South Africa (University of Fort Hare) Ufh human settlements students participate in international housing and human settlements seminar

Housing shortages remain a backlog, depriving most disadvantaged South Africans of quality of life and the harmonious environment envisaged in policy objectives. In its quest to find suitable and sustainable solutions to issues in the human settlement sector, the Institute of Human Settlement Practitioners South Africa (IHSP-SA) recently held the International Housing and Human Settlements Conference in Bloemfontein on November 24–25, 2022.

The seminar is designed to inform graduate placement strategies through shared knowledge, skills, and core competencies carried out by academic programs in housing and human settlement offered at South African universities, including the University of Fort Hare.

Twenty UFH Human Settlements students (graduates, fourth and third-year students) attended this auspicious occasion in hunger for empowerment and inspiration, where Ms. Babongile Moto, a UFH graduate in human settlement, represented the university as a panelist and shared her experiences, expectations for the sector and department including her aspirations. This couldn’t have come at a better time when the USA/Africa Collaboration Chairperson, Elizabeth Glenn Scott, stressed how crucial it is for women to have a voice in discussions that drive towards sustainable solutions.

The conference was graced by the attendance of dignitaries and housing professionals from across the globe. Among the significant persons, Deputy Minister Pam Tshwete of the Human Settlements, Water, and Sanitation in South Africa delivered the keynote address and stated that the department of Human Settlements recognizes the significant role the IHSP-SA plays in being the voice of human settlement practitioners in the country. She mentioned that they are grateful for collaborations between the institute and the department.

“The department is also aware of the plight of unemployed human settlement graduates….” Deputy Minister Tshwete added.

However, she encouraged the graduates to seize opportunities that allow them to use their skills to create jobs.

This Workshop provided UFH Human Settlements students an invaluable opportunity to be exposed to and network with both Private Sector, Governmental Departments, and agencies.

“Being a part of the conversation that seeks to restore human dignity through housing, connect graduates with employers, and, most importantly, provide us with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make our voices heard has given meaning and purpose to pursuing the Human Settlement Degree, and I am proud to be part of the solution,” said Mr. Mbasa Ngese one of the UFH senior students.

Article by Dr. Mahali Elizabeth Lesala, UFH Human Settlement Programme Lecturer