The Humanities PPE Colloquium 2013

‘…a political animal with a deep love
for ideas and argument…’

The fourth annual PPE Humanities Colloquium will be held on Friday 20 September from 1pm to 3pm in Leslie Social Sciences lecture theatre 1A. The event is open to all members of the university community.


Programme (Leslie Social Sciences 1A)

1pm - 2pm            Student presentations

  • Ida Tomasson (3rd year):                                                    Fanon on violence
  • Cosimo Paulucci de Calboli (3rd year):                           What is economic power?
  • Announcement of the PPE Humanities Essay competition topic for 2013-2014

2pm - 3pm            Guest speaker

Gareth van Onselen, ‘a political animal with a deep love for ideas and argument’, is a prominent journalist and analyst who writes for the Sunday Times and Business Day, and manages the award-winning blog Inside Politics. Gareth has provided a title and description of his talk:

South Africa's unofficial constitution:

How culture can subvert freedom

While South Africa boasts one of the world's most progressive constitutions, defined by well-established liberal norms and standards, it exists in an environment often defined by the very opposite - patriarchy, superstition, popularism and nationalist sentiment. And central to understanding that environment is culture, its forms and nature. The result is a paradox, where first world expectations come into conflict with third world realties. Ideals like accountability, freedom of speech and excellence, are held hostage to practicalities like respect, offence and power. I will set out the argument and illustrate it with some examples and argue, if we are to really entrench democratic thought, we need to start to challenge those cultural beliefs which threaten freedom. And critically appraising our various cultural beliefs is where we start.


Members of the university community are welcome to attend either or both components of the Colloquium.


The third annual Humanities PPE Colloquium took place in September 2012. The invitation appears below.

The Humanities PPE Colloquium 2012

The third annual PPE Humanities Colloquium will be held on Friday 14 September from 1pm to 3:45pm. The event is free and open to all members of the university community.


Programme (all events are in Leslie Social Sciences Lecture Theatre 2C):

 1pm - 2pm   PPE Humanities student presentations, PPE Essay competition announcement

  • Oliver Goossen (1st year):             The Egyptian Spring: Youth in Revolution
  • Josh Platzky Miller (2nd year):       PPElections: Do we get the SRC we want, need, or deserve?
  • Announcement of PPE Humanities Essay competition topic for 2012-2013

2pm - 3pm      Lunch and careers discussion

Sandwiches and juice provided; career advice and discussion from three ex-UCT students in a variety of careers:

  • Richard Jamieson, coach and people development consultant, and co-founder and owner of a renewable energy company
  • Megan Little, economic analyst at Genesis Analytics
  • Dean Chapman, lecturer in Philosophy at UCT

3pm - 3:45pm      Guest speaker

Political analyst Raenette Taljaard on the topic South Africa – Quo Vadis?

Raenette will discuss political and economic challenges from the vantage point of her experience working inside key public institutions.

Members of the university community are welcome to attend any of the components: student presentations, careers discussion over lunch or Raenette Taljaard’s talk (or, of course, a combination).


The second annual Humanities PPE Colloquium took place in September 2011. The invitation appears below.

The Humanities PPE Colloquium 2011

The second annual PPE Humanities Colloquium will be held on Friday 30 September from 1pm to 3:45pm. While the colloquium is planned specifically for undergraduate PPE students in the Humanities, it is open to everyone in the UCT community.

The colloquium has three components: student talks, careers discussion over lunch (followed by an announcement of the new PPE essay competition), and guest lecture. UCT students and staff are welcome to attend any or all of these components. The colloquium has been generously sponsored by the Humanities Faculty, and lunch is free of charge to attendees.


Student talks: 1pm - 1:45pm, Hoerikwaggo Lecture Theatre 2

Two PPE Humanities students will give short talks followed by questions and discussion. Provisional programme:

  • David Jeffery (2nd year PPE): Locke and Nyerere on property
  • Charlotte Scott (2nd year PPE): Intrinsic value

Careers lunch (and PPE essay competition announcement): 1:45pm - 2:45pm, Hoerikwaggo Lecture Theatre 2

Three ex-UCT PPE Humanities students enjoying stimulating and varied careers will briefly discuss their career paths and the challenges and satisfactions of their current work, and will offer advice to current students. The speakers will be available to chat informally to attendees for the rest of the lunch period. (A vegan buffet lunch is to be provided.)


  • Shireen Mukadam, researcher on corruption and governance at the Institute for Security Studies
  • Nadia Oshry, senior consultant at Dalberg Global Development Advisors, focusing on strategic planning and organizational reform of international development organizations
  • Mishinga Seyuba, Candidate Attorney in the Litigation Department at Smith Tabata Buchanan Boyes Attorneys

Towards the end of the lunch period, we will announce the new annual PPE Humanities essay competition, and will also introduce the updated PPE curriculum for 2012.

Guest speaker Brian Kantor: 3pm - 3:45pm, Humanities Lecture Theatre 1 (please note the different venue for this talk)

Our guest speaker is the economist Professor Brian Kantor, Chief Economist and Strategist at Investec Wealth and Management, and ex-Dean of Commerce at UCT.

Prof Kantor’s topic: In praise of business and inequality.

There is no need to confirm your attendance at the colloquium (except for PPE Humanities students, for whom it is compulsory). However, if you have any enquiries, please feel free to email

Best wishes,

Greg Fried (Philosophy) and Andre Hofmeyr (Economics)
PPE Humanities committee


The first annual Humanities PPE Colloquium took place in September 2010. The invitation appears below.

The Humanities PPE Colloquium 2010

On Friday 17 September the Humanities Faculty will be holding a PPE Colloquium. This will include student presentations, lunch and career discussions, and an insider perspective on making government policy from guest speaker Ryan Coetzee.

This event is compulsory for PPE Humanities undergraduates, but is also open to any member of the university interested in politics, philosophy or economics.


1. Student presentations
Time: 12pm – 12:45pm 
Venue: Arts 100

Michael Marchant (2nd year PPE) discusses the Protection of Information Bill
Caroline Stapleton (3rd year PPE) discusses UN peacekeeping in Bosnia

Audience questions will be welcome!

2. Lunch and careers discussions

Time: 12:45pm – 1:45pm 
Venue: Arts 100

What careers are open after politics, philosophy or economics? Over lunchtime sandwiches and drinks, very brief talks will be given by Cathy Sims (Acting Director, UCT Career Development Programme) and by three ex-students of politics, philosophy or economics:

Richard Jamieson, who has experience in politics and now runs a solar energy business
Bontle Senne, who works in publishing
Madelet Sessions, who is an investment analyst

Richard, Bontle and Madelet will be available for you to chat to them individually for the rest of the lunch hour.

3. An insider’s view from guest speaker Ryan Coetzee:

‘What it’s actually like to make and implement policy in government’

Time: 2pm – 2:45pm 
Venue: Zoology 2 (Note different venue)

Ryan Coetzee is adviser to Western Cape Premier Helen Zille. He used to be an MP and the CEO of the Democratic Alliance.

Ryan’s informal description: ‘I am busy driving a process the purpose of which is to create a coherent policy agenda for the Western Cape government. It’s been a remarkable experience. Sharing it and the insights I have gained might be interesting to the students, especially the ones who have an interest in going into politics or government. A sort of insider’s view of the policy making process as it really unfolds. The context, the challenges, the outcomes. With a few juicy examples.’


We do expect all undergraduate PPE Humanities students to attend. Any other members of the university are very welcome to attend one or more of the three events in the Colloquium.

The event has been kindly sponsored by the Humanities Faculty, and attendance is free. If you would like to attend, please confirm your attendance by email with Cindy Gilbert of the Philosophy Department, at , by Wednesday 15 September.

In your email, please inform Ms Gilbert whether you will be attending:

1.      Student presentations;
2.      Lunch and careers discussions;
3.      Ryan Coetzee on how policy is actually made;

or any combination of these events.

Places are limited, so reply as soon as possible. Our spaces may fill up.