On 27 March, the inaugural Sonja Verwey Memorial Lecture was held in the Nadine Gordimer Auditorium at the APK Library. The successful event organized by Prof Rene Benecke from the Department of Strategic Communication and the team, was the first of many years of celebrating strategic communication and our own thought leaders, the late Prof Sonja Verwey and Prof Nina Overton-de Klerk. Prof de Klerk was the keynote speaker and reflected on the seminal article she and Prof Verwey wrote in 2013 titled “Towards an emerging paradigm of strategic communication: core driving forces”.
In her presentation, Prof de Klerk asked the critical question, “…what if we change our paradigmatic views from either/or modernism and postmodernism TO an and-and approach”? This statement introduces the need to view Strategic Communication as a non-linear, complex and contextual discipline. She further referred to the role radical reasoning can play in understanding individual contributions to African thought and knowledge as well as the need for a transdisciplinary mindset.
Her message to academics and researchers were, “do not discard what we have, invest in transdisciplinary research, and respect what we know as well as what we don’t know”.
Left to Right: prof Marlene Wiggill (Strategic Communication Department, Lund University; Ms Thabisile Phumo, Sibanye Stillwater; Dr Karabo Sitto-Kaunda, Strategic Communication Department, UJ; Prof Nina de Klerk, keynote speaker and Emeritus Professor, UJ; Mr Sylvester Chauke, MC & Chief Architect at DNA Architects.
Her parting message to Strategic Communication practitioners was “steer through complexity, push beyond hierarchy of bosses, invest in human capital, and become intentional about culture (which is the only sustainable advantage)”.
A panel of respondents included Prof Marlene Wiggill (Department of Strategic Communication at Lund University, Sweden), Thabisile Phumo (Executive Vice President: Stakeholder Relations, Sibanye Stillwater), Dr Karabo Sitto-Kaunda (Senior Lecturer: Department of Strategic Communication UJ).
Mr Sylvester Chauke, alumnus and Chief Architect at DNA Brand Architects was the MC at the event. He reflected on the phenomenal role late Prof Verwey played in his studies and development as a Strategic Communication professional.
By Prof Rene Benecke
Edited by Ms Regaogetswe Mashigo