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            Converging in service of society

            One of the first fruits of the new Engagement and Transformation Portfolio (ETP) established in
            2020 is the Hubs of Convergence, which are rooted in the University’s desire to serve a larger
            social purpose. Falling under the Engagement Office of the ETP, there are six hubs that aim to
            bring to life key strategic objectives. The hope is that they will become a collaborative, multi-
            stakeholder space of exploration to position and reposition the engagement and transformation
            interface of Nelson Mandela University. Gillian McAinsh explores a few of the numerous hub

               Taking a stand against

               gender-based violence

                  ub Three of the Hubs of     experience of many women in South
                  Convergence focuses on      Africa today.
            Hgender-based violence (GBV),        Another pillar to fight this
            with Mandela University prioritising   scourge is the GBV Forum. This
            numerous initiatives that send out a   grouping of 10 stakeholders brings
            strong message against GBV.       together the University’s HIV Unit
               The University considers gender   and Transformation Office, along
            justice a vital area to focus on, as   with local non-governmental and
            the country has disturbingly high   community-based organisations
            rates of GBV – one of the highest   focused on various aspects of GBV.
            in the world. Given that women       The forum aims to foster
            constitute 59% of all students at   collaboration between members,
            public higher education institutions   build a network for understanding

            in South Africa, urgent and dedicated   each other’s work, and provide   Urban farming
            efforts to address sexual and gender-  a supportive environment for
            based violence are needed.        organisational development.       for sustainable food
               Against this backdrop, it is      The GBV forum also puts in place   production
            significant to report that Professor   various advocacy and awareness
            Pumla Dineo Gqola from the Centre   interventions over the national 16
            for Women and Gender Studies      days of activism in November and
            has won the 2022 Humanities and   December.
            Social Sciences Book Award: Best     Anti-GBV and related areas
            Monograph in Non-fiction for her   which are supported through the
            2021 book, Female Fear Factory.   University’s new online giving portal
                Female Fear Factory builds on   include:
            the concept of how patriarchal fear
            is produced publicly in order to   •  GBV, HIV and mental health
            maintain compliance for GBV.        awareness campaigns
               Prof Gqola is also the University’s   •  Support for health professionals,
            SARChI Chair on African Feminist    caretakers and community leaders
            Imaginations. Researching gender   •  Empowerment programmes
            issues such as power and patriarchy,   and initiatives driven towards
            the Chair generates research of     children, women, men and queer
            immense significance to the lived   communities.

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