Students participate in thought-provoking debate
Robust talks on Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS), Culture and Science were discussed during the recently held student debate event in celebration of cultural diversity KwaDlangezwa campus.
The event was in response to the call from UNIZULU’s Transformation Office which drives and promotes transformation between staff and students on issues such as gender equality and social cohesion.
The Faculty of Science and Agriculture responded with its students from the Department of Nursing Science and Computer Science who volunteered to participate in a faculty debate. Students from the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Arts participated as the audience.
Themed: Is culture related to science. There students from the nursing science (proposition team) argued that culture is related to science and their counterparts the computer science students (opposition) argued that culture is not related to science. Both sides provided arguments that were aligned with their studies as a reference either for or against the topic.
Debaters from the Department of Nursing Science, Nkosingiphile Khuzwayo, and Nduduzo Mayisa both agree that, although the debate was highly informative and engaging, it had its challenges. Khuzwayo was part of the opposing team with student representatives from the department of computer science.
“This debate was not formal, our facilitator, Dr Nozipho Motsa (from the Department of Agriculture) posed questions to team members that, we weren’t prepared for. We had to collectively configure a response in a short space of time. Our argument was easier to construct when we aligned it with our studies and broader knowledge to respond effectively,’ said Mayisa, former 2018/2019 chairperson for the nursing science student association.
The event included inter-related activities such as public speeches from guest speakers; the Faculty of Arts Dean Professor Mogomme Masoga a specialist in IKS education and community activist Fakazile Mthethwa (Gogo Qho) an expert medicinal and indigenous food knowledge.
According to the organiser and lecturer from the Department of Nursing Science, Dr Ntombizodwa Linda, the aim of the event was not only to encourage acceptance and understanding of diverse South African cultures within the University but also aimed to also promote self-confidence, critical thinking, student engagement and consideration of other people’s perspective. In particular, celebrating of cultural diversity afforded students a well-deserved opportunity to engaged with important question of existence. This was evident during cross questioning as each part argued their stand on whether not a relation exists between culture and science.
Student representatives from the Department of Computer Science Nokwewthemba Mngomezulu and Mthobisi Mwandla felt that this experience taught them how to construct their views and to defend these views without disrespecting the opponent. “Our plan throughout the debate was to place culture in a subservient role compared to science. We defined what science is, that it’s a study of things and factual so, we painted culture as exact opposite not a dependable source of data. This contributed to winning the debate”, said Mthobisi Mwandla.
It was a collaborated effort through which lecturers from different departments work harmonious to achieve one goal of making students debate a successful. The debate was adjudicated by Dr Mondli Miya from the Department of Nursing Science, Dr Linda Linganiso from the Department of Chemistry and Dr Kate Ndwandwe from the Department of Consumer Sciences.
The student debaters received prizes for participating and all can’t wait for the next departmental debate next year.