Graduation, December 2011

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New Masters and Doctoral researchAt a Stellenbosch University Graduation Ceremony that took place on Wednesday 7 December at 17h30, 36 BPhil students, 6 Mphil students and 1 Phd student formally graduated. They were amongst the nearly 700 students who graduated from the Faculty of Economic and Management Science on that day. But they were noticed by all because they clapped, shouted and whistled as each one walked up to the stage to be capped by the Chancellor, Johan Rupert. The Masters and Phd students have courageously explored new and challenging questions in the wider sustainability field.

Most of the Bphils that graduated have applied for the Mphil in 2012. As part of the preparations for this, they listened to presentations by the Mphil students who have completed the research journey the Bphils are about the start. During these presentations over two days (5-6 December 2011), the Mphil students presented research on a wide variety of topics and deployed a range of qualitative and quantitative methods. Below is a list of names of the Mphil students who graduated and the titles of their respective theses (with hyperlinks on the SI website where the theses can be downloaded):
* Walter Fieuw: Informal Settlement Upgrading in Cape Town’s Hangberg: Local Government, Urban Governance and the ‘Right to the City’.
* Rebecca Freeth: Just Facilitation: Facilitating Sustainable Social Change in Contexts of Injustice.
* Helen Lockhart: Spirituality and Nature in the Transformation to a More Sustainable World: Perspectives of South African Change Agents.
* Hlombe Makuluma: A Case Study from a Gold Mining Company: A Call for Leadership Towards More Sustainable Futures.
* Eunince Ndeke: A critical review fo the development of sustainability indicators for the city of Cape Town: A focus on environmental and socio-economic sustainability.
* Tim Ewart: Acid Mine Drainage in the Gauteng Province of South Africa: a phenomenological study on the degree of alignment between stakeholders concerning a sustainable solution to acid mine drainage.

Vuyo Mahlati’s Phd is entitled Establishing Viable and Sustainable Rural Economic Development Programmes in a Competitive Global Economy: Analysis of Marula Commercialisation in South Africa. The following synopsis of this Phd was printed in the graduation ceremony programme: “Rural poverty seems to get worse despite escalating expenditures on rural development. The problem is that rural development is regarded as a welfare function rather than an economic opportunity. Based on a detailed critique of existing theories of rural development, a transdisciplinary case study of the marula value chain is used to conceptualize an alternative theory of rural development. It is concluded that rural households engaged in marula cultivation could gain a much larger share of the value chain if they could access appropriate funding and institutional support. The result would be rural economic development that links global and local markets.”