visit 01  Ruth UWC visit 02
Left photo: Delegates on their way to the meeting on UWC campus.
Right photo: First part of the meeting, led by UWC Deputy Vice Chancellor Prof. Vivienne Lawack

After the break, Ruth Knoblich, the Centre's new DAAD Lecturer in Development Research, presented basic facts and figures about the DAAD South African-German Centre for Development Research. Her presentation led to a lively round-table talk about the Centre’s character and activities by colleagues, alumni and current students: Prof. Julian May, Director of the NRF-DST Centre of Excellence in Food Security at UWC, Director of the Institute for Social Development and one of the four Steering Committee members of the South African-German Centre of Development Research: Dr. Razack Karriem (Acting Director of the Institute for Social Development), Prof. Mulugeta Dinbabo, Dr. Coretta Jonah, Dr. Martina Lembani, Melisa Dlamini, Langton Moyo, Tamara Kaschek and Kumbula Xego.

For the Centre, it was a particular highlight to meet RUB’s Rector, Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich; and Chancellor, Dr. Christina Reinhardt who were part of the delegation, together with the Secretary General of the DAAD, Dr. Dorothea Rüland.

Ruth UWC visit 03From left to right – back row: Dr. Razack Karriem, Melisa, Dlamini, Kumbula Xego, Dr. Coretta Jonah, Tamara Kaschek, Dr. Christina Reinhardt, Prof. Julian May, Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich, Ruth Knoblich, Dr. Dorothea Rüland; from left to right – front row: Dr. Martina Lembani, Prof. Mulugeta Dinbabo, Langton Moyo.

Ruth UWC visit 04Meeting with the heads of the Ruhr-University Bochum Chancellor Dr. Christina Reinhardt and Rector Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich; behind: Prof. Julian May, Director of the NRF-DST Centre of Excellence in Food Security at UWC, Director of the ISD and one of the four Steering Committee members of the SA-GER CDR and Ruth Knoblich, DAAD Lecturer of Development Research at SA-GER CDR

A historical campus-walk formed the last part of the UWC visit. Prof. Premesh Lalu, Director of the DST-NRF Centre for Humanities Research at UWC, offered impressive insights into the university’s history and its role during apartheid’s times.

Ruth UWC visit 05

Prof. Premesh Lalu guiding the delegation through the University of the Western Cape-Robben Island Mayibuye Archives housed in the main library at the UWC; in the middle: RUB’s Rector Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich next to Dr. Lisette Andreae, Counsellor, Head of Education, Science, Research and Technology, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Pretoria”

Ruth UWC visit 06Delegation in the UWC- Robben Island Mayibuye Archives; left: Umesh Prawa, Head of IRO at UWC, in front: RUB’s Rector Prof. Dr. Axel Schölmerich

Ruth UWC visit 07Delegation in front of the Malangatana mural inside of the UWC library, in the middle: Prof. Premesh Lalu; at the very right: Prof. John-Mark Iyi, Faculty of Law

Ruth UWC visit 08Group picture on UWC campus; last row right: Jaco Herbst and Dr. Anja Hallacker from the DAAD Information Centre Johannesburg; last row left: Lena von Eichborn, Head of the International DAAD Academy

The delegates later emphasized how much they enjoyed their time at UWC after participating in such a multifaceted programme. They particularly underlined how much they were impressed by the university’s spirit and engagement, and that they were able to set up new contacts for further cooperation. For the Centre, it was a very special moment of making its networks visible: its network between former and current students, between colleagues from all institutions involved, between the leading level of UWC, RUB, and the DAAD as the Centre’s funding organization.

Digitalization-Kick-off: New Digital Infrastructure for the Network of the DAAD Centres of Excellence

From March 3 - 6, 2020, the Kick-off Meeting of the new digitalization project, DigiFace, took place at Nelson Mandela University in Port Elizabeth. DigiFace – short for "Digital Initiative for African Centres of Excellence" – is a new project funded by DAAD that aims at supporting and facilitating higher education learning and research at all DAAD African Centres of Excellence. DigiFace is setting-up tools and facilities for digital learning and knowledge exchange with the help of a central interactive digital platform. The project is going to strengthen the Centres’ digital learning, teaching and research competencies as well as the networking among all the Centres – between all institutions involved, between staff, students, and alumni.

Ruth digi face 01
Above and below: Group fotos of all participants from 10 Centres of Excellence
Ruth digi face 02

The Kick-off meeting was the official starting-point of the new project. Delegates from all 10 of the currently participating Centres, as well as from the Centres’ Alumni Network, gathered in order to exchange on the current statuses of digital infrastructure, needs and expectations with regard to such an all comprising new digital network, opportunities and challenges for its implementation, as well as on the next steps to go.

Ruth digi face 03The South African-German Centre for Development Research (SA-GER CDR) was represented by Lance Scheepers (Information Systems ISD), Enayat Hamza (Programme Manager: Training and Consultancy at the SoG), and Ruth Knoblich (DAAD Lecturer in Development Research at the SA-GER CDR).

Online-Teaching at the South African-German Centre for Development Research at the University of the Western Cape

Since March 27, South Africa has been under lockdown due to the global Corona pandemic. The South African government reacted quickly and consistently after the first cases of Covid-19 infections had been registered. While lockdown in the first 5 weeks meant a strict curfew, the country is now on level 4 of a 5-level lockdown or restriction plan to curtail the spread of the virus. More information on Covid in South Africa can be found here: and here:

The lockdown at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) has sparked a transformation of face-to-face teaching activities into online formats like all higher education institutions in South Africa and many parts of the world. The University thus carefully considered how to develop and design online structures so that an increase of already existing inequalities among students can be avoided. In the case of the South African-German Centre for Development Research, it was the Faculty of Economic and Management Science that carried out online access surveys with its students. These surveys were furthermore substantiated by questionnaires from the respective institutes: the Institute for Social Development (ISD) and the School of Government (SoG). The ISD, for example, was able to set up a list of all students, providing detailed information about available digital resources and equipment, internet connectivity, and their financial capacity to cover additional data costs. Four of the main South African ICT companies agreed to provide zero-rated internet access to all UWC university platforms. Parallel to that, the UWC put in place specific financial aid schemes to support students and developed substantial subvention by providing electronic hardware.

When teaching resumed on March 20, lecturers and staff at the ISD/UWC were happy and encouraged to see that the numbers of students attending the courses was equivalent to face-to-face teaching sessions, if not even higher. All classwork is recorded and provided to all students via the UWC e-learning platform, iKamva, after each session, together with further supporting information. Additional contact channels such as messenger systems further help to keep the social distance between lecturers and students, while maintaining an active learning environment.

Knoblich1Ruth Knoblich
DAAD Lecturer in Development Research
at the SA-GER CDR

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