CPUT’s Civic Engagement Unit recently hosted an international delegation from the Ubuntu Global Network which is spearheaded by former CPUT Acting Vice-Chancellor Dr John Volmink.
The Ubuntu Global Network gathers together organisations and social-minded projects that use the Ubuntu philosophy as core values to guide their work. The network has chapters all over the globe including Mozambique, Portugal, USA and South Africa.
During its second conference recently, the group visited two CPUT Service-Learning projects co-ordinated by Desmond Jackson, and lecturers Eric Simpeh and Walter Kohlhofer from CPUT.
The first was the aquaponics project at the Tehillah Community Collaborative in Elsies River and the second visit was to a sandbag special needs classroom being built at the Balvenie Primary School.
Acting Director of the Centre for Community Engagement and Work Integrated Learning, Jacqui Scheepers says she selected those projects to highlight the social responsibility of universities like CPUT.
“It was very inspiring to engage with like-minded individuals on the philosophy of Ubuntu. Our students, staff and communities brought immense value to the conference and has strengthened our commitment to embrace Ubuntu in our university and in our everyday lives,” she says.
The community site visits were followed by a formal session at the Cape Town Hotel School where Kevin Chaplain from the Amy Foundation (formerly Amy Biehl Foundation) and Charles Harris from the Provincial Department of Social Development provided their perspective on how they incorporate ubuntu into their work.
Ubuntu Global Network’s Rui Marques says the trip was eye opening, inspirational and gave participants a lot to think about when they returned to their respective countries.
“The world needs Ubuntu, we are here to spread this uniquely South African concept around the world,” he says.
Volmink says the Ubuntu Global Network aspires to create a world which is kinder, gentler and more united.
“It is about engaging beyond yourself and investing in a belief that things can get better,” he says.