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Barry Dwolatzky (1952-2023)  

Prof. Barry Dwolatzky was, at the time of his passing in May 2023, an Emeritus Professor in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering at Wits University. He was the founder and Director of the University’s Joburg Centre for Software Engineering (JCSE). "Prof Barry", as he was widely known, was also the founder of the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct in Braamfontein, Johannesburg. In July 2021, he joined the Office of the Wits Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation as the Director of Innovation Strategy. Dwolatzky was a constant supporter of the work of the LINK Centre, and served actively on the international Editorial Advisory Board of the LINK Centre journal, The African Journal of Information and Communication (AJIC)

Dwolatzky’s undergraduate (BSc(Eng)) and postgraduate (PhD) degrees in Electrical Engineering were both from Wits. In 1979, he left South Africa and worked in the UK as a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), at Imperial College London, and at the GEC-Marconi Research Centre. Over this period, he worked on a number of large software research and development projects. Dwolatzky returned to Wits from the UK as a Senior Lecturer in 1989, and became a Full Professor in 2000.

Dwolatzky's primary focus for more than 30 years was the growth and development of the South African software engineering sector. In 2005, he established the JCSE, and in 2013, he spearheaded the initiative at Wits to establish a major digital innovation hub in the Braamfontein area of inner-city Johannesburg: the eventual Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct. Tshimologong has attracted significant support from government and a range of major local and international companies. IBM Research established its 12th international laboratory in Braamfontein as an integral part of the Precinct. In recognition of his contribution to the South African IT industry, Dwolatzky was named the South African IT Personality of the Year in 2013, and in 2016 he received an award for “Distinguished Service to IT” from the Institute of IT Professionals of South Africa (IITPSA). Also in 2016, Wits presented him with the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Academic Citizenship.

In 2020, Dwolatzky launched his own podcast series entitled “Optimizing: Leading Africa’s Digital Future”. This podcast and other thought leadership content is available on the website Dwolatzky launched at 

Prof Barry passed away in Johannesburg on 16 May 2023, at the age of 71, and LINK Director Luci Abrahams wrote this tribute.