IEE Newsletter No. 32

News - South African-German Centre for Development Research

Ruth Knoblich gives us an update on the UWC/SA-GER CDR and lockdown under COVID-19

Britta Niklas reports on new scholarship holders for the 2021 cohort and a new graduate at the SA-GER CDR

Dr. Gabriele Bäcker tells us about new scholarships for mobility between RUB and UWC

Winnie Sambu gives us an update on the African Excellence Network website

Update on the UWC/SA-GER CDR and Lockdown under COVID-19

When the UWC campus closed by the middle of March 2020, no one anticipated that COVID-19 and the lockdown would affect all operating structures for so long. Today, more than six months later, South Africa has overcome the peak of the spread of the virus, the numbers of infections are dropping, and the country is slowly lowering the level of lockdown restrictions. The return of campus life, however, still remains uncertain.

Knoblich 01

So far, it is set and clear that online teaching will continue at least until the end of the year. We currently also presume that most staff members will not return to campus before next year. As a first step, small groups of students are most likely to regain access to the residencies within the next weeks. Many students are struggling with unstable digital infrastructure and a lack of digital resources. A return to campus would provide them with proper working conditions again and support them in successfully finishing the academic year. Following its ‘leave no student behind’ policy, the UWC has set up a step-by-step plan to refill the residencies and to open up public working spaces on campus in a way where strong safety measures will still apply. A final decision, however, on when exactly these first inches of campus life are going to take off again is still pending.

Thanks to online teaching activities, the UWC was able to continue with the curriculum of the academic year as originally scheduled. The teaching and the exam period of the second semester will terminate, as usual, by December. However, the 2020 academic year will be extended into the first quarter of next year. The main reason for this revision is that due to the lockdown, high school graduations within the country had to be postponed, resulting in the situation that first year students are only able to access universities from March onwards. Furthermore, January and February will serve as a buffer period in which university students will have the opportunity to repeat assessments that they might not have been able to pass during the lockdown earlier on. According to current schedules, the 2021 academic year will start on March 7, 2021.

Cape Town, September 2020.

Knoblich1Ruth Knoblich
DAAD Lecturer in Development Research
at the SA-GER CDR


New Scholarship Holders Selected for the 2021 Cohort

For the 2021 cohort, the selection committee of the South African-German Centre for Development Research (SA-GER CDR) has selected 2 Master Students and 1 PhD Student out of 222 Master and 205 PhD applications. The number of applications for DAAD scholarships remained more or less stable despite of the uncertainties caused by the Corona crisis.

For the PhD in Development Studies, Olutomiwa Binuyo from Nigeria was selected for a scholarship of 3 years. For the Master in Public Administration, Hileleule Tesfaye from Ethiopia and Boitumelo Mngomezulu from South Africa were selected. Both will receive a DAAD scholarship of 2 years. All students plan to commence their studies at UWC at the beginning of 2021, tentative upon the future of the COVID-19 situation.

New Graduate at the SA-GER CDR

Our DAAD Scholarship holder, Gelese Boniswa, was able to complete her Master in Development Studies and graduate before the South African lockdown. Congratulations!

The graduation of several other scholarship holders was delayed because of the lockdown and most of them plan on graduating in December 2020 or April 2021.

NiklasBritta Niklas
Coordinator CDR
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Phone: +49 (0)234 / 32-25148
Fax: +49 (0)234 / 32-14294

New Scholarships for Mobility between RUB and UWC

As part of a RUB-wide application, the IEE has successfully applied and received funding within the "Erasmus+ programme: Mobility with partner countries". For the period between autumn 2020 and summer 2023, this funding will allow for student and staff mobility between the Ruhr-University Bochum and our partner institution, the University of the Western Cape in South Africa.

In addition to opportunities for UWC Master and PhD students and academic/administrative staff to visit the RUB, two RUB PhD students will have the opportunity to spend a period of 5 months each at the UWC.

As this opportunity is not limited to PhD candidates of the IEE, we do hope to strengthen the RUB - UWC links beyond the nearly 20 years of collaboration between the IEE of the RUB and the ISD and SoG of the UWC.

BaeckerDr. Gabriele Bäcker
Executive Director

Update – African Excellence Network Website


The African Excellence Network (AEN) recently relaunched their website ( Through the website, alumni can access a listing of events and opportunities to which they can also submit entries. In addition, every month, the website will feature stories of alumni from various centres of excellence. The AEN recently profiled two alumni from the South African German Centre for Development Research – Erick Mariga and Dr Davison Muchandenyika. Erick Mariga is a senior policy analyst at the African Development Bank and spoke about his experiences in the job market after completing his MADM programme and his career trajectory so far ( Davison Muchandenyika, a PhD graduate from the centre and an urban specialist at the World Bank, discussed his recently published book on the lived realities of people in urban spaces in Zimbabwe. You can read all about the book here: All alumni and current students of the centres of excellence are invited to subscribe to the AEN newsletter to receive the latest updates on events, activities, and opportunities. To subscribe, please visit In case of any questions, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SambuWinnie Sambu, M.A.
Former MADM & MADS Student

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