We are creating giants | Sikhulisa iinganga | Ons skep reuse
Standing on the shoulders of giants in scholarship means giving due credit to those whose work we build upon. Raising giants means giving due credit to those in our ranks, often mistaken as mere graduate or postgraduate students. They are future giants; they are CPUT.
Higher education and any form of further study requires an understanding and acknowledgement of what, and sometimes who, has gone before. As students we are introduced to a canon of authors that have contributed to whatever field of study we pursue. We may or may not agree with their words, but acknowledge them we must. We learn the rigours of academic research – that of searching effectively, making astute evaluations and integrating the work and words of those who have gone before. Oftentimes our endeavours are plagued by fears of plagiarising and so we learn to cite and give credit where it is due.
Yet, with all our focus on giving due acknowledgement to scholarly giants, we seldom acknowledge the giants being raised among us or their gigantic efforts. This week, however, apart from ushering in CPUT’s SMART Graduation, we also wish to acknowledge and celebrate that we are raising giants.
The postgraduate students featured in our celebration are giants not simply because they have proven their mettle as academics. We are celebrating them because their academic achievements are often in spite of AND because of their multilingualism. As an institution based in a country with 11 official languages, and based on a continent with an estimated 2000 languages, it goes without saying that the majority of CPUT students are polyglots. In fact, for many if not most of our postgraduate students English is neither a first or a favourite language. Whether arranged in numerical order (first, second, third, etc.) or in order of comfort (home, mother, community), English seldom appears at the front of the queue. And still our students, ahem, our giants succeed.
As CPUT’s Language Working Group (LWG), we reached out to postgraduate students within each of our faculties to share experiences of becoming giants. They share the focus of their research in multilingual videos, which you can find here (links to youtube videos uploaded onto the CPUT channel). And their stories of overcoming and becoming giants can be found here (links to posts on our Language Unit blog).
We are CPUT!