UNIVERSITY OF THE WITWATERSRAND, JOHANNESBURG

Obituaries

Jajbhay, Mahomed (1957-2010)

Prominent Johannesburg judge and avid cricket supporter, Justice Mahomed Jajbhay (LLB 1997, LLM 1983), died in hospital in Johannesburg after a month-long illness, on May 5, 2010. He was 52. Born on August 11, 1957, Jajbhay attended Lenasia High School, where he was head prefect and participated in debating and cricket. He captained Transvaal High Schools cricket and was vice-captain of South African High Schools cricket in 1974. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Durban-Westville. He practised as an advocate for some 17 years after graduating, focusing on political trials and labour matters. He spent time at the Independent Electoral Commission, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and the Land Claims Court, before former president, Thabo Mbeki, appointed him a high court judge in 2002. In this capacity, Jajbhay presided over the matter of the Sunday Times and the now-deceased minister of health, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. He ordered the newspaper to return the minister's medical records, but found that their publication was, indeed, in the public interest. Another landmark ruling was his preventing the City of Johannesburg from evicting tenants without providing alternative accommodation. Jajbhay's enthusiasm for cricket never waned. He chaired the Gauteng Cricket Board, was a member of the council of Cricket South Africa and was a patron of the South African Sports Law Organisation. He was buried in Mayfair in Johannesburg. His wife and three children survive him.

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Jawurek, Harald (1939-2010)

The University regrets to announce the passing of Professor Harald Jawurek (PhD Eng 1977), an Honorary Associate Professor in the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering, who died at the age of 71 on Wednesday, 13 October 2010. Prof. Jawurek was associated with the School of Mechanical Engineering for over 40 years and obtained his PhD degree in the School for research in the field of boiling heat transfer. He will be remembered with great affection by staff colleagues and large numbers of undergraduate and postgraduate students for his kind and caring personality and great talent as a lecturer and research supervisor. He was appointed as an Honorary Associate Professor after his retirement and continued to help the School in many ways as a close friend.

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Jerman, John Richard (1920-2006)

"A Crusader for Conservation"

John Jerman was born in Durban and educated at Hilton College. A house prefect and head of house, he distinguished himself there, amongst other things, in cross-country competitions (breaking the course record in 1938) and on the rugby field (playing scrum half for the unbeaten first XV and being invited to Natal Schools trials).

The day after the outbreak of World War II he joined 1 Battalion Natal Mounted Rifles, eventually leaving for East Africa and was on active service in Northern Kenya, Abyssinia, British Somaliland, Egypt and Libya, being platoon sergeant at the Battle of El Alamein. He transferred to the South African Air Force and flew 41 sorties with 24 Squadron, 3 Wing, S F, in B26 Marauders over Italy.

On demobilising, John enrolled for the once-off BSc Soil Conservation for ex-servicemen at Wits University. He graduated in 1948 after three years with the "Donga Doctors", which sharpened his awareness and concern for the preservation of the environment. His crusade for the conservation of fragile land and water resources took him to the then southern Rhodesia, where he gained much from their worthy programmes, then to Swaziland. There he worked for Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service, educating farmers on good agricultural practice. His extension efforts were recognised with the award of the MBE. During these times he married Anne Killen and became father to three children Peter, Carolyn and Nicholas. A short stint followed in the Transkei and then 13 years with the SA Sugar Association on the KZN south coast.

On retiring in 1986, John got involved with the early days of the Pennington Environmental Group, holding office and the chairmanship for several years. He took on the challenge of preserving the coastal strip, including lobbying for the enforcement of environment protection legislation and responsible development. In his campaigns he was an avid writer of letters to editors, politicians and officials while launching programmes at local schools promoting environmental awareness. He was awarded Conservationist of the Year titles by The Habitat Council (1998) for being an "indefatigable crusader for conservation in its widest sense" and WESSA's KwaZulu-Natal Region (2001), as well as being selected a finalist in 2000 for Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife. The South African National Parks website refers to the Kudu Awards 2006 and records a Special Mention: John Richard Jerman: Community Contribution to Conservation (Individual).

John s legacy continues with Anne growing and supplying indigenous trees for worthwhile causes, daughter Carolyn keeping and eagle eye on developmental intrusions into nature, on behalf of WESSA and grandchildren Miquela and James budding into enthusiastic naturalists. Awards for artwork at junior schools in the locality for the cause of preservation of the land, flora and fauna are now made in memory of John Jerman.

All creatures great and small salute you, John.

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Joffe, Anthony Lyle (1965-2006)

Dr Anthony Lyle Joffe graduated from Wits University in 1990. After graduating Anthony worked in anaesthetics for over eight years prior to joining the Wits School of Public Health. He started his registrarship training in 2001 and was the first successful graduate after a five year hiatus in the training of specialists in public health medicine. He was promoted as a full Public Health Medicine Specialist in August 2006. Anthony was Chair of the Dean's Advisory Committee on Computer and IT for the Faculty of Health Sciences as well as a consultant on various projects for the Wits Health Consortium, Wits Alumni Association and the Wits Health Graduates Associated. He taught both undergraduate and postgraduate students in the School of Public Health in subjects such as research methodology, biostatistics, epidemiology and infectious diseases. He compiled a teaching block in the Community-Doctor Theme of the new medical undergraduate programme (GEMP) as well as modules for the BSc Health Sciences and the MSc Community Paediatrics.

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Jordan, Radford (1917-2007)

Born in 1917, Radford won a Bishops Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford in 1937. During the Second World War he worked in the Ministry of Economic Warfare completing his degree at Trinity College Dublin. After the war, Radford worked for Rose-Innes and Jordan in Cape Town, Mackintosh, Cross and Farquason in Pretoria, and for the Springs and Johannesburg Town Clerk's Legal Departments. At Wits he was appointed to research Local Government. Copper le May recruited him to lecture in the Department of Political Science. In 1967 the then Vice Chancellor, Prof Bozzoli appointed him to run the new residence Ernest Oppenheimer Hall. After his retirement from Wits he spent 15 years writing book reviews for the Financial Mail, and then worked for Van Hulsteyns as a part-time conveyancer. He was a scholar, a gentleman, and a much loved friend.

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Kahn, Adele (1924-2011)

A stalwart of Wits University, Adele Kahn died on 18 November 2011, aged 87, after a long illness. She was the widow of the late Professor Ellison Kahn, a leading figure in the South African legal field and a former Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management. She was the mother of Professor Kathleen Kahn (MBBCh 1984) in the School of Public Health.

Adele married Ellison (BCom, LLB, honorary LLD 1990) in 1945 when he was a lecturer at Wits. From then on, Adele served the University in multiple ways over half a century. She directed plays at the Nunnery, organised events through the Wits Women’s Club and worked in the Wits gift shop. She served as a curator in the Adler Museum of the History of Medicine and co-edited the museum bulletin. She hosted countless University functions during Ellison’s tenure as Dean and as Deputy Vice-Chancellor. She tirelessly provided editorial assistance during her husband’s 50-odd years as editor of the South African Law Journal.

As the wife and mother of Wits academics, Adele was “the embodiment of selfless service, devotedly embracing these roles and unfailingly promoting Wits along the way.”

Kahn, Ellison (1921-2007)

Prof. Ellison Kahn passed away on Saturday, 13 October 2007, after a period of severe illness. He served in various capacities at Wits including as the Dean of the Faculty of Law, as Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University and as the longstanding chairperson of the Constitution Committee. His outstanding academic record led to his appointment as the editor of the South African Law Journal in which capacity he served for more than 30 years. He was also editor of the Annual Survey of South African Law from 2003-2005.

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Kambule, Thamsanqa Wilkinson (1921-2009)

Legendary Sowetan mathematics teacher, philanthropist and political activist Prof. Thamsanqa Wilkinson Kambule (honorary DSc 1997) died in hospital in Centurion on 7 August 2009, aged 88. Born in Aliwal North in the Eastern Cape on 15 January 1921, Kambule was raised by his aunt. He started school at 11 years, attending what was then the most prestigious black school in the country, St Peter's in Rosettenville. His education sparked his passion for mathematics and Kambule once recounted how, as a child, he had been reprimanded by Father Trevor Huddleston for doing algebra in church. Kambule obtained a teaching diploma from Adams College in KwaZulu-Natal, and taught in Zambia and Malawi before returning to South Africa in 1948 to serve as vice-principal at Johannesburg Bantu High (now Madibane High) and then as principal at Orlando High in Soweto. He is widely lauded as a gifted teacher who demystified mathematics. His former Orlando High pupil and now Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) chief executive, Pansy Tlakula (LLB 1984) recalls her former principal as a disciplinarian. What he'd do, as soon as the bell rang, [was] immediately close the gates, and as a result the school became known for its discipline, she says. Former pupil Kaizer Motaung, now chairman of Kaizer Chiefs football club, recounts: First of all his aim was for black children to be mathematically literate. But because there was a lot of political instability during our days at Orlando High School, he would encourage us always to be politically conscious. The year after Kambule's pupils took to the streets in 1976 to protest against enforced Afrikaans-medium education, Kambule issued his own protest against what he called gutter education, and resigned. He tutored mathematics at Wits in 1978 and co-authored with the late Prof. Norman Ferrandi a set of mathematics textbooks aimed at alleviating the challenges faced by poorly qualified teachers in black schools. He was a member of the Wits Council in 1997 and after retiring, aged 75, founded the Kambule Trust to raise funds for science and technology education. In 1999 former State President Thabo Mbeki awarded Kambule the Order of the Baobab (gold), describing him as one of the rare breed of academics who never allowed apartheid and its Bantu education to get the better of them, who always believed in fighting for change on the education front, even if this meant at great personal cost to himself. The National Research Foundation (NRF) later established the TW Kambule NRF Research Awards, to recognise black South African role models making outstanding contributions to science, engineering and technology. He was very caring and a peoples' person, says Kambule's son, Lulama. The University of Pretoria bestowed on Kambule an honorary doctorate in education in 2006 and in 2008 Kambule was one of the first of three recipients of honorary membership of the Actuarial Society of South Africa. Another former Orlando High pupil, renowned musician Sipho Hotstix Mabuse, described Kambule as a resolute and steadfast man. He was very practical as a principal and that was the reason most of us enjoyed going to school. Professor Kambule was amazing.

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Kaplan, Isaac (1919-2012)

The pioneer of carbon dioxide laser for general surgery, Dr Isaac Kaplan died in Israel on 24 August 2012, aged 93. He was Professor Emeritus of Surgery at Tel Aviv University and established the Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Maxillofacial Surgery at Beilinson Hospital. Born in South Africa on 10 April 1919, he sailed to Italy as a teenager and served as an interpreter during World War II, being fluent in Italian. He attended Wits Medical School before emigrating to Israel in 1952. He specialised in plastic surgery at Hadassah University Hospital and instructed surgeons in the use of CO2 laser during the Vietnam War. In 1972, he co-developed the Sharplan Laser, at that time the most advanced laser technology device. He founded the International Society for Laser Surgery and Medicine and held honorary membership of 27 international societies. 

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Katzen (née Bitensky), Maybelle (1928-2008)

Maybelle May Fay Katzen (BA Hons 1948) died 3 September, aged 80. Born 31 July 1928, Katzen obtained first-class passes in English and history for her undergraduate and Honours degrees and won the South African Association of University Women's Prize in 1948. She lectured in history before winning a scholarship to the London School of Economics in the fifties for her Masters degree in history. During this time she was a research fellow at the Institute of Colonial Studies at Oxford. She lectured history at the University of Cape Town in the early sixties before being detained for anti-apartheid activities. After her release, Katzen emigrated to England where she worked at the University of Leicester until her retirement in 1990. Katzen also held an Honours degree in English (cum laude) and a PhD from the University of Natal. She is survived by her two children.

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Kemp, Alan Richard (1940-2011)

The former Dean of the Wits Faculty of Engineering and Chair of Structural Engineering until retirement in 2003, Professor Emeritus Alan Kemp (BSc Eng Civil 1964, MSc Eng 1964, honorary DSc 2007) died on 21 January 2011 after a long illness. He was 71. Born
27 July 1940, Kemp received the Chamber of Mines Gold Medal for the best engineering student at Wits. He also held a PhD from Cambridge University. Kemp’s first employer was Dorman Long (Africa) Ltd, then South Africa’s largest steel fabricator. Here Kemp designed the first Boeing 747 hangar at Jan Smuts Airport and was instrumental in resolving complex engineering issues associated with the steel bridges of the Heidelberg Interchange on Johannesburg’s M2 highway. A Wits benefactor, Kemp returned to the University as Structural Engineering Chair in 1976 and served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-Principal. As Dean of Graduate Studies, he developed the Graduate Diploma in Engineering and established the division of Continuing Engineering Education. In 1991, he presided over the South African Institution of Civil Engineering, later becoming an Honorary Fellow, and he was an honorary life member of the Southern African Institute of Steel Construction. Kemp chaired South African Bureau of Standards committees concerned with writing codes of practice for the design of steel structures. Recognised internationally as a leader in engineering research, Kemp published widely and was a member of the research committee of London’s Institution of Structural Engineers.

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Kerr, Alastair (1922-2010)

Alastair James Kerr, SC (LLB 1949), Emeritus Professor of Law at Rhodes University, sustained head injuries and died in Grahamstown on 27 September 2010, following a fall after heart surgery. He was 88. Born in Scotland on 18 January 1922, Kerr grew up at Fort Hare University where his father was the founding principal. Kerr completed his postgraduate degree after World War II, and returned to Rhodes as a lecturer. Kerr’s relationship with Rhodes University endured from his undergraduate years, through the 1970s as Professor of Law, to head of department and Dean of Law in the 1980s. He retired in 1990 but retained an office in the faculty, working there until just before his hospitalisation. Associate Professor of Law at Rhodes, Graham Glover, described Kerr as “one of the most formidable intellects in the South African legal system” and “one of the country’s leading authorities of the law of contract and customary law”. In 1993, former state president FW de Klerk conferred letters patent on Kerr, making him then one of only 11 academic lawyers in South Africa entitled “Senior Counsel”.

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Kieser, J. Bernard (1938-2009)

Dr Bernard Kieser (BDS 1961) died in Cuffley, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom, on the 7 September 2009 aged 71. Born on the 7 June 1938, and having matriculated from Pretoria Boys High School, Bernard commenced studies in the Faculty of Dentistry at Wits in 1956 graduating with distinction in mid 1961. While at Wits he was a member of the Dental Students Representative
Council and a very keen hockey player and member of the Wits Hockey Club. Shortly after graduating he travelled to the United Kingdom where he went into general dental practice in London. In 1964 he joined the London Hospital Dental Institute as a registrar. The next 45 years were spent in clinical periodontology. Clinical appointments were held at The London
Hospital then the Royal Dental Hospital and finally The Institute of Dental Surgery, Eastman Dental Hospital, London. In 1990 his book " Periodontics - A Practical Approach " was published. Bernard has long been a great protagonist of nonsurgical Periodontal therapy - a concept that is gaining considerable support. Shortly before his death he was in part time practice and held a position as senior lecturer/Honorary Consultant in The Dept. of Periodontology , Institute of Dental Surgery, Eastman Dental Hospital, London. He is survived by his Wife, two children and grandchildren.

This obituary was submitted by David M Murray Nobbs (BDS 1961).

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King, Kenneth (1927-2007)

Kenneth William King (BCom 1948, Certificate in Theory of Accounting 1951) died in November 2007 at the age of 80. A stalwart in the School of Accounting in the sixties, King was a sympathetic lecturer to his first and second year students. He read prodigiously well beyond his subject area and was known for his exceptional friendliness and sympathy. His son is an accountancy alumnus and his grandson a student in the same field.

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King, Ronald Peter (1938-2006)

Prof. Peter King passed away in Salt Lake City on 11 September, 2006 after a long battle with leukemia. Born in 1938, he was educated in South Africa and obtained PhD (Chem Eng) at Wits in 1963. He was devoted to education and research in the field of mineral processing engineering and had been exceptional as both an administrator and a teacher as Head of the Department of Metallurgy at Wits, President of the South African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, Director of the USBM Generic Mineral Technology Center for Comminution and most recently as Chairman of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering at the University of Utah from which position he retired in 2003. As a teacher he received accolades from his students for excellent teaching. Prior to retirement he extended his teaching approach beyond the traditional classroom and demonstrated his leadership in the field of mineral processing education by being the first to develop and give a mineral processing course to an international student body over the internet. In addition, Peter initiated and developed virtual laboratory software for undergraduate education in mineral processing. He developed and perfected precise measurement techniques involving image analysis and advanced models to interpret the resulting data. This work was recognized by honoring him with the A.M. Gaudin Award, the Society of Mining Engineering's most prestigious research award in the field of mineral processing. His legacy includes 106 papers and 2 textbooks. Peter was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2003 and was recognized with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Mineral Processing Congress in 2003.

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Klawansky, Craig Benjamin (1982-2007)

Craig was born in Johannesburg on 23 December 1982. He matriculated from Greenside High School in 2000. He studied civil engineering at Wits aided by a university scholarship and a bursary from Arup. He was awarded the Jere Jenkins prize for the top student in first year. He graduated from Wits in 2004 and began his career at Arup. At the end of 2006 he went on a camping holiday around the wild coast and had arrived at his final destination, Port St Johns. On 2 January 2007 he visited the blowhole at the gap with his friends accompanied by a municipal guide. He was lost trying to save the life of the guide who had fallen down the blowhole.

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Klugman, Hymie Barney (1926-2006)

Hymie Barney Klugman passed away in Johannesburg on 11 August 2006 after struggling with ill health for many years He was born in Lithuania in 1926 and came to South Africa at the age of 5. He matriculated at Parktown Boys High and received his MBBCh qualification from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1948. He did his internship at Alexandra Clinic and Coronation Hospital continuing his studies to become a physician with a special interest in cardiac problems. His registrarship was done at Coronation and Baragwaneth hospitals. As a qualified physician he took a position at South Rand Hospital where he first worked full time as a junior physician later becoming chief physician He worked there for over 45 years. He had a busy practice in central Johannesburg until 1985 after which he practised from his home in Greenside. He also worked part time at the Miners Silicosis Bureau in Braamfontein. Hymie alo lectured in physiology at Wits medical school was a warm, kind and gentle young man who always put the needs of others first. He is survived by his parents, two brothers and grandparents.

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Kort, Hilton Isadore (1946-2011)

A renowned fertility doctor and accomplished tri-athlete, Dr Hilton Kort (MBBCh 1970) died in the United States of cancer on 6 May 2011, aged 64. Born on 28 July 1946, Kort emigrated to America with his family in 1978. He was a Ford Foundation Fellow at Yale University’s School of Medicine. He pioneered many of the first applications of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) technology. In 1983, he co-established Reproductive Biology Associates (RBA), Georgia’s first IVF centre. A competitive endurance athlete, Kort successfully completed two Ironman competitions and thrice participated in the Triathlon Age Group World Championships as a member of Team USA. 

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Krige, Daniël ‘Danie’ Gerhardus (1919-2013)

World-renowned geostatistician Professor Daniël ‘Danie’ Gerhardus Krige died on 3 March 2013, aged 93. Krige held three degrees in Mining Engineering and an honorary doctorate in Science (2011) from Wits. Just last year President Jacob Zuma awarded Krige the Order of the Baobab (silver) for his contribution to the field and for pioneering geostatistics, a branch of statistics focusing on space or space/time data-sets. The related technique of “kriging” is named after him. Krige was born in the Free State, one of nine siblings. He graduated from Wits in 1938 and then joined Anglo Transvaal where he gained experience in surveying, sampling and ore evaluation. Later, in the government’s mining engineering department, he designed the uranium pricing formula for the contracts that led to the establishment of South Africa’s uranium industry in the 1950s. Krige concurrently began his groundbreaking work in the application of mathematical statistics to the valuation of new gold mines, thus originating the field of geostatistics, which attracted international attention. He retired in 1981 and returned to Wits as Chair of Mineral Economics until 1991. He continued to consult privately to mining companies until 2011. His second wife, Ansie, survives him. 

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