The meeting was initiated and coordinated by senior UKZN academic Professor Maheshvari Naidu.
‘We identified the University of Botswana (UB) as it was a good fit with the transformation vision of the School of Social Sciences,’ said Naidu.
The task team, led by Dean and Head of the School of Social Sciences (acting) Professor Vivian Ojong, comprised Academic Leader for Research Professor Maheshvari Naidu, Culture Cluster Leader Dr Christina Kgari-Masondo, and School Manager Mr Sifiso Zulu.
‘It was important for us to connect with a strong African university also wanting to broker a mutual partnership,’ said Ojong. ‘We have a dynamic cohort of staff and students and we are keen to create further opportunities for them.’
The group, hosted by UB’s Dean of Humanities, Professor Andy Chebanne, were treated to a tour of several iconic points on the campus, including the new state of the art hospital, a resource building and a library. They met with several Botswana colleagues from the Faculty of Social Sciences and the Faculty of Humanities. Staff from both universities discussed various possibilities of staff and student intellectual exchange and mobility as well as a potential inter-institutional project.
After a courtesy call to the office of the vice-chancellor, the UKZN team also met with the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs) and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Finance and Administration).
A memorandum of agreement (MoU) between the two institutions will be finalised in the next few weeks.
To kick-start the collaboration, three senior staff from the University of Botswana will travel to UKZN to participate in seminars at the School of Sciences staff while students will visit as part of the School’s Talk Series in November.
There are also plans for School of Social Sciences PhD students to be hosted by UB for a three-day Methodology and Indigenous African Theory Workshop with PhD students.
The UKZN task team was unanimous in their appreciation of the warmth extended by UB and the enthusiasm for the partnership.