Fine Minds

FINE MUSIC RADIO  |  Podcast , ±51 min episodes every 10 weeks  | 
Fine Music Radio is broadcasting an exciting series of lectures co-ordinated by the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Extra-Mural Studies. The Fine Minds series aims to bring the intellectual stimulation of the centre’s busy annual Summer School directly to the armchair listener. Fifteen distinguished speakers over three years – including JM Coetzee and William Kentridge – will cover a wide range of topics. Fine Minds has been made possible by a grant from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation and will be repeated on Thursday afternoon just after the 1pm news.

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29
OCT

Dr Rae’s research focuses on chronobiology – the study of the body’s circadian (24-hour) rhythms – and sleep physiology

In the Fine Minds lecture series, which has run since 2015, the University of Cape Town’s Centre for Extra-Mural Studies has aired lectures by famous South Africans (J M Coetzee, William Kentridge, academics. FMR says goodnight to the series with a lecture on sleep and its relation to health. Sleep is critical for our survival, but often one of the first aspects of our lifestyle to be compromised in a world in which we are forever seeking more hours in the day. Dr Dale Rae, senior researcher in UCT’s Department of Human Biology, will explore what exactly sleep is, its function, and its all-important link with health and disease. Dr Rae’s research focuses on chronobiology – the study of the body’s circadian (24-hour) rhythms – and sleep physiology. She is particularly interested in how sleep is associated with health, disease and obesity, and the relationship between sleep, the body clock and physical performance. The final Fine Minds lecture will be broadcast on Sunday 29 October, just after the 6 pm news
27
AUG

A Social History of Indian Languages in South Africa by Prof. Rajend Mesthrie.

The penultimate lecture in the Fine Minds series will be broadcast on Sunday August 27, just after the 6 pm news. Professor of Linguistics Rajend Mesthrie gives us a social history of Indian languages in South Africa. It’s a history we know very little about, and yet it has huge potential for illuminating the history of South Africans of Indian ancestry. Mesthrie begins by referring to the existence of Indians in the Cape as a significant part of the slave community long before the arrival of the community today considered “Indian”. Some words in Afrikaans offer evidence for this link. The Indians who arrived in nineteenth-century Natal (now KZN) as indentured labourers and the languages they spoke – Bhojpuri-Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Gujarati and Kokni – provide the main focus of the lecture. Mesthrie discusses the geographical origins of these languages as well as aspects of their development on South African soil. Professor Mesthrie has held an NRF A-rating as a researcher in the field of Linguistics since 2008. He is a past head of the Linguistics Section at the University of Cape Town, a past President of the Linguistics Society of Southern Africa, and past co-editor of English Today.
18
JUN

'Our Skin and the Things We Do to It' by Prof. Lester Davids

Skin: it's the largest organ of our bodies; it protects us, gives us valuable sensory input, and helps to control our temperature. It also defines us as members of a species and a culture. Our obsession with skin can be seen in the numbers: an estimated 80 million people worldwide have some kind of tattoo, and hundreds of thousands of women across the world use dangerous skin lightening or tanning products. In South Africa, 700 people die from skin cancer every year. Sun exposure and everyday accidents with hot water or flames can burn our skins or even kill us. In this Fine Minds lecture, molecular cell biologist Professor Lester Davids explains the anatomy and physiology of the skin and the importance of pigmentation and of skin care. "Our Skin and the Things We Do to It" examines what happens when things go wrong and how skin cancers (melanomas and nonmelanomas) develop. Davids is Associate Professor in the Department of Human Biology at UCT, where he established the Redox Laboratory Research Group that studies skin cancers, wound healing in burns and the biological effect of the skin lightening practices. He has presented his research at national and international conferences.
19
FEB

'Of Mystery, Manners and Harper Lee' by Prof. Lesley Marx

Lesley Marx’s tertiary qualifications were all acquired at UCT. She taught in the English department at UCT from 1979-2002, serving as Head of Department from 1997-2000. She then served as a Deputy Dean in the new Faculty of Humanities and established the Centre for Film and Media Studies in 2003. She has published a monograph on American author, John Hawkes, and essays in the fields of film studies, adaptation and cultural studies. Her recent teaching, research and publications centre mostly, but not exclusively, on American and South African film and adaptation studies.
30
OCT
2016

'Revolting Music: Songs of Protest in the Global South' by Neo Muyanga

Composer Neo Muyanga describes the role played by music in the national liberation struggles of India, South Africa, Brazil and Egypt in his lecture "Revolting Music: Songs of Protest in the Global South". Performing live and using archival sound material, he reflects on what sort of future there might be for revolutionary music in our time, a period marked by increasing cynicism about the possibility of change. Muyanga was born in Soweto in 1974 and sang in choirs before starting musical theory lessons at high school and then studying philosophy and the Italian madrigal tradition in Trieste, Italy. He co-founded the acoustic soul duo BLK Sunshine and generated hit songs including "Born in a Taxi" and "Soul Smile." His work features a syncretic fusion of the traditional harmonies and aesthetic modes of Basotho and Zulu music with Western classical music and jazz. In addition to operettas, cantatas and works for choirs, Neo has collaborated on several multi-media projects, including the Royal Shakespeare Company's 2009 production of The Tempest, and the 2015 operatic adaptation of Zakes Mda's Heart of Redness.
28
AUG
2016

'The Battle of Delville Wood' by Judge Kathie Satchwell

Judge Kathie Satchwell takes listeners back to a devastating military offensive that took place 100 years ago during the Battle of the Somme. On July 14, 1916, just over 3000 men of the South African Brigade were instructed to hold Delville Wood "at all costs". Less than a week later, fewer than 150 men stepped out of the moonscape that had been Delville Wood. Drawing on the words of the soldiers who fought at Delville Wood, Judge Satchwell describes what happened at Delville Wood and places the battle in its historical context. She also explains how South Africa came to be involved in World War I and why so many – black and white, male and female – volunteered to fight in a war that was taking place so far from home. Satchwell is a retired high court judge and human rights activist. She has edited the letters and diaries of soldiers who served, survived or died in World War I; has twice been awarded the prize for the Best Annual Lecture by the South African Military History Society, and is one of the most popular lecturers at the University of Cape Town's annual Summer School.
26
JUN
2016

'Notes Towards a Model Opera' by William Kentridge

One of South Africa's great artists and one of the most recognised contemporary artists in the world, William Kentridge, will deliver our Fine Minds lecture. Kentridge will reflect on the genesis of 'Notes Towards a Model Opera', a three-screen projection that was the centrepiece of his June 2015 exhibition in Beijing. The lecture meditates on the connections of Africa to China, on the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and on the importance of having a studio filled with what he calls "visual intrusions". Well-known for his animated films based on charcoal drawings, Kentridge also works in prints, books, collage, sculpture and the performing arts, most notably theatre and opera. His work has been seen in museums, galleries, theatres and opera houses around the world, including The Tate, the Louvre, La Scala and New York's Museum of Modern Art. He has been awarded several honorary doctorates as well as the Kyoto Prize, and he is an Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
24
APR
2016

‘Stressed and sexy – lexical borrowing in Xhosa’ by Tessa Dowling

African Languages academic Dr Tessa Dowling will give a Fine Minds lecture entitled ‘Stressed and sexy – lexical borrowing in Xhosa’. Though in the 1850s the ‘expert’ view was that ‘the Xhosa language will soon be supplanted by English’, Dowling shows how Xhosa, the first language of more than eight million South Africans, is today doing what thriving languages do naturally – keeping robust and relevant through linguistic promiscuity and bold borrowing. Tessa Dowling is senior lecturer in the Department of African Languages at the University of Cape Town. Her research focuses on new varieties of African languages as well as South Africa’s geosemiotic landscapes and the way language impacts on understandings of health and medical intervention among speakers of African languages.
27
FEB
2016

'How can we define music' by Professor David Wolfe

'How can we define music' by Professor David Wolfe Emeritus Professor David Wolfe holds a PHD from the University of Pennsylvania in the United States and has been a faculty member at a number of universities, the university of Chicago, the university of Washington and the University of New Mexico, where he was the winner of the best teacher award for several years. Professor Wolfe is a founding member, president and director of the Oppenheimer institute for science and international corporate co-operation. He has given a number of invited talks to the oppenheimer institute as well as been an experiment manager at Cern. He has more than 150 Physics and medical publications in refereed journals. Fine Minds has been made possible by a grant from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation.
06
DEC
2015

'The Possibilities of Biography' by Lyndall Gordon

'The Possibilities of Biography' by Lyndall Gordon On Sunday December 6, just after the 18:00 news, Lyndall Gordon, Senior Research Fellow at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, delivered the last Fine Minds lecture of 2015. In “The Possibilities of Biography”, she will discuss the frontier of the genre of biography as it moves away from what she calls “the routine plod from birth to grave”. She will look at biographies that try out new ways of telling lives. The lecture brings in some of the unexpected discoveries of biographical research, the gaps in the records, and the impossibility of knowing the whole truth. Lyndall Gordon is the award-winning author of six biographies and two memoirs, including Henry James: His Women and his Art and Lives like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and her Family’s Feuds. Fine Minds has been made possible by a grant from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation.
10
OCT
2015

'The Practice of Medicine in the Ancient Egypt' by Professor Ian Aaronson

'The Practice of Medicine in the Ancient Egypt' by Professor Ian Aaronson Professor Ian Aaronson, distinguished Professor Emeritus of the Medical University of South Carolina and one of the University of Cape Town’s most popular Summer School lecturers, will deliver the fourth lecture in the Fine Minds series, a collaboration between FMR and UCT’s Centre for Extra-Mural Studies. It will cover the contribution to modern Western medicine made by the priests, magicians and practical healers who practised healing in ancient Egypt. Thousands of years ago, the forerunners of today’s doctors had some anatomical knowledge as well as access to a massive pharmacopoeia of drugs. Some of the prescribed cures, such as honey, have proven medicinal uses, whereas others – such as crocodile dung used as a contraceptive – might have done more harm than good. Fine Minds has been made possible by a grant from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation.
02
AUG
2015

‘Resistance to German Conquest in Namibia...’ by JM Coetzee

‘Resistance to German Conquest in Namibia: The letters of Hendrik Witbooi’ by renowned novelist and critic JM COETZEE. This lecture takes as its focus Hendrik Witbooi, a dogged leader of resistance to the German takeover of what is now Namibia. The lecture shows how Witbooi’s letters provide absorbing insights into the internal politics of south-western Africa on the eve of conquest, as well as into contrasting conceptions of warfare, African and European, in the late nineteenth century. Born in 1940 in Cape Town, JM Coetzee was the recipient the 2003 Nobel Prize for Literature. He has received many other awards for his novels, including two Booker Prizes. His most recent works are the 2013 novel, The Childhood of Jesus, and a collection of letters entitled The good story: exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychotherapy. ‘Resistance to German Conquest in Namibia: The letters of Hendrik Witbooi’, will be the third in the series ‘Fine Minds’, a collaboration between FMR and The Centre for Extra-Mural Studies at UCT. Fine Minds has been made possible by a grant from the Andrew W Mellon Foundation.

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