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Newsletter from the Chairperson of the Classical Association of South Africa

June 2004

At the halfway mark between our biennial conferences it seems appropriate to report on events over the past year. Apart from the ongoing meetings and lectures at local branches (the most important activities of the Classical Association!), matters of general interest are the following:


  • Conferences

  • The new CASA website

  • Our relationship with OIKOS

  • The position of Latin in the high school curriculum



The Twenty-Fifth Biennial Conference

The Twenty-Fifth Biennial Conference held at the University of Stellenbosch from 30 June to 2 July last year was very well attended and proved to be as stimulating as always. There were 67 attendees and 45 papers were presented. We were grateful to have several participants from overseas as well, including 8 scholars from the USA, the UK, the Netherlands and Germany. Our conferences are attracting more and more overseas scholars, which is a trend to be encouraged, not only because it gives local scholars the opportunity to meet international colleagues, but also because the latter help set a standard for our own work.

Some of the important decisions taken at the Business Meeting during the conference were the following:


  •      Judge Deon van Zyl was elected as the first Honorary President of CASA, with Professors P.J. Conradie, W.J. Henderson and D.B. Saddington as Honorary Vice-Presidents. The office of the Honorary President was instituted to involve influential persons outside academia in the activities of the Association, while that of the Honorary Vice-President gives recognition to persons who contributed to the Association and to Classical scholarship in South Africa over many years.

  •     It was decided to enter into some form of formal affiliation with the Dutch Classical association called OIKOS (more on this later).

  •     The following officers were elected to serve on the new CASA Executive Committee: Johan Thom (Chairperson), Betine van Zyl Smit (Vice-chairperson), Marianne Dircksen (Secretary), Christoff Zietsman (Treasurer), John Hilton (provisionally elected as Conference organiser) and Corrie Schumann-Bosman (additional member).

  •     The Business Meeting gratefully accepted the invitation by the University of Natal (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal) to host the next conference in 2005.

The Pacific Rim Roman Literature Seminar

The 2003 Conference was itself preceded by the annual conference of the Pacific Rim Roman Literature Seminar, held at Stellenbosch on 25-28 June, and organised by Sjarlene Thom. The theme of this conference was Representing and Interpreting Republican Rome and was attended by 30 participants. Although small, the focussed nature of this conference allows for an in-depth discussion of each paper. South African Latinists are strongly encouraged to become involved with this Seminar! For more information, contact Sjarlene Thom (st@sun.ac.za).

The Twenty-Sixth Biennial Conference

Our next conference will be held at Pietermaritzburg from 5 to 8 July 2005. The theme of the conference is The Classical Tradition. Persons wanting to present a paper should send an abstract of ca. 250 words to Mrs Anne Gosling (gosling@ukzn.ac.za). More information is available at the conference website (www.casa-kvsa.org.za/ casa_conference_2005.htm).


CASA Website

CASA now has its own website at www.casa-kvsa.org.za (alternative URL: www.expertise.und.ac.za/casa), with John Hilton as webmaster. Please send news of forthcoming events and other information to be posted on the website directly to John (hilton@ukzn.ac.za). We would like to develop this website as the primary source of information about CASA, and we depend on your cooperation.

As you may know, John has also served over the past couple of years as moderator for all e-mail messages to be distributed to CASA members. If you have an e-mail address and have not received messages from him, please send him your e-mail address and other details.



One of the overseas scholars who attended the 2003 conference was Dr Manfred Horstmanshoff from Leiden University, who invited CASA to form closer links with our Dutch equivalent, OIKOS, as part of renewed cultural ties between South Africa and the Netherlands. As you will have noticed, CASA members now already receive e-mail notices of all Classics events sponsored by OIKOS. CASA members may also become associate members of OIKOS, allowing them to participate in conferences and research projects. OIKOS welcomes contributions in both Afrikaans and English. For more information, please contact Louise Cilliers (cilliers.hum@ mail.uovs.ac.za) or Joris Stolwijk, the coordinator of OIKOS (oikos@ let.leidenuniv.nl). The website address is www.oikos.leidenuniv.nl.


The position of Latin in the Further Education and Training (FET) curriculum

As many of you may have seen in the newspapers, the Department of Education considered excluding Latin from the National Curriculum for Grades 10 to 12. After representations by the Executive in which we offered CASA’s assistance, the Department invited CASA in November last year to form a working group to submit working papers demonstrating that Latin could be described in terms of the Draft National Curriculum Statement for Second Additional Languages. Because of severe time constraints the working group was made up mostly of Latin lecturers and teachers from the Western Cape, with Carina Malan, moderator for Latin in the Western Cape, as convenor. As a result of their very many hours of hard work over December and January, the Department decided to add Latin to the list of second additional languages included in the National FET Curriculum. Much still needs to be done, but Latin teachers can look forward to an exciting new syllabus which will be phased in with Grade 10 in 2006, with the first matric examination in 2008. The present syllabus will remain in effect until then. We are grateful to the working group for all their efforts, and to the officials of the Department of Education for their support.


Johan Thom (Chairperson of CASA)