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Media invite by Alan Khan, Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at the Durban University of Technology

Media invite by Alan Khan, Senior Director of Corporate Affairs at the Durban University of Technology


In celebrating the 37th anniversary of the death of Stephen Bantu Biko, the Durban University of Technology, Steve Biko Foundation and Umtapo will host the Steve Biko National Conference 2014 under the theme: Still Confronting Challenges to Nation-Building.

The conference will be held at the DUT Hotel School, Ritson Campus, tomorrow (Wednesday, 17 September 2014). Biko, a dynamic activist and founder of the Black Consciousness Movement, died on 12 September 1977 at the age of 30. The conference will host four speakers, who will each address subjects which were close to Biko’s heart.

Professor Sathasivan Cooper: Addressing racism, tribalism in SA: Is One Nation in One Azania a myth?

Professor Sathasivan Cooper is the President of the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS), Montreal, Canada. He is Vice President of the International Social Council. A graduate of the University of South Africa (Unisa) and Witwatersrand University (Wits), Prof Cooper obtained his PhD in Clinical/Community Psychology as a Fulbright Scholar at Boston University (BU), Boston, Massachusetts, in 1989. Prof Cooper has also taught at the University of the Western Cape, where he supervised doctoral graduates who are now internationally recognised leaders in their fields. He continues to present papers, workshops and talks extensively in South Africa (SA) and abroad, having been published in SA and overseas.

Prof Copper played a key role in the anti-apartheid struggle and worked closely with the late Biko. He was the Executive Director of The Family Institute (1992-1995) that established the first national toll-free 24/7 multilingual (violence) helpline. Prof Cooper serves on various boards of community, corporate, professional and scientific entities in South Africa and abroad. A Clinical Psychologist for over 25 years, Prof Cooper was the last Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the then University of Durban-Westville (now UKZN) and works in the health, education and training sectors.

Crispin Hemson: Education and morality in present-day SA: The challenges to nation-building

Crispin Hemson is the Director of the DUT based International Centre of Nonviolence (ICON). ICON’s mission is to create and nurture, through a range of initiatives such as education, a culture of nonviolence.The organisation works with young people in schools and also designs new modules in General Education at DUT. Hemson was a member of the University of Natal (Durban) SRC during the time Steve Biko also served as a member of the then University of Natal Non-European SRC.

Hemson’s work has always been in the area of education. He worked in adult education at then University of Natal (now UKZN), where he was Head of the School of Education from 2001 to 2003. He is an Honorary Senior Lecturer at UKZN. His current work largely focuses on how education either reproduces violence or becomes a space within which people create relationships that are not based on domination and violence. Hemson is also active in environmental work and chairs the Durban branch of the Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa(WESSA).

Veli Mbele: Biko and the quest for true humanity: Does BC still have a role in nation-building and the future of the country?

Veli Mbele is a Black Consciousness activist, essayist and political commentator. From his early teenage years, he held various leadership positions in childrens’ rights, cultural and educational bodies. At Tshireleco High, in his home town of Galeshewe (Kimberley), Mbele held a leadership role as a pupil. At the then Peninsula Technikon (now Cape Peninsula University of Technology), he went on to serve as Deputy President of the SRC. He also served as a student representative on the University’s Council and also led the tertiary and youth wings of AZAPO as national President.

Liepollo Lebohang Pheko: The need for humane and ethical guiding framework for true nation-building?

Liepollo Lebohang Pheko is a social activist, policy analyst, social entrepreneur and commentator. She has wide experience in the public sector and non-profit sectors as well as in development consultancy.

Pheko serves as the Executive Director of Trade Collective, a progressive research and advocacy think tank which explores economic and social development issues and international trade agreements. Pheko has participated at several international conferences, including as leader of the delegation to the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong, World Bank meetings, UN meetings, SADC meetings and has addressed the European Parliament twice. She is rooted in the local and international social justice movement. Pheko is considered to be a leading exponent on trade agreements and policy across Africa, having conducted impact studies for SADC and the EU to assess trade impact on employment patterns, wealth distribution and local sectors. In 2009, she was listed by the Mail & Guardian as one of the 300 outstanding leaders across sectors.

The details of the conference are as follows:
Date: Wednesday, 17 September 2014
Time: 09h00 am to 14h30
Venue: DUT’s Hotel School, Ritson Campus on Wednesday, 17 September 2014
RSVP: by no later then 16h30, Tuesday, 16 September 2014