Academics Present Research at National Global Change Conference

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UKZN Social Work academics Mr Bongane Mzinyane, Dr Thembelihle Makhanya, and Dr Mbongeni Sithole presented papers at the fifth National Global Change Conference held at the University of Free State.

The conference theme was: Research and Innovation Accelerating Transformations to Global Sustainability.

Makhanya and Mzinyane co-presented a paper titled: Mazibuyele Emasizweni: Maintaining Sustainable Livelihoods Through Ubuntu Philosophy, under the sub-theme of Resilient Cities and Communities.

Their paper focused on climate change as a universal challenge affecting every country, community, and individual, and suggested the need for collective participation and engagement of all communities. ‘The wider African society has been systematically excluded in the climate change discourse which is seen as a subject that is elitist and dominated by a Eurocentric value-approach. This emanates from the history of imperialism and colonialism which calls for decolonization,’ said Mzinyane.

The three academics spoke about Azibuyele Emasisweni, an isiZulu phrase that translates to ‘let us go back to the roots’. Said Makhanya: ‘Going back to the roots, on the discourse of climate change, means to appreciate the cultural acumen and values of all people including those who are at the grassroot levels. Ubuntu philosophy should be adopted.’ They called for the inclusion and active participation of different stakeholders in the climate change agenda, including African people and their indigenous values such as Ubuntu.

Sithole’s poster presentation was on the social entrepreneurial enterprise as a system to address the notion of African solutions to African Problems. The paper was presented under the subtheme: Business Adaptation to Global Change where the dichotomous economic system was discussed.

‘On the one hand, there are commercial, profit-generating entities, described as profit-driven, while on the one hand, there are not-for-profit enterprises, characterized by provision of charitable activities,’ said Sithole.

‘In contrast to traditional entrepreneurship, social entrepreneurship is viewed as a gaining momentum, value-laden, centripetal economic system that blends and taps into the strength of these two approaches.’

His paper advances the exploration of social entrepreneurial opportunities that strive to balance the business principles and maintenance of social well-being.

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