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Honorary doctorate for Hirschowitz

- By Wits University

A pioneer who led the way in the understanding and treatment of diseases relating to the digestive system, gastroenterology, has posthumously been awarded an honorary doctorate by Wits University.

Wits has bestowed a Doctor of Science in Medicine upon Basil Isaac Hirschowitz in recognition of his enormous contribution to medicine. Hirschowitz played a major role in the development of the first practical, flexible, fiberoptic endoscopic system based on glass-clad fibres, which could illuminate the inside of the stomach making it possible for examination.

His citation, which was read during the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Health Sciences, states that the Wits alumnus develoed this tool along with colleagues from the Department of Physics in the University of Michigan. Hirschowitz first tested this device on himself, later describing this episode as follows: “I looked at this rather thick, forbidding but flexible rod, took the instrument and my courage in both hands, and swallowed it over the protest of my unanaesthetised pharynx and my vomiting center”.

This invention opened the way for the widespread use of endoscopy in a vast range of medical applications. To read his citation and the early reaction of his peers, click Basil Hirschowitz10Dec2013.pdf.

Although his brave venture was first met with cynicism, he has since received numerous awards and the Hirschowitz Endoscopic Centre of Excellence was named in his honour.

Dr Sidney Hirschowitz collected the honorary doctorate on behalf of his cousin who passed away in January 2013 at the age of 88.

A video tribute to Hirschowitz was screened during the graduation featuring former colleague Dr Mel Wilcox, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Gastroenterology/Hepatology, University of Alabama, Birmingham. To view this, click here.

The graduands were also addressed by Professor Dan Ncayiyana who took a moment to acknowledge the late former president Nelson Mandela, whose memorial service was held on the same day as the graduation ceremony. Ncayiyana is emeritus professor at the University of Cape Town, and was editor of the South African Medical Journal for 20 years.

In his speech Ncayiyana addressed the shortage of health professionals in South Africa and described it as “largely self-inflicted”. He tackled the responsibilities of the recently qualified doctors, the traditional models of health professional training and constrictive curricula. To read his speech, clickNcayiyana Speech 10Dec13.pdf.

 

 

 

 

Professor Thokozani Majozi

- By Wits University

Professor Thokozani Majozi is the speaker at the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment on 11 December 2014.

He is a full professor in the Wits School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, where he also holds a NRF/DST Chair in Sustainable Process Engineering. His main research interest is batch chemical process integration, where he has made significant scientific contributions that have earned him international recognition. Some of these contributions have been adopted by industry.

He was also an associate professor in computer science at the University of Pannonia in Hungary from 2005 to 2009. Majozi completed his PhD in Process Integration at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in the United Kingdom. He is a member of various international scientific committees for leading Process Systems Engineering symposia and conferences and a member of the editorial board of Chemical Engineering Transactions Journal.

Majozi is also a member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa and a Fellow for the Academy of Engineering of South Africa.

He has received numerous awards for his research including the Burianec Memorial Award (Italy), a P-rating from the National research Foundation (NRF), the University of Pretoria Leading Minds Centenary Award, a S2A3 British Association Medal (Silver), the South African Institution of Chemical Engineers Bill Neal-May Gold Medal and the NSTF-BHP Billiton Category B Award.

Recently, he won the AU-TWAS Young Scientist Award. Majozi is the author and co-author of more than 150 scientific publications, including a book in Batch Chemical Process Integration published by Springer in January 2010. He is also an NRF B1 rated researcher.

Read more about Professor Majozi’s work

Biography: Firoz Cachalia

- By Wits University

Firoz Cachalia is currently a Professor in the Wits School of Law. An admitted attorney, he is also completing his LLM at Wits, adding to his extensive list of impressive qualifications. No stranger to Wits – he was once a vibrant student activist at Wits, Cachalia holds a BA degree, a BA (Hons) degree, an LLB and a Higher Diploma in Company Law from Wits University. A talented individual, Cachalia also received a first class pass for his LLM qualification from the University of Michigan in 1996. 

Prior to 1994, Cachalia made an active contribution to the opposition movement to apartheid, to the transition to democracy and subsequently to the consolidation of democratic institutions. He has held various leadership positions in the opposition movement and played a leading role in Codesa I and Codesa II and worked with the committee that drafted the first versions of the Constitutional Principles. 

He has held several key posts in the public and private sector, more recently as the Head of the Planning Commission in the Gauteng Provincial Government, and prior to that as the MEC for Economic Development. Between 2004 and 2009 he served as the MEC for Community Safety and as a leader of government business. Cachalia has held several positions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature between 1994 and 2004 – he has served as the Leader of the House, its Speaker and has chaired the Rules Committee and the Petitions Committee. 

He also worked for a law firm, then Bell Dewar and Hall for two years and as a researcher in the Centre for Applied Legal Studies in the early 90s. 

Cachalia has served in numerous leadership roles over the decades, including as a Council Member of Wits University from 2004 to 2006. He continues to serve on the Mahatma Gandhi Trust and the Ahmed Kathrada Trust. He is widely published and continues to play a significant role within Wits and society.

Chipkin receives honorary doctorate

- By Wits University

Wits University conferred an honorary doctorate on the preeminent architectural historian of Johannesburg, Clive Chipkin, as part of the University’s annual June graduations.

Chipkin graduated with a B Arch degree from Wits University in 1954. His practice both rejected and contested apartheid and never participated in any government, provincial or municipal work during the apartheid era (1948-1994). His professional practice has mirrored his values. In 1986 he was a founding member of the group Architects against Apartheid, an informal pressure group that challenged their colleagues to support radical changes to the Architects’ Act of 1970 and the Code of Conduct of the Institute of South African Architects.

Chipkin’s contribution to the profession of architecture, and to scholarship and research, has been outstanding. He has contributed to the deepened understanding of the city of Johannesburg’s cultural, social and historical surrounds. Chipkin, through the practice of his profession, has sought to promote affirmative action and educational values since the 1960s. In his scholarship and professional life he has demonstrated leadership and has sought to make a difference in the lives of many students and colleagues.

In his address to the graduands, Chipkin referred to his time working as an assistant to Rusty Bernstein, a principal author of the Freedom Charter.

“With Rusty I helped work out the layout plan for COP – the Congress of the People – on a dusty soccer field next to the railway line in Kliptown, an event planned for late June 1955. That is the reason, in my potted biography that has appeared in several places, I have written ‘In retrospect, the most momentous project of my career turned out to be the gum-pole and hessian single seater privies at the Congress of the People, Kliptown 1955’.”

Read the full citation

Read Chipkin's address

Chipkin

"Embrace change, seize this moment"

- By Wits University

At the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management on 2 April 2014, David Lewis, Executive Director of Corruption Watch, advised graduands to embrace change, not least of all because the labour market of today is very different.

"Large traditional employers in manufacturing and the extractive sectors are shedding jobs. New jobs are being created in the services sector and while there are many exciting opportunities there, increasingly university graduates who want stimulating work, work that draws on their skills and learning, will have to accept work in edgy, risky start-ups or will have to dig into their own inner resources to create the start-ups themselves. Be confident that it is, by and large, you and you alone who have the energy, the learning and the relative freedom from debt and other obligations that permit the necessary risk-taking," he said.

Additionally, said Lewis, graduates are increasingly unlikely to find jobs for life. "You will likely change employment several time in your working lives and often times that change will not simply be a change in employer but will vary in the substantive nature of the work that you do. It’s stressful and challenging to be sure, but it also gives you the unique perspective of other worlds, other disciplines, other questions, other answers and other people. It better equips you to work in the multi-disciplinary environment increasingly characteristic of large private and public sector employers, as well as in small start-ups."

He advised those present to be prepared to engage in work that would sometimes seem distant from the professional skills that they acquired at university. "Lawyers will find themselves having to think about complex problems in health care policy; economists and natural scientists will find complementary work; architects and planners will find themselves working alongside political scientists, anthropologists and sociologists; engineers will work with environmental activists," said Lewis.

"This flexibility requires a significant mental shift both in your own views on your place in the world, and in those institutions, not least universities, which are charged with preparing you for that world. Indeed it requires a shift in the way in which society values work. For example, in order to attract the right caliber of person to universities or the public sector or to NGOs, a world which, in the recent past, has tended to celebrate those, and only those, who have acquired huge wealth, we will all have to rethink the often disparaging attitudes that have developed towards teachers, public servants and social activists. This sounds like a tall order, but it was not so long ago that great teachers were at least as revered as great entrepreneurs."

Finally, Lewis encouraged the graduands not to buy patronising assurances that they are the "leaders of tomorrow", saying that this was an assurance intended to keep them deferential to the leaders of today. "The next time that someone tells you that you are a leader of tomorrow, tell him who today, right now, leads taste in fashion and in music; tell him who shapes the very language that we speak; tell him which  generation is inventing and commercialising the new communications technologies that are irrevocably changing our boundaries and possibilities. Remind him which generation it is that is most comfortable mastering these technologies and integrating them into their everyday lives. And stake your claim for leadership today, not tomorrow."

Read the full address.

About David Lewis

David Lewis received his training in economics from Wits University and the University of Cape Town.

Between 1975 and 1990 he worked in the trade union movement, serving as General Secretary of the General Workers Union. 

From 1990, Lewis directed the Development Policy Research Unit, a UCT based research group specialising in trade and industrial policy. Between 1994 and 1996 he served as Special Advisor to the Minister of Labour and co-chaired the Presidential Commission on Labour Market Policy.

Lewis was a member of the ministerial team tasked with the development of competition policy and with drafting the Competition Act. Between 1999 and 2009 he served for two terms as Chairperson of the Competition Tribunal. He served on the Steering Group of the International Competition Network from 2001 until 2009 and as Chairman of the Steering Group from 2008 to 2009.

Lewis has served on the boards of the National Research Foundation, the International Marketing Council of South Africa, the Johannesburg Development Agency, South African Airways and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). He was Deputy Chairman of the Board of the IDC from 2002-2008.

He has lectured and undertaken research at several higher education institutions in the country but is probably best known for establishing Corruption Watch, a non-governmental organisation in 2011, of which he is the Executive Director.

"Take ownership of your achievements"

- By Wits University

Lesley Swartz, Professor of Psychology at Stellenbosch University and a clinical psychologist, delivered the keynote address at the Faculty of Humanities graduation ceremony on 26 June 2013.

His research interests span the fields of mental health and disability studies. He has been instrumental in establishing the Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health in collaboration with University of Cape Town, which focuses on developing capacity for mental health service provision in Africa.

Professor Swartz is an internationally rated researcher, and has over 200 scholarly publications to his name. Recent books include Able Bodied: Scenes from a Curious Life, a memoir focussing on Disability in southern Africa, and another book entitled Promoting mental health in scarce-resource contexts:  Emerging evidence and practice. 

He serves as editor-in-chief of the African Journal of Disability, as an associate editor of Transcultural Psychiatry and the International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, and on a number of other editorial boards. His current work focusses on issues of access to health care for disabled people, and the ethics of care.

Lesley Swartz grad speech 260613.doc

Biography: Paul Verryn

- By Wits University

Bishop Paul Verryn is described in the recent Issues of Faith DVD entitled One and Undivided: the Paul Verryn Story as “an anti-apartheid activist, champion of the poor and warrior against social injustice”. He is particularly renowned for sheltering destitute refugees in the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg, and for his fearless defence of their rights. 

Verryn was born in Pretoria on 26 February 1952 and attended St Stithian’s College. He was drafted into compulsory military service in 1970, an experience that exposed him to the harsh realities of the apartheid state. He began his theological studies while in the army and went on to complete a Bachelor of Divinity in 1976 at Rhodes University. 

His experiences in the Eastern Cape further radicalised his anti-apartheid stance, particularly when he served in a parish in Port Elizabeth, where he worked closely with the political activist Molly Blackburn. He made frequent visits into the townships, sheltered activists fleeing from the security police, and launched the Port Elizabeth branch of the Detainees Parents Support Committee (DPSC) in the early 1980s. 

In 1984 Verryn was stationed in the Krugersdorp Circuit and in December 1987, under the direction of Bishop Peter Storey, he moved to the mission house of the Methodist Church in Orlando West, Soweto and was the first white Methodist minister to live in Soweto. His work with the DPSC and with young detainees and political prisoners continued, and he sheltered a number of young activists. 

In 1997 Verryn was appointed Bishop of the Central District, Methodist Church of Southern Africa. Through his commitment to the victimised, marginalised and dispossessed, he turned the premises of the Central Methodist Church into a shelter for (mainly) Zimbabwean refugees. 

Verryn played an important role in mediating and caring during the xenophobic violence of May 2008, and continued to shelter increasing numbers of refugees. The number of Zimbabwean refugees increased dramatically in March 2009 after the government closed the refugee reception camp in Musina. Verryn estimated 2000 were sleeping in the church and more than 2000 outside. 

Despite a court order to remove the refugees, supported by the local government MEC, Verryn stood firm in his defence of the rights of deeply traumatised people, stating in an affidavit: 

“These problems are the direct result of the state’s failure to observe its national and international obligations to provide shelter for homeless refugees, asylum seekers and those aspiring to such status.” 

It was largely through his interventions that the refugees won an indefinite reprieve from the courts, and that local government is now engaged in a more constructive and sympathetic process to resolve the crisis of housing and caring for the dispossessed and destitute. 

Throughout his ministry, Verryn has shown exceptional courage and caring for the marginalised in society. His faith is profoundly lived.

Read the NDP, Hollard CEO says

- By Erna van Wyk

Capitalism as practised over the past several decades does not have all the answers. Instead, the capitalism that seeks to maximise shareholder wealth above all else, created worldwide turmoil that culminated in the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 and the subsequent increase in unemployment, social unrest and austerity measures.

This is according to Nic Kohler, CEO of the Hollard Group, delivering the keynote address at the March-April graduation ceremony for graduands of the Faculty of Science on 31 March 2014 in the Wits Great Hall.

He urged graduands to become “active citizens” and to resist corruption, build safer communities and ensure environmental sustainability. The first step, he added, is to “read, analyse and critique” the 488-page National Development Plan.

“This document imagines a future South Africa where poverty is eliminated, where quality health care is accessible and affordable, where public transport is effective, safe and affordable, where all South Africans have access to clean running water in their homes, where high-speed broadband internet is universally available at competitive prices, where household food and nutrition is secured, where we are subject to a developmental, capable and ethical state, where all people live safely, with an independent and fair criminal justice system, where social cohesion and unity are broadly present and the inequities of the past have been redressed.”

“It is by no means a perfect document and it certainly does not offer a panacea for all our problems. Some of the solutions it suggests are improbable or impractical or both. But it is an important starting point in imagining a better future for our country – its analysis of the problems we face and its vision of the future are compelling,” he said.

Nic Kohler Graduation address.pdf his address.

Nic Kohleraudio.mp3 to his address.

About Kohler:

Nic Kohler is the CEO of the Hollard Group, an increasingly global insurance group which includes The Hollard Insurance Company and Hollard Life Assurance Company in South Africa.

Kohler joined Hollard in 1997 as a member of the life actuarial team and has been involved in many aspects of Hollard’s businesses since then, including establishing Hollard’s primary retail division, serving as managing director of Hollard Life and establishing and developing Hollard’s venture in India.

He has been instrumental in driving Hollard’s Afro-globalisation strategy, which draws on the strengths of African leadership principles and African-sourced talent and ideas to create successful insurance businesses throughout the world.

Kohler is passionate about developing an organisation with a head and a heart, an organisation that contributes meaningfully to social, human and natural capital in addition to generating financial capital, both through the business that they do and the way that they do business.

Kohler completed his schooling in Pretoria in 1987, and spent the following year as an exchange student in Arlington, Texas, before going on to complete a BSc in Statistics and Actuarial Science at Wits University. He qualified as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries while working for his first employer, Commercial Union Life, in 1996.

Donning the red beret

- By Wits University

EFF MP, Floyd Shivambu graduated with a Masters in Political Studies degree during the December Graduation Ceremony of the Faculty of Humanities. Shivambu put on a show by donning a red EFF-beret after being capped by Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Adam Habib. His Research Report is titled: South Africa's negotiated transition from apartheid to an inclusive political system: What capitalist interests reigned supreme?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Birds make huge contribution

- By Wits University

South Africa is home to an exceptional nine percent of the world’s 10 000 bird species, some 845 species of which 38 species are found only in this country, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Being a bird haven also contributes hugely to the South African economy, said Mark Anderson, Chief Executive Officer of BirdLife South Africa. He was delivering the keynote address at the graduation ceremony for graduands of the Faculty of Science on 31 March 2014 in the Wits Great Hall.

Anderson said birdwatching contributes around R1 billion to the South African economy annually and is a barometer for change: “Birds tells us of rapidly changing climates and important habitat changes.”

Anderson urged graduands from all spheres to become “citizen-scientists” and join organisations such as BirdLife SA to experience the wonderful world of birds and their importance to South Africa and the world.

Mark Andersonaudio.mp3 to Anderson’s address.

About Anderson:

Mark Anderson is the Chief Executive Officer of BirdLife South Africa. He has been interested in birds, mammals and conservation ever since he was a schoolboy growing up in Pretoria. He developed his passion for the environment during frequent visits to the bush in South Africa.

He studied at the University of Pretoria, where he obtained a Masters Degree (cum laude) in Zoology. His uncompleted PhD is on large terrestrial bird conservation in the eastern Karoo.

Anderson worked as an ornithologist with the Northern Cape Department of Tourism, Environment and Conservation, and was later appointed to the position of Specialist Scientist. He was appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of BirdLife South Africa in October 2008.

The focus of Anderson’s work in the Northern Cape was mainly on the monitoring of the populations of birds, especially threatened and range-restricted species, including waterbirds, raptors, and large terrestrial birds. Since 1991, he has been involved in various aspects of the study and conservation of flamingos, but he has also conducted research and conservation work on a variety of other birds.

Anderson is regarded as a world authority on the biology and conservation of Old World Vultures which he has been studying for the past 20 years. He also initiated a project on African fish-eagles along the Vaal River where these eagles are used as bio-indicators of the health of the river. He has also supervised several Honours and Masters theses.

Anderson has received numerous awards for his work, including a Wildlife and Environment Society scroll, two BirdLife South Africa Owl Awards, the Gariep Raptor Conservationist Award and the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s Vulture Conservation Award.

He is a prolific writer and has written more than 200 popular and scientific articles, as well as several chapters in books. He is a member of many environmental and scientific associations and organizations.

Newspaper designer honoured

- By Wits University

The University of the Witwatersrand conferred an honorary doctorate on pioneering newspaperman Irwin Manoim on 22 November 2013 during its December graduation ceremony in the Wits Great Hall.

Mamoin and Wits Professor Anton Harber founded and were the first co-editors of The Weekly Mail newspaper launched on 14 June 1985. It was the world's first example of a newspaper produced using desktop publishing. As a newspaper designer, Manoim made immense contributions to innovation and recreating how news and information are understood, produced, presented and consumed in the computer and digital age in South Africa and Africa.

He can also be counted among those who fought in the struggle for democracy, freedom of expression and the press. He played a key role in the establishment of The Weekly Mail Training Project, which produced a generation of future journalists, including Mondli Makhanya, Ferial Haffajee, Jacob Dlamini, Phylicia Oppelt and Phil Molefe, who have in post-apartheid South Africa become leading editors in their own right.

Today he still teaches and runs design courses at Wits University.

CitationIrwin Manoim.pdf the citation

Graduation addressIrwin Manoim.pdf his address

ManoimHonorary Degree.mp3 to his address

Gourley receives honorary doctorate

- By Wits University

Wits University conferred an honorary doctorate on Prof. Brenda Mary Gourley, higher education pioneer and one of South Africa’s foremost accountants, as part of the University’s annual March graduations.

Gourley completed her Certificate in Theory of Accountancy at Wits in 1956 and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1966. 

Prof Brenda Mary Gourley citation Honorary Doctorate 25 March 2013.doc

Prof Brenda Mary Gourley address Honorary Doctorate 25 March 2013.doc

 

Biography: Gillian Godsell

- By Wits University

Dr Gillian Godsell graduated from Wits University in 1972 with a BA degree majoring in Psychology and Afrikaans. Her honours and masters qualifications are also in the field of psychology, crowned with a PhD from Boston University which she attained in 1990.

Dr Godsell served as a full-time researcher at the National Institute for Personnel Research from 1974 to 1983, and was registered as an industrial psychologist in 1983. She has worked at the Wits Centre for Policy Studies, as an associate of the Institute for the Study of Economic Culture at Boston University as a Researcher at the Wits Centre for Developing Business from 1990 to 1994. She ahs also served as a lecturer in Entrepreneurship at RAU. She is currently an Associate Research Fellow in the Wits Graduate School of Public and Development Management, a position that she has held since 2006.

Dr Godsell is well-known for her deep interest in education, but she has worked voluntarily across a number of sectors. She worked intensely for the Progressive Party between 1969 and 1979, served on the governing bodies of several schools and as a trustee of small business initiatives and as an active board member of a number of entrepreneurship programmes.

She is widely published, has written and edited a number of chapters in books, academic journals and the popular media. A book titled Thought pieces by Opinion Leaders edited by Max du Preez, which contains a collection of critical reflections on various aspects of contemporary South Africa, features a chapter by Dr Godsell entitled Moving Forward School by School. 

Dr Godsell serves as a board member of Radio Today where she hosts a programme called Jozi Today, provides a space for people to tell the stories of the positive things happening in Joburg. 

Champion of heritage

- By Wits University

Wits University awarded a Gold Medal to Flo Bird, champion of preserving the heritage of Johannesburg, during its December Graduation Ceremony for the Faculty of Engineering and the Build Environment.

A “descended from Johannesburg pioneers”, Bird has been actively involved in researching the history of the city and promoting the preservation of its heritage.

“I note that many of you graduands have specialised in Engineering and the Built Environment and since the heritage of the built environment has been my concern for the last 40 years I am hopeful of persuading you to conserve as well as develop that environment,” she told graduands.

Here talk was themed on “righteous wrath and protest” and how her rage and anger about how the apartheid government, property developers and others were destroying the city’s heritage led to the actual preservation thereof.

“Ours is not a wealthy first world society where buildings can be kept and sustained as museums which would happen in Australia or the US. Our heritage buildings and sites need to work and they need imaginative property developers to do so,” she said.

Graduation addressFlo Bird.pdf

Flo Bird.mp3

Today, she is still very active and vociferous in advocating for retaining the heritage of old buildings and places around the city and suburbs, and for restricting property developers who chase money instead of preserving Johannesburg's beautiful suburbs.

Flo Birdcitation.pdf

Biography: Raman Dhawan

- By Wits University

Mr Raman Dhawan, the Managing Director of Tata Africa Holdings in South Africa, is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and a Fellow Member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants in the United Kingdom. 

Mr Dhawan has worked with the Tata Group for over 33 years. As principal executive of Tata in Africa, he is responsible for co-ordinating all activities and operations of the Tata companies on the continent. 

Tata Africa has a strong presence in 11 African countries and its businesses are related to the automotive, steel, hospitality, mining, IT, telecommunications, chemical, power and farming sectors. He guides the Tata Board on all major decisions related to the growth, diversification and investments of the Tata Group Companies in Africa.  

New Council Chair addresses graduation

- By Wits University

Dr Randall Carolissen, the new Chairperson of the Council of Wits University, addressed graduands in the final graduation ceremony of the winter graduation cluster.

Council recently elected Carolissen as Chairperson and Dr Brian Bruce as Deputy Chairperson, for a period of two years.

He told graduands that the world requires scientists that care for the environment; economists that understand the building blocks of a civilised society; bankers that must understand they are managing the funds that belongs to others; teachers that understand the need to educate the nation; and health professions who are driven by an ethos of serving fellow human beings. Click Randall Carolissenmp3.mp3 to listen to his full address.

Carolissen has been an active member of Council from 2008 and has served in various capacities on its sub-committees. Council is the highest decision-making body of the University. He has extensive experience as a natural scientist and process engineer, and has held several senior executive positions in the corporate sector. He has widespread experience in managing and introducing regulatory reform in parastatals. To read his biography, click Dr Randall CarolissenBiography.pdf

Leaders of tomorrow are today's partners

- By Wits University

South Africa is a young country and 66% of its population is under the age of 35. This therefore requires the youth to be actively involved as active citizens in the all aspects of society especially the economy said Steven Braudo at Wits University.

Braudo, a member of the Liberty Holdings Executive Committee, delivered the keynote address at the morning graduation of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management where he spoke to graduates about change, building success and what it means to be human.

Click here toSteven Braudo28June13.pdf his address

A former Witsie, Braudo joined Liberty Holdings, the wealth management company, in July 2008, responsible for Liberty’s retail business in South Africa, which has more than 2.1 million individual policyholders, and provides advice on a broad range of risk, investment and retirement products and services

Braudo manages a staff base of 2 117 employees as well as a sales and distribution network of 2 300 financial advisers.  

Prior to joining the Liberty Group, Braudo worked for a multi-manager company, Investment Solutions, where he served as managing director with the overall responsibility for the South African and United Kingdom businesses.

Having qualified as an actuary in 1997, Braudo became a CFA Charter Holder in 2000 and completed an Advanced Management Programme at Harvard in 2007. Before joining Investment Solutions, he worked as an actuary at Commercial Union Life.

He is a member of the Actuarial Society of South Africa, the Institute of Actuaries in the United Kingdom, as well as the Young Presidents' Association and the CFA Institute in the USA.

Kindness, social justice, courage

- By Vivienne Rowland

Kindness, social justice and courage were the three main points of an address by Professor Melissa Steyn to graduands at the Faculty of Humanities’ graduation ceremony on Monday, 30 June 2014.

Steyn, the founding director of the Wits Centre for Diversity Studies and the Department of Science and Technology- National Research Foundation National Chair in Critical Diversity Studies, reminded the graduating students that they represent a very important part of society.

“As graduates with the particular qualifications that you have, you must know that you hold a very important kind of consciousness as you move forward and take your positions of responsibility,” said Steyn.

She said that it is important in any society that a critical group of people hold the capacity for social self-reflection. “As the graduates of this faculty, you are eminently equipped to ask the critical questions as decisions get made.”

Steyn also quoted the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu: “Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness has to do with knowing our connection with what makes us human. I would like to think that humanities graduates are the designated thinkers of our society,” said Steyn. Steyngrad.mp3.

Professor Adam Habib, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Wits University, had stern words for the fresh graduands: “You represent hope in a society that is struggling to rebuild itself. In this unequal world, there are millions of people who never have the privilege to attend a university,” said Habib.

Biography Professor Melissa Steyn.pdf

Biography: Mark Heywood

- By Wits University

Mr Mark Heywood grew up in Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana and England. 

He holds a BA Honours degree in English Language and Literature from Balliol College, Oxford University. After graduating from Oxford in 1986 he worked for the Marxist Workers Tendency of the ANC, first in London and then from 1989 to 1994 in South Africa. During this time he was instrumental in setting up campaigns such as the Philemon Mauku Defence Campaign, the Leeukop Political Prisoners Support Committee and the Johannesburg Inner City Community Forum. 

He also completed a Masters degree in African literature at Wits and lectured and wrote on the influences of Shakespeare on African writing and politics in South Africa. 

Mr Heywood joined the AIDS Law Project in 1994, becoming its head in 1997 and executive director in 2006. In 1998, he co-founded the Treatment Action Campaign. 

In 2007, he was elected as deputy chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council. He is the current chairperson of the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights. 

In 2009, Mr Heywood was appointed as a member of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on the National Health Insurance. 

Mr Heywood has written extensively on HIV, human rights and the law, including co-editing the AIDS and the Law Resource Manual and Health & Democracy: A guide to human rights, health law and policy in post-Apartheid South Africa. He has been part of the legal teams of the AIDS Law Project and the Treatment Action Campaign that have been involved in all the major litigation around HIV and human rights in South Africa.

Lombard delivers a call to action

- By Wits University

At the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Humanities on 3 April 2014, Professor Antoinette Lombard told graduands that the Diagnostic Report of the National Planning Commission (NPC) had identified nine priority challenges, of which two had been elevated as critical and interrelated:

  1. Too few people work
  2. The quality of education available to the majority is poor

“The social and economic fre edom that the National Development Plan (NDP) envisages for South Africa can reach its fullest potential only in the presence of equality. Therefore it is not promising for socioeconomic freedom that the aim of the NDP is to reduce inequality by 2030 by decreasing the Gini coefficient from 0.69 to only 0.6. It emphasises the ongoing struggle against neoliberalism and the search for an inclusive economy for all,” said Lombard.

“Despite the progress that we have made over the past 20 years the reality is that many South Africans remain captive in poverty and inequality.”

Lombard said that equality was a basic human right and that we needed to be prepared for the consequences of continuous inequality which were already evident in the form of protests against lack of basic service delivery and the competition for clean water.

“It is evident in the world and on the continent in particular how extreme inequality provokes outrage because it violates the widely held notion that all people, wherever they are, enjoy certain basic human rights,” she said.

Lombard said these issues posed challenges to graduates to become active role players in development for a sustainable future. She quoted the Chairperson of the NPC Trevor Manuel who said in the foreword to the NDP: “The future is ours, we must make it work.”

However, according to Lombard, you cannot shape the future if you do not start today. She said: “If I can just add to the statement as follows: ‘The future is ours, we must make it work by starting today’.”

About Professor Antoinette Lombard

Professor Antoinette Lombard’s has spent most of her career in academia, primarily on macro social work practice and teaching, including national and international experiences in social work professional and educational matters.

She represents the Association of South African Social Work Education Institutions on the Board of the International Association for Schools of Social Work. She is the coordinator of the Global Agenda for Social Work and Social Development in Africa and represents Africa on the board of the International Consortium for Social Development.

Lombard is currently the Programme Director of the Fordham University and University of Pretoria’s exchange programme. She served for a period of 15 years in professional bodies, including the Interim Council for Social Work; the South African Council for Social Service Professions  and the Professional Board for Social Work. She chaired the Standard Generating Body for Social Work resulting in the first registered minimum standards for the programme in South Africa in 2003.

She also chaired and led the Continuing Professional Development research and policy development process in South Africa culminating in the first policy of the Council.

Widely published on social and economic development; developmental social work and social work education, Lombard serves on the editorial boards of several local and international journals and is a rated researcher.

Biography: Elza Miles

- By Wits University

Elza Miles, born Elza Botha in 1938, obtained a BA degree in Fine Arts in 1960, a BA Honours degree in Afrikaans-Nederlands (cum laude) in 1962 and a Masters degree in Fine Arts in 1964 from the University of Pretoria. 

She completed her D Lit et Phil in 1983 on Maggie Laubser (1886-73) at the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), today known as the University of Johannesburg. 

Miles intermittently taught Art History at RAU, and Art, Afrikaans and English at different high schools such as Hoërskool Die Kruin, the first Afrikaans art school on the Rand, and St Barnabus College in Bosmont. 

The reader for schools, Stanley Bekker en die boikot (1980), written by John Miles, her ex-husband, about the St Barnabus learners’ experiences during the school boycotts, was illustrated by the pupils attending her afternoon classes at St Barnabas. Miles’ three children also contributed illustrations to this reader which was possession banned shortly after its publication by Taurus publishers. 

For several years, Miles worked on a freelance basis for Taurus publishers. She was in charge of the distribution of the majority of its publications and often contravened the postal law by mailing banned books such as Donderdag of Woensdag and Stanley Bekker en die boikot (both by John Miles). She also contributed to the ‘little’ magazine Stet, with Gerrit Olivier en Tienie du Plessis at the helm. Stet was a Taurus publication. 

At St Barnabus College, she taught Elaine and Andrew Mohammed. When Elaine was detained after designing a poster, commemorating the Communist Party, Miles became a member of the support committee of the parents of detainees. She picketed on Saturday mornings and prepared meals for the vegetarian detainees held at the Fort. Her youngest child, Karel, often accompanied her when she delivered the meals. 

Inspired by her artist aunt, Martie Eloff’s scrap books on Afrikaans actors and theatrical groups, Miles did her first scrap book in 1947. To this day, she pursues this activity which may very well account for her subsequent research into the lives of African artists in South Africa. 

When the late Sipho Sepamla invited her in 1986 to join his staff at the Fuba Academy, she revised the syllabus which, at the time, focused on Western norms and Art History. 

Ever since then, research into African artists became a passion. Her quest for information about the South African born artist Ernest Mancoba (1904-2002) of whom art historians in South Africa were unaware at the time, led to extensive travels in France, Britain and Denmark (1990). 

A four month senior research grant by the Human Sciences Research Council enabled this research. In 1994 French and Danish aid assisted her to tie the knots for the ensuing Hand in hand exhibition which showcased the art of Ernest Mancoba and his wife, the Danish sculptress Sonja Ferlov (1911-1984) at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. 

During 1992 she spent hours in the State Archives in Pretoria working through boxes brimful with information. She did extensive fieldwork in Southern Africa: in Botswana, Limpopo (1994), KwaZulu-Natal (1994) and Eastern Cape (2002). Jacob Dhlamini accompanied her to Botswana in 1993 and Karel in 1994. Very often the route was unchartered and on many occasions the overnight accommodation were either a hit or miss affair. 

This groundbreaking research initiated several publications: 

  • Artists’ Birthday Calendar for Fuba Academy with an accompanying exhibition at the South African Association of Arts, Pretoria (1993)
  • Lifeline out of Africa – the art of Ernest Mancoba (1994) which won the Recht Malan Prize (1994), the Old Mutual Literary Award and was honourably mentioned by the Noma awards for publications from Africa in 1995
  • Ernest Mancoba – a resource book (1994)
  • Land and Lives – the story of early African artists (1997)
  • The World of Jean Welz (1997)
  • Nomfanekiso who paints at night – the art of Gladys Mgudlandlu (2002)
  • Polly Street – the story of an Art Centre (2004). 

In addition to writing and publishing, she has been responsible for several major exhibitions. Her first experience of curating a group exhibition occurred in 1986 at the Johannesburg Art Foundation. She invited several creative individuals of different walks of life to interpret the morning when ‘Apartheid was no more’ in the After Apartheid exhibition. 

For the Johannesburg Art Gallery she curated: 

  • Hand in hand (1994-95) for which she was awarded a special FNB Vita Arts Award for curatorship (1994)
  • Current of Africa – the art of Selby Mvusi (1996)
  • Land and Lives (1997)
  • Gladys Mgudlandlu (2002) 

From 1998 to 2000 she researched the visual arts of African artists in South Africa for the Bowmint Collection. This led to her acquaintance in London with Albert Adams (1930-2006), Valerie Desmore (1925-2008) and Louis Maqhubela (born 1939). 

In 2006 she was the recipient of a fellowship from the Department of Arts and Culture and the Mutloatse Arts Heritage Trust enabling her to continue research into the life and work of Selby Mvusi (1929-67). This task completed, the text is entitled To fly with the north bird south – Selby Mvusi and is to be co-published by the Mutloatse Arts Heritage Trust and the University of South Africa Press. 

She freelanced as an art critic for the Afrikaans newspapers Rapport (1972-1976) and Beeld (1983-1990). 

Miles uses her maiden when it comes to her own art. Some of her wood, lino cuts and drawings are held by the Johannesburg Art Gallery, the Iziko National Art Gallery in Cape Town; several South African and American university art collections as well as corporate collections in South Africa.

Joe Thloloe talks about depravity in South Africa

- By Wits University

Wits University has conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Literature on the former South African Press Ombudsman, Joe Thloloe, during a Graduation ceremony on Thursday, 3 April 2014.

The University has elected to recognise Thloloe for his valuable contribution to the field of journalism in a career spanning six decades. Thloloe was applauded at the Faculty of Humanities’ Graduation ceremony for his important role as a leader, an activist for free speech and an exemplar of the values of independent professionalism.

His journalism career started in 1960 when he joined the Bantu World newspaper and was the first black journalist on the Rand Daily Mail. He also worked at the Golden City Post, Drum, Transvaal Post, World and Sowetan, where he was deputy editor. His journalism career was often interrupted by arrests and solitary confinement under the oppressive apartheid government.

He became head of news at SABC and editor-in-chief at eTV. Thloloe was a founder and leading member of the Union of Black Journalists, later renamed Mwasa and most recently the Black Editors’ Forum. He is the former Press Ombudsman, a position in which he has gained enormous respect for his key role in the fight against government intrusion and regulation. A former chairperson of the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism, he is currently a director in the Press Council of South Africa. Read the full Joe Thloloe edited by Nita V2.pdf.

In an address soon after his capping by Wits Chancellor Dikgang Moseneke, the Deputy Chief Justice of South Africa, Thloloe told graduates and guests that he never even in his wildest imagination “conjured up a moment like this, where the august University of the Witwatersrand would honour me for the small decisions I made from one moment to the next as I tried to live my life as well as I could.”

In his address entitled Roots, metaphors and values in our storytelling, Thloloe spoke about professionalism in journalism and a famished South Africa.

As a custodian of ethics in journalism, Thloloe said he was disappointed that two thirds of the 537 complaints received in 2013 against magazines and newspapers, actually adjudicated in favour or complaints pointing to a decline in professionalism.

Thloloe also lamented the lack of diversity in the South African workplace where people seek to replicate themselves by appointing candidates that present a familiar image.

“South Africa should be the richer precisely because of what we have endured over centuries,” he said.

Sharing his guiding principles, Thloloe said his political mentors including the likes of Robert Sobukwe and Nelson Mandela amongst other political greats, had taught him that “the other always comes first”. Consequently, he used his career to tell the lives of the voiceless and downtrodden, ahead of any other stories.

Roots metaphors and values in our storytelling.pdf to read his address.

 Thloloe is currently a visiting associate at the Wits Department of Journalism where he is writing  his memoirs based on his more than 50 years in journalism.

Built environment bears two sides of responsibilities

- By Wits University

Professor Paul Jenkins, Head of the School of Architecture and Planning, has asked the graduates in the built environment to remember their duties to society and the profession as they embark on their new paths.

The built environment is seen as crucial in meeting some of the fundemental needs of society, therefore, those who go on to practice in the industry must display a high level of social and ethical conduct as they discharge their duties, said Jenkins.

There is a “need to act in a professionally responsible and socially responsible manner. Not all professions achieve the latter and some in fact do not seek to achieve that at times.

“This is a challenge for the professions (and we must) look on these two sides of responsibility - which is not only on the narrow definition of the professional responsibility but in a much wider and encompassing definition of social responsibility.”

Although Jenkins made no direct reference to the construction cartels in South Africa, his address had relevance to the graduates who will one day lead the built environment/construction sector. Fifteen construction firms were collectively fined R1.46 billion for collusive tendering by the Competition Commission last year after investigations into the sector proved that unlawful practices was wide spread.

Cautioning against arrogance, Jenkins urged the graduates to "continue to be open to professional and practice-based reflection and not assume that the knowledge from university is what you need to work with.”

“Many others in wider society have forms of relevant and valid knowledge that you need to make what happens happen in the built environment.”

Click Prof Paul Jenkins.mp3 to listen to his speech delivered on Friday, 4 April 2014 at the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment.

About  Professor Paul  Jenkins

Professor Jenkins is an architect, planner and social researcher who has worked on a wide range of aspects in the built environment including architecture, construction, housing, planning and urban studies.

This has included professional practice, policy-making, teaching, training and research with a variety of private sector, non-governmental, local and central government, international aid and community-based organisations, as well as academic institutions.

More than half of his four decade career has been based in Central and Southern Africa. However has served as Professor for Architecture Research at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture in the University of Edinburgh and as Professor of Human Settlements in the School of the Built Environment at Heriot-Watt University.

He has also served as a Visiting Professor at Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, the University of Sao Paulo, as well as the School of Architecture and Planning at Wits University.

Professor Jenkins is widely published sub-Saharan African urban issues, with many academic journal papers to his name, as well as a series of more globally focused books. Some of his books include Architecture, Participation and Society; Housing and Planning in the Rapidly Urbanising World; Urban development and civil society: the role of communities in sustainable cities, and most recently Urbanization, urbanism and urbanity: home spaces and house cultures. He is currently working on a book titled Order and disorder in urban space and form.

His current research focuses on the nature of knowledge and the role of socio-cultural values in architecture and urban development, challenging dominant conceptions of modernity, modernism and modernisation. His most recent research in the African region has been the international, multidisciplinary programme entitled Home space in the African city. Professor Jenkins continues to practice as an architect in southern Africa, and has been implementing a research by design architecture project in Maputo since October 2012.

Don’t trash institutions – Albie Sachs

- By Wits University

“Don’t trivialise the Constitution or Nelson Mandela…. Don’t trash our institutions…. And when you speak, speak with dignity, listen to others and create ensembles of debate and discussion,” Justice Albie Sachs told graduates today, 10 December 2014, during his acceptance speech after being conferred with a Doctor of Laws degree by Wits University.

Sachs said he is often asked whether the South Africa of today is the country he has fought for, to which he always replies: “This is the country I’m fighting for; but it is not the society that we wanted to bring about.” He urged graduates to especially respect and protect the institutions of democracy today.

“We fought so hard for them. Use them and use them well. Presidents come and go; Public Protectors come and go; Ministers of Justice come and go; but institutions remain. Institutions consolidate those things we were fighting for. Revere them and protect them. Build them up. Make them vibrant. Make them a source of energy, contestation, deeply imbued with the values of our society, yes, but don’t undermine them. Don’t ridicule them. Don’t deprive them of dignity. So much went in to creating them,” he said.

Lastly, Sachs also urged all South Africans to speak to and debate each other with civility and dignity. “If you have a good argument, you don’t have to bellow. You don’t have to shout, you don’t have to be disruptive to others. You listen to others,” Sachs said.

Albie Sachs.mp3

Download images.

Sachs was honoured during the December graduation ceremony for graduates in the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, in recognition of his “selfless dedication to human rights, and the expression in our Constitution of the democratic ideals for which he and many others fought. His enduring gifts to his country include a Constitution that incorporates the value system by which he lives, his progressive interpretations that meaningfully improve the lived reality of many South Africans, and his challenge to lawyers to explore innovative solutions to difficult problems.”

Citation for Justice Albie Sachs.pdf

 

 

 

Habib delivers first graduation address

- By Wits University

Wits Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof. Adam Habib delivered his inaugural graduation address when he addressed graduands at the Faculty of Humanities graduation on 24 June 2013. 

Habib, who took office on 1 June 2013, delivered a moving speech, touching on points regarding his own years as a Wits student, his family life and his illustrious career thus far.  "Like you, I am a Witsie and very grateful for the opportunity to spend my formative years at WIts. Besides the great education I received here, this University was also the conduit for another achievement in my life, that is marrying my wife, Fatima, after we became 'refugees of love' at Wits. Today I am deeply honoured to return to my alma mater not as an alumnus but as the Vice-Chancellor and Principal," he said. 

VC Prof Adam Habib Grad Speech 240613.doc

SKA Head receives honorary doctorate

- By Wits University

Wits University has conferred an honorary doctorate on Dr Bernie Fanaroff, Project Director of South Africa’s Square Kilometre Array bid and the construction of the Karoo Array Telescope, part of the University’s annual March graduations.

Fanaroff's academic and professional career started when he was awarded a BSc Hons in Theoretical Physics from the University of the Witwatersrand. Building on this foundation he went on to complete a PhD in Radio Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Cambridge. He also holds an LLD (Honoris Causa) from Rhodes University and a D Phil (Honoris Causa) from the University of the Western Cape. He is a Visiting Professor in Physics at Oxford University.

In the 1980s, Fanaroff played a pivotal role in the trade union movement. In 2003 he was appointed as project director of the SA’s SKA bid that successfully resulted in South Africa being awarded the largest share of the SKA - the world's most powerful radio telescope.

In his address, Fanaroff thanked the graduands for choosing science as a study and career path.

“A degree in science gives you more than a knowledge of science. It also gives you the skill and confidence to solve problems, not only problems in your own field, but in the wider world. It gives you the ability to learn quickly and to understand how systems work. It gives you the skill and the confidence to be innovative, not only in science, but in whatever you do. These are qualities which are in short supply in South Africa, as they are in many other countries,” Fanaroff said.

He also addressed youth unemployment, calling it “our most urgent problem” and an increasing problem around the world, in both the developed and the developing world.

“One of the reasons is that the nature of employment is changing. Whether we like it or not, educated and skilled people are more likely to get work in the modern economy. We are deluding ourselves if we think that everyone can start a small business, especially without education and skills. Countries can become wealthy because they have abundant oil or gas or gold or iron ore, but even those countries need an educated and skilled population for sustainable growth.”

He continued: “I think that the most important challenge still facing us after 19 years of democracy is to establish a successful basic education system. We tried to do too many things and to make too many changes too quickly. We added to the problems of the schools by abolishing teacher training colleges, nursing colleges and technikons and by weakening the artisan training system. The result is that we have too few highly skilled technicians and artisans, and too few highly skilled and capable teachers, nurses and police. We have far too few engineers and scientists and too few doctors.”

Citation for Dr Bernie Fanaroff.pdf

SPEECH TO THE SCIENCE GRADUATION WITS UNIVERSITY ON 27 MARCH 2013.pdf

Fanarofforiginaledited.mp3 (.mp3)

Pandor urges engineers to stay

- By Wits University

The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, challenged some 200 graduating engineers from Wits University to forget about their “boarding passes and visas until every village in South Africa have a bridge, everyone walks on tar roads and all cities are greened”. 

Opening the University’s June-July Graduation Cluster on Monday, the 25th of June 2012, Pandor told some 200 graduates from the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (EBE), that recent statistics show that in South Africa one engineer services 3 166 people, while in Brazil there is one engineer for every 227 people. 

“South Africa is in desperate need of professional men and women who have the courage to do great things and who could make practical changes,” she said. 

According to Pandor South Africa has many great debaters and many people with excellent ideas, but there are still millions of people who live in poverty on the perimeters of social change. “We need practical agents of change. We need people who can roll-up their sleeves and who can bring radical and progressive social change,” she said. 

On Monday, Wits awarded 13 students with doctorates in engineering; as well as 47 Masters of Engineering degrees; and 44 Masters of Science in Engineering degrees.

The midyear graduations are for under-graduate as well as postgraduate students in the Faculties of EBE; Humanities; Science; Commerce Law & Management; and Health Sciences, and run until the 5th of July 2012. 

Wits will also be awarding five Honorary Doctorates: Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, Dr Elza Miles, David Nthubu Koloane and Professors Duncan Mitchell and Albert Solomon. Bishop Paul Verryn will receive a Gold Medal.

To read more about the graduations, click here.

For more information, visit the Wits Graduations webpage here

If the media would like to attend any of the graduations, kindly email your request to wits.news@wits.ac.za

MEDIA COVERAGE:

ONLINE COVERAGE.pdf (pdf.)

Broadcasting (mp.3) 

Good Hope25 June 2012.mp3, 25 June 2012

Lotus FM25 June 2012.mp3, 25 June 2012

LotusFM27 June 2012.mp3, 27 June 2012

Munghana Lonene25 June 2012.mp3, 25 June 2012

SAFM25 June 2012.mp3, 25 June 2012

TobelaFM25 June 2012.mp3, 25 June 2012

YFM25 June 2012.mp3, 25 June 2012

Distinguished alumnus worthy recipient

- By Erna van Wyk

The University of the Witwatersrand today (2 July 2014) conferred an honorary doctorate on Professor Peter Sarnak for his distinguished contribution to the field of mathematics during the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Science in the Wits Great Hall.

Sarnak, a Wits alumnus and the Eugene Higgins Professor of Mathematics at Princeton University, was also praised for his contribution to the development of mathematics in South Africa. He is one of the world’s leading mathematical scientists working in the fields of combinatorics and number theory, and the 2014 recipient of the Wolf Prize in Mathematics.

While in South Africa, Sarnak will deliver a public lecture on Thursday, 3 July 2014, titled: Aspects of Number Theory. Click here for the invitation and more details.

Addressing Science graduates, Sarnak said society needs mathematicians to “tackle a range of problems” and he urge graduands keep on learning every day.

“As you end this period of being examined and assessed, you will have to take on a new identity. You won’t officially be a student any more but don’t abandon your student identity completely. Instead, rework it. Maintain the lens of a student and with it, humility and curiosity. Question dogma, maintain courage to tackle the unknown and above all, remain open to learning,” he said.

Peter Sarnak.mp3 to his full address here.

Graduation addressProfessor Peter Sarnak.pdf his full address.

Download a high res image.

Background:

CITATIONPeter Sarnakedited.pdf his full citation.

The Wits School of Computational and Applied Mathematics (CAM) nominated Sarnak for an honorary degree. His contribution to mathematics in South Africa includes presenting plenary lectures at joint congresses of the American Mathematical Society and the South African Mathematical Society held in South Africa in 1997 and 2011, to stimulate research amongst young mathematical scientists.

He was a member of a panel set up by the South African Department of Science and Technology, and the National Research Foundation to review the state of the mathematical sciences in South Africa.

The panel’s report recommended the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in the Mathematical Sciences to focus on the development of high level research programmes for postgraduate students. As a result of this report, the NRF-DST Centre of Excellence in Mathematical and Statistical Sciences (MaSS) was established at Wits in April this year.

Sarnak holds a BSc Honours in Pure Mathematics from Wits, and a PhD from Stanford University. In 1991 he was appointed Professor at Princeton University, a position he currently still holds.


Gold medal for Robert Pullen

- By Wits University

Wits University awarded a Gold Medal to civil engineer Robert Pullen during a graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Engineering an the Built Environment on 11 December 2013.

Pullen was honoured for his outstanding contribution to the practice of water resources engineering and especially to the wider engineering profession in South Africa. He obtained the degrees of BSc (Eng) in 1961 and MSc(Eng) in 1970 in Civil Engineering at the University of the Witwatersrand, and an MBL at the University of South Africa in 1978.

During his professional career Bob Pullen was involved in investigations of major floods in South Africa and the development of national policy on flood management. He was the technical editor of the first major policy document published by the Department of Water Affairs in 1986 Management of the Water Resources of the RSA, which in updated form remains a standard reference for water resources in South Africa. He played a pioneering role in promoting consideration of the natural environment in engineering activities in South Africa, and was instrumental in the drafting of the policy document which led to the seven Built Environment Professions Acts of 2001. His outstanding professional achievements were rewarded by the award of a Gold Medal by the South African Institution of Civil Engineering in 2001.

Recognising the role of education in the development of the civil engineering profession, Pullen has maintained contact with tertiary institutions through postgraduate supervision and by serving on the Council of the University of the Witwatersrand.

Robert Pullen edited by Nita 21oct.pdf the citiation.

Robert Pullen1.mp3 to Pullen's address.

Focus our sorrows on Mandela’s gift

- By Erna van Wyk

American scholar and activist, Professor Gay McDougall paid tribute to former president Nelson Mandela during her acceptance speech after being awarded with a degree of Doctor of Laws (Honoris Causa) from Wits University on Monday, 1 July.

McDougall, who served on the first Independent Electoral Commission during the 1994 elections, remembered fondly how she stood by Mandela when he voted for the first time. “I had the tremendous privilege to stand by Nelson Mandela when he achieved one of his great ambitions when he casted his vote for the very first time in a democratic, non-racial South Africa,” she said. Click McDougall on standing next to Mandela when he voted.mp3 to listen to the audio. 

She told graduands from the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management that in South Africa as well as all around the world this is a “time of great anxiety and sorrow, but I hope that we all can focus our emotions on the tremendous gift that his (Mandela) life has been to all of us worldwide.” Click McDougall on gift Mandela s life has been.mp3 to listen to the audio. 

Having fought both for Civil Rights in the United States and against apartheid in South Africa, McDougall said it is possible to bring about change in any society. She highlighted the lessons learned from Mandela’s life: “Your great, elder leader has taught the world about the power of personal courage; he has taught us that it is important to make your life into something that is larger than yourself…. A truly good and great life teaches you something: It is not about what you receive, but what you give… ”. Click McDougall on what Mandela taught us.mp3 to listen to the audio. 

McDougall presently holds the position Mulligan Distinguished Visiting Professor of International Law at Fordham University Law School in New York City. Her contributions to the field of law and human rights are considered by her peers to be innovative, influential and visionary. 

As a scholar and activist in the field of Human Rights law and practice, in South Africa she is well known for her contribution to bring about the end of apartheid and role integral role she played in helping South Africa shape its ground-breaking Constitution. 

In the early 1990s, McDougall served as Director of the Southern Africa Project of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law, based in Washington DC. It was in this capacity that, during 1993, McDougall acted as the principal organiser of a six-part series of international consultations on constitutional options for a post-apartheid South Africa. These consultations were held in South Africa and were aimed at providing the pre-1994 negotiating teams with international comparative legal systems for the development of the new South African Constitution. 

These consultations led to consideration of issues, such as, re-organising the judiciary, developing a South African specific understanding of affirmative action programmes, the idea of a national public defender service (the current Legal Aid South Africa), constitutional guarantees of gender equality, and evaluating electoral systems. 

So marked was McDougall's contribution to the pre-1994 negotiation period that she was appointed to serve on the first Independent Electoral Commission to oversee the 1994 elections in South Africa. She served in this capacity between January and June 1994, as one of five non-South Africans on the 16-member statutory and constitutional body. 

To read her full citation, click CitationGay McDougallfinal edit.pdf 

To listen to the full audio of her address, click GayMcDougallFull audio.mp3 

For a high resolution image, click here

'Be a Bob Marley accountant'

- By Wits University

Dr Joe Molete is passionate about integrating leadership, science and music to inspire and coach emerging leaders and entrepreneurs to positions of leadership and wealth. This includes facilitating leadership workshops, working with scientists and entrepreneurs to commercialise their inventions, and - surprisingly - bringing joy to others as a disc jockey.

His time spent spinning the decks in nightclubs is just one of the many life experiences which made 'DJ Mazoza' a popular guest speaker during the June 2013 season of graduation ceremonies at Wits. Molete also spoke about the animosity he felt towards his teachers when he failed his first year at Wits before going on to pass with distinction, and he asked the graduands of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management on 27 June to applaud their lecturers for maintaining high standards.

He said everyone needed a strong purpose, a sense of direction, so as to achieve greatness and make an impact in the world. 'My sense of purpose is largely influenced by my experiences during early parts of my life. Growing up I was healed by a traditional healer after a long illness and various attempts by western medical practitioners to cure me. That fuelled my desire to want to integrate traditional medicine with western medicine. I believe that 70% of people who visit traditional healers will benefit from well formulated, packaged, and quality controlled and produced traditional medicine. It was through this motivation that I obtained a PhD in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry to understand how different genes are regulated in response to various stimuli such as traditional medicine.

'It is for this reason that I currently work for the CSIR Biosciences with a group of 180 brilliant scientists where amongst many other things we interact with traditional healers, test their formulations in the lab and help them produce quality tested samples in our Bio Manufacturing Industry Development Centre. Indeed South Africa is the third most diverse country in the world after Brazil and Colombia with unique species of plants, animals, and multicultural people, and there is no reason why we cannot develop our own products based on indigenous knowledge. So, make sure your life is anchored around a strong motivation.'

Molete encouraged the graduands to embrace and utilise their assets fully to make a difference. 'I have seen many people with twisted priorities where they put a lot of effort on the exterior while neglecting the interior. It is the interior condition that we successful people prioritise and I want you to do the same. The sacrifices you made as a student to gain more knowledge have enriched your interior. Continue learning new things beyond your degrees so as to view the world as it is and not with illusionary eyes.'

To read his bio, click here

To read his address, click here

his

Wits honours former head of UCT

- By Wits University

Professor Stuart Saunders  being hooded by Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, President of Convocation“I am not sorry that more and more young people whose main goal is future financial success seek careers in other faculties because the care of the sick and the advancement of human health should be at the centre of what you do and not how much money you can make out of it. The idealism which lies at the heart of the healing professions is crucial.”

These words were aptly delivered to graduands from the Faculty of Health Sciences on 11 December 2014 by Professor Stuart Saunders. 

Saunders was the guest speaker at the Faculty’s afternoon graduation ceremony where he was also awarded an honorary degree by the University. The Doctor of Medicine degree was conferred upon Saunders for his sterling contributions, both to the medical field as well as the higher education sector.

The former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cape Town (UCT), who has served in positions of national significance delivered an address which spoke about what is means to work with people when they are most vulnerable. He spoke about ethics, compassion, and inequality in medicine.

In an effort to conscientise the graduands to do more for the poor, Saunders said diseases are given prominence and funding support depending on who is affected.

 “It will come as no surprise to you to know that most of the advances in treatment have come in the case of hepatitis C because that it the more common hepatitis virus causing problems in North American and Europe as opposed to B which is rife in  Africa and Asia.

It is true that we now have a vaccine for hepatitis B which is helping to eliminate the disease and with it many cases of primary liver cancer but the disparity in recent advances in treatment is striking.”

West Africa is being ravaged by Ebola and has killed over 5000 people thus far.

"The nature of the (ebola) virus has been known for forty years and yet there have been few attempts to develop a vaccine or any therapeutic drugs. The reason for this is clear. It is a disease which has affected poor Africans in poorly developed countries and not in North America or Europe."

Living in an age of accelerated technological development has its benefits and downside opined the co-founder of the Liver Research Centre at UCT.

Saunders narrated the story of Arnold Relman, a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, and a renowned nephrologist who fell down the stairs at the age of 90 and spent some time in hospital. Relman wrote on his experiences and was appalled by the fact that the doctors were more concerned with looking at their computers than relating to the patient.

“Patients are human beings. They are anxious, frightened and vulnerable and you must make emotional and physical contact with them,” he cautioned.

“Being human and having humane values are still central to the practice of all health professionals.” To read his speech, click here.

About Saunders:

Stuart Saunders has been a major influence and participant in higher education for half a century in ensuring that the spirit and values of a liberal education survived in South Africa before 1994, and since 1994, in finding and channelling international resources to promote and enable research at South African Universities.

Saunders has been honoured by a number of universities. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from six institutions: the Universities of Aberdeen, Sheffield, Rhodes, Cape Town, Princeton and Toronto. He is a Fellow of the College of Physicians of South Africa, the Royal Society of South Africa and of the Royal College of Physicians London. He is an honorary fellow of the College of Medicine.

He is a trustee of several foundations and trusts, including, the Claude Leon Foundation; the Fox Foundation; the Webb Trust; and the UCT Trust in the United Kingdom. For more on his achievements, click here.

Gifts and what we do with them

- By Wits University

At the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management on 2 April 2014, Isaac Shongwe, Executive Director and board member of Barloworld Limited, told graduands that they were the lucky ones among thousands who would love to be in their shoes.

"You are a very special group of young South Africans. I have no doubt that you worked very hard to be sitting where you are today. You are smart, gifted and committed, and for that achievement I congratulate you," he said.

Shongwe encouraged the graduands to reflect on the gifts they had been given - by their parents, by those who assisted them financially, by their professors and by the South African tax payers. "The challenge of being given a gift, especially a higher order gift, a gift of education is what you do with that gift," he said.

Some of the questions that Shongwe encouraged the graduands to ask included:

  • Will you be motivated by serving others; or focus only on yourself and your own narrow set of interests?
  • Will you respect and trust others: or will you exploit and abuse them for you own benefit?
  • Will you speak out and be heard; or will you be silent and fearful?

Read the full address.

About Isaac Shongwe

Isaac Shongwe is an Executive Director and Board member of Barloworld Limited, a global company with its headquarters here in Johannesburg, South Africa. Barloworld focuses on Infrastructure Development, Power Generation, Automotive / Logistics and Agriculture.

Shongwe founded the Letsema Consulting Company, a strategic management consulting firm. He is the founder and Chairman of Letsema Investments, a black owned investment company in SA. Letsema is engaged in a range of ventures, predominantly in the Logistics and Information Technology sectors.

No stranger to Wits, Shongwe Chairs the Boards of the Wits Business School and the Open Society Foundation in South Africa. He is a member of several NGO boards which include The Aspen Institute, The Ragon Institute and Endeavour - an NGO focusing on entrepreneurship development in SA. In addition, he is heavily involved in social and community upliftment projects.

Shongwe also founded The Letsema Foundation, which focuses on leadership development, entrepreneurship and education. He is a founding partner and Chairman of the African Leadership Initiative in South Africa. 

A Rhodes Scholar, Shongwe holds a BA Honours degree in Economics and Political Science from Wesleyan University in the USA and a Masters in Management Studies from Oxford University.

At the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management on 2 April 2014, Isaac Shongwe, Executive Director and board member of Barloworld Limited, told graduands that they were the lucky ones among thousands who would love to be in their shoes.

Think yourself to a better state

- By Wits University

Asking students who are about to graduate what they know about their brain might seem like a rhetorical question. After all, the successful completion of their studies is evidence that they are masters of their own brains.  However, the question turned out to be one that is necessary in examining the way living beings use their cognitive abilities.

Psychology professor David Maree from the University of Pretoria, a guest speaker at the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Humanities on Thursday, 3 April 1014, shared four illuminating facts about the brain and its capabilities.

His narration of how the human brain stores memory, might have made the guests in the Great Hall question the reliability of their own memories.

Maree said new knowledge shows that when memories are recalled “they are constructed from scratch to form the image or concept you are thinking about”. Essentially, what people remember is not always the truth, something which defence lawyers in the Oscar Pistorius trial will agree with.

Click Prof David Mareeweb.mp3 to listen to his speech sharing how you can think yourself into a better state and erase bad break-ups. Read Prof David Maree Wits 3April14.pdf about Maree’s career and interests.

Question authority in a respectful manner

- By Wits University

Prof. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela’s address to Wits graduates about to claim their place in the world hit on several issues at the core of national discourse and discontent.

She said that while citizens have a right and should question authority when issues of principle are at stake, this should be done with responsibility.

“Question authority in a thoughtful and respectful manner. Taper your rights to express outrage with moral wisdom. When speaking out “we should always be guided, not by a desire to do malice. Speaking out should be inspired by a desire to do what is just and right.”

Gobodo-Madikizela delivered the keynote address at the Faculty of Humanities graduation ceremony on Wednesday, 26 June 2013.

Click PumlaMadikizelagobodomp3.mp3 to listen to her speech.

Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela is a clinical psychologist and Senior Research Professor at the University of the Free State. Since her work on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, her research has focused on the reparative elements of victim-perpetrator dialogue in the aftermath of mass trauma and violence. Her current research applies the insights emerging from her study of forgiveness to explore the psychoanalytic dimensions of empathy in the context of perpetrators’ remorse and victims’ forgiveness. Her interests in relation to empathy focuses on the web of feelings and the transformative shifts that open up in dialogue processes between former enemies.

Besides her scholarly articles, her books include A Human Being Died that Night: A Story of Forgiveness, for which she won the Alan Paton Award in South Africa, and the prestigious Christopher Award in the United States; Narrating our Healing: Perspectives on Healing Trauma, as co-author; and as co-editor of Memory, Narrative and Forgiveness: Perspectives on the Unfinished Journeys of the Past.

Gobodo-Madikizela has delivered several endowed lectures and keynote addresses internationally. Her honours include an Honorary Doctor of Humanities from the Holy Cross College in Worcester in Massachusetts; the Eleanor Roosevelt Award; and being honoured amongst the  100 People who Made a Difference in the Permanent Exhibit of the Hall of Heroes in the National Freedom Centre in Cincinnati, Ohio in the United States.

A Gold Medal for Prof. Naik

- By Wits University

Wits University awarded a gold medal to Prof. Kantilal Naik for his contribution to the University, the School of Computational and Applied Mathematics, the country, and the community of Azaadville.

The medal was presented to him at the Faculty of Science's graduation ceremony on Wednesday, 27 March 2013. 

Citation:  Kantilal Naik

Before joining the academic staff at the University of the Witwatersrand Prof. Kantilal Naik was first a senior Science teacher at Lenasia Indian High School (1964-1965) and Roodepoort Asiatic School (1966-1974). Prof. Naik then joined the Transvaal College of Education lecturing in Physical Science, Educational Technology, and Guidance and Counselling (1975-1980). Prof. Naik was promoted to the position of Senior Lecturer at the Transvaal College of Education in 1980.

He then left the Transvaal College of Education and was appointed as a Senior Tutor in the Department of Statistics at the University of the Witwatersrand from April 1981 till December 1985. In January 1986 Prof. Naik was transferred to the Department of Applied Mathematics and was promoted to the position of Senior Lecturer on 1 January 1991. He worked there until his retirement in December 2003. Prof. Naik has been appointed as an Honorary Adjunct Professor in the School of Computational and Applied Mathematics since 2010. Prof. Naik’s position as an Honorary Adjunct Professor has been renewed until the end of 2015.

He holds a BSc degree (1964) and a BEd degree (1974) from Wits. He also completed a MEd (with distinction) at UNISA in 1980, and a DEd (UNISA) in 1989. Prof. Naik has co-supervised two MSc students, published two textbooks and has written extensively on education. Prof. Arthur Bleksley wrote a foreword for Prof. Naik’s textbook on Physical Science entitled Calculations in Physical Science.

In 1971, Prof. Naik was arrested for associating with anti-apartheid activists and was detained at John Vorster Square. While in detention he was tortured by members of the security branch. His experiences while in detention are now part of a historic record maintained by the South African History Archive (SAHA) entitled Between Life and Death on detention at John Vorster Square.

In 1996 Prof. Naik gave testimony at the TRC hearings where he was given evidence of documents from the Department of Justice archives which showed that he was badly tortured at John Vorster Square. He is currently writing a book on his experiences in detention, focusing on the death in detention of Ahmed Timol. The book is based on his interactions with Ahmed Timol in the weeks leading up to Timol’s death. Prof. Naik spends a significant amount of time documenting the history of the Indian community in South Africa. 

During his tenure as a staff member in the School, he served the School with distinction making a significant contribution its teaching activities. Although he has retired from the School, he continues to serve the University as a member of convocation. As part of Prof. Naik’s duties as an executive member of convocation, he serves on both Senate and Council. Furthermore, he serves the School and the Faculty on various promotions committees and continues to make a contribution to the School of Chemistry through his work showcasing chemistry and chemical reactions to the general public.

He has also made a significant contribution to the community of Azaadvaille. He has been involved with the School Governing Body of the Ahmed Timol Secondary School since 1996. He was instrumental in the name change of the school from the Azaadville Secondary School to the Ahmed Timol Secondary School. The renaming took place on the 29th April 1998 when Nelson Mandela officially opened the new school.

Prof. Naik continues to work with the community of Azaadville and surrounding communities to improve education among the youth.

The University deems it fit to award Prof. Kantilal Naik with a gold medal for his significant contribution to the University, the School of Computational and Applied Mathematics, the country, and the community of Azaadville. 

South Africa needs leaders

- By Wits University

Prof. Ian Jandrell addressed graduands from the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment who graduated on 25 June 2013. 

Jandrell is the Transnet Professor of Systems Engineering in the newly established Wits Transnet Centre for Systems Engineering hosted by the School of Mechanical, Industrial and Aeronautical Engineering at Wits. He is also a Personal Professor in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering where he holds the CBI-Electric Chair of Lightning. He served as the Head of the School of Electrical and Information Engineering for ten years.

A professional engineer, Jandrell is a thoroughbred Witsie who obtained his BSc in Electrical Engineering from Wits, his Graduate Diploma in Engineering specialising in Electrical Engineering from Wits, as well as his PhD from this very institution. He is a Fellow of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers and a Senior Member of the internationally accredited Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

Jandrell is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Lightning Research and a Member of the Scientific Committee of the International Conference on Lightning Protection. He is a reviewer for a number of international journals including the Journal on Atmospheric Research and the IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation. He also serves as a trustee of the Accenture Education Trust in South Africa and holds a number of company directorships.  And he currently serves as the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists.

In his address in encouraged the graduands to become leaders of change in South Africa, to care for their fellow South Africans and to never stop learning.

To read his address, click Graduation Speech Prof Ian Jandrell.pdf

To listen to his address, click Prof Jandrellmp3.mp3 (mp3)

Biography: Matthew Gutmann

- By Wits University

As Vice-President of Brown University, Professor Matthew Gutmann has led the University’s efforts to build collaborations and exchanges with leading institutions around the world. He has the responsibility of recruiting top faculty and students from across the globe, and overseeing major internationalisation programmes. 

As a scholar, he has an international reputation in the fields of democracy and social change; poverty, inequality, and development; health; and gender. 

He has published books and articles in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Turkish. 

These include:

  • The Meanings of Macho: Being a Man in Mexico City;
  • The Romance of Democracy: Compliant Defiance in Mexico City;
  • Changing Men and Masculinities in Latin America;
  • Fixing Men: Sex, Birth Control and AIDS in Mexico;
  • and with Catherine Lutz: Breaking Ranks: Iraq Veterans Speak out against the War. 

Most of his ethnographic research has been conducted in Mexico, although he has also conducted collaborative research on United Nations Peacekeepers in Haiti and Lebanon. 

Gutmann has a Master’s in Public Health, and in 2008 he won the Eileen Basker Memorial Award for the best scholarly study on gender and health. 

He has also served as a visiting professor in France, Mexico, and Spain and has worked in  Latin America for the last two decades. His undergraduate major was in modern and classical Chinese.

To listen to Gutmann's speech, click Mathew Gutmann.mp3

Citation: Duncan Mitchell

- By Wits University

Duncan Mitchell was born in Germiston, South Africa, in 1941.  After matriculating, he completed a BSc degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1963, majoring in Physics, Mathematics and Philosophy of Science. Following his BSc Honours in physics, Mitchell went on to complete his MSc degree in Biophysics, with a dissertation entitled “Infrared optical properties of excised human skin”. For his PhD, Mitchell registered in the Department of Physics at Wits but under the co-supervision of the highly respected physiologist, Cyril Wyndham.

This was a time of great tumult for the gold mining industry in South Africa.  As the industry had grown and mines got deeper, fatalities among underground workers rose, with most of the deaths caused by heatstroke. In 1968, Mitchell joined Wyndham’s team as a member of staff of the Human Sciences Laboratory to study body temperature regulation in adult men, in conditions closely simulating those in deep level mining. Mitchell brought a deep understanding of physical principles to this research endeavour and the intellectual ability to apply these principles to biological systems. Mitchell built a sophisticated wind-tunnel for human experimentation, the first of its kind in the world, and set about determining the tolerances to heat of adult men. This produced seminal work on the principles of measurement of heat transfer from the body of humans and, at the time, the Human Sciences Laboratory of the Chamber of Mines was considered the most highly reputed facility in the world for the study of human thermoregulation. Mitchell completed his PhD in 1972 and, in the same year, he was awarded his first gold medal for research by the Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa.

In 1973, he took up a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute for Medical Research in London.   Here, with Dr Richard Hellon of that Institute, Mitchell studied neurophysiological techniques for uncovering underlying mechanisms of somatosensory sensations, including that of pain. He also developed an interest in the physiology of fever.

In 1975 Duncan Mitchell returned to South Africa and joined the Department of Medical Physiology at Wits, as a Senior Lecturer. He was appointed Professor of Physiology in 1976, a title he held for more than thirty years, until his formal retirement from the University in 2006. Mitchell founded his own research unit, which was later recognised by the University Research Committee as the “Brain Function Research Unit”.  Mitchell’s research had developed into an interest in the physiology of brain functions, specifically those of temperature regulation, fever, pain and sleep. Under Mitchell’s leadership, the group gained substantial international recognition and has become a world leader in the fields of fever and temperature regulation, as well as, in the remote sensing of physiological variables in conscious and free-ranging animals. This research has demanded the highest level of data and measurement technology and is now placed at the forefront of assessing physiological responses to climate change in animals.

Duncan Mitchell’s first love is research, but a close second is teaching. In 1977, Mitchell was the first recipient of the Daubenton Prize for teaching, an award made by the medical student body of the Faculty of Health Sciences. In 1978 he became Associate Director (part-time) of the newly established Division of Medical Education in the Faculty of Medicine. In 1994 he was a recipient of the PV Tobias/Convocation Distinguished Teachers Award. In 2001, on the occasion of Mitchell’s 60th birthday, the School of Physiology established the “Duncan Mitchell Prize for Physiology Honours” for the most distinguished BSc Honours graduate in physiology, in the Faculty of Science, in recognition of Mitchell’s particular contribution to the teaching of Honours students. Mitchell has also supervised more than forty Masters’ and Doctoral students, many of whom have gone on to positions of seniority and prestige in research and higher education institutions throughout the world.

Duncan Mitchell’s research career, which has spanned more than forty years at Wits, also spanned several disciplines. He was able to move with intellectual ease from physics to physiology to medicine to zoology and to eco-physiology, largely through doing what he did best - continually applying physical principles to biological systems. He received the British Association Medal of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science and was a winner of one of the “Four Outstanding Young South Africans” award – both in 1980, and represented South Africa at an international meeting of ‘Outstanding Young Person Award Winners’ in Taipei in 1981. He was the first South African to be elected a corresponding member of the American Physiological Society and one of the first South Africans to be elected to the membership of the Physiological Society of the United Kingdom. He represented South Africa at the General Assembly of the International Union of Physiological Sciences in Sydney, Australia in 1983, again in Vancouver, Canada in 1986, and in Helsinki, Finland in 1989. He was elected as Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa in 1984 and an Honorary Fellow of the Physiological Society of Southern Africa in 2003.

From the discipline of zoology came his second gold medal - he was awarded the prestigious  Gold Medal of the  Zoological Society of South Africa, in recognition of his scientific contribution to zoological research in South Africa, in 2000.

In 1984, the first year of its introduction of a rating system for researchers, the Foundation for Research Development (now the National Research Foundation), awarded him an A rating, a rating he has held for 22 years, probably the longest of any A-rated researcher at Wits. He continues to be the only A-rated physiologist in South Africa. In 1997, during the Faculty of Health Sciences’ Jubilee year, he was awarded a Jubilee Medal. In 2011, Mitchell won the Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award, considered as one of the most prestigious research awards in South Africa.

He has served the Medical Research Council by being a member of its Board and award committees over a period of 25 years. Concurrently, he served the National Research Foundation, before that the Foundation for Research Development, and before that the CSIR, on their evaluation panels, award committees and the Senate of the NRF. He still chairs the Appeals Committee for the NRF. In 2007 he was one of the NRF President’s Awardees. He has been on the Council of the Royal Society of South Africa, and was a founder member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa.

Duncan Mitchell is South Africa’s most cited and distinguished physiologist. He is Wits University’s longest-standing A-rated researcher. He has held office in South Africa’s most prestigious scientific and research societies. He has represented South African scientists and physiologists at international assemblies. He held distinguished positions in the University, including serving as Head of Department, Assistant Dean for Research, a member of the Boards of both the Faculties of Science and Health Sciences and their Executive Committees, the Senate of the University and its Academic Board, many of the University’s and Faculty’s committees, and has served on the University’s Council. He has selflessly and enthusiastically sought to further the careers of young students, postgraduates and scientists so that they too can become distinguished. Duncan Mitchell’s career has been one of excellence in teaching and research, and in leadership and service to the scientific community of this country. His unfailing dedication to this University has brought great distinction to it. It is entirely fitting that the University recognises his contribution by conferring on him the degree of Doctor of Science honoris causa.

The world needs graduates from humanities

- By Wits University

Humanities graduates stand a good chance in securing employment as graduates in the science and engineering disciplines.

The high unemployment rate has led many to speculate that the majority of unemployed graduates are those who have a qualification in social sciences or humanities. However, Professor Norman Duncan, says there is no evidence to support this belief and the narrow debates about the value of humanities.  

In fact, Duncan says the discipline is experiencing an increase in valorisation and this is attributed to the recognition that ‘humanities are vital to contemporary society particularly as far as solving the problems in the world created by, amongst others, the greed of the powerful” and a range of systemic factors.

Duncan was a guest speaker at the Faculty of Humanities’ graduation ceremony held on Monday afternoon. His words offered comfort and bolstered the hopes of the many graduates who are entering the employment market at a time when unemployment is highest amongst youth.  

ClickNorman Duncan24June13.pdf to read his speech.

Professor Norman Duncan serves as the Dean of Humanities at the University of Pretoria, and is the former head of the School of Human and Community Development at Wits.

He holds a professorship in psychology and specialises in community and social psychology. He obtained his doctoral qualification from the University of the Western Cape and his masters from the Université Paul Valérie in France, where he also served as a lecturer and visiting professor. He has worked at the University of South Africa, the University of Venda and other higher education institutions.

Professor Duncan’s research and publications are primarily in the fields of racism and community psychology. He has co-edited a range of volumes, including Race, Racism, Knowledge Production and Psychology in South Africa and Developmental Psychology.

Professor Duncan currently serves as one of the lead researchers on the Apartheid Archives Research Project, hosted at Wits. This is a memory project that seeks to record stories of the everyday experiences of racism from a broad cross-section of South Africans. It is a cross-disciplinary, cross-national study of the enduring effects of apartheid-era racism on the lives of people. 

In addition, he serves as the Co-Chair of the Anti-Racism Network in Higher Education and is the past President of the Psychological Society of South Africa.

 

 

Citation: Albert Solomon

- By Wits University

Prof Solomon qualified with a MBBCh in 1948, Diploma in Internal Medicine in 1962, Diploma in Medical Radiodiagnosis 1964, Master of Medicine in Diagnostic Radiology 1969 and in 2001 became a Fellow of the College of Radiologists.

Professor Solomon has had a distinguished career in radiology. In 1964, he was appointed as a lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand, and consultant Radiologist to the Johannesburg General Hospital and. A year later in 1965, he was appointed Senior Consultant Radiologist at Baragwanath Hospital (now Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital), and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Radiology attached to the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1970 he became Head of the Department of Radiology at Baragwanath Hospital (graded as a Principal Radiologist). In 1971 he was appointed to Chief Radiologist at Baragwanath Hospital and Senior Lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand. In 1974 he was appointed to Chair of Radiology, attached to Baragwanath Hospital and the University of the Witwatersrand. The S.A. Medical Post (February 1975) reported that his major radiological research interest and work in the field of industrial lung disease, with special reference to the effects of asbestos inhalation, had attracted considerable interest overseas. During his thirteen years at Baragwanath Hospital he published, together with many colleagues, nearly two thirds of his published papers. From 1979 to 1992, he practiced as a specialist radiologist in Israel. In 1993 he returned to South Africa and took over the academic activity at all teaching hospitals, during which time he was also the acting Academic Head of the Department of Radiology at the University and Chairman of the Medical Advisory Committee at Hillbrow Hospital.

He delivered his inaugural lecture in 1977 under the title ‘Industrial shadows’. There was extensive press coverage of the lecture. Headlines included ‘The Hazards of Asbestos’, ‘SA workers run an extra risk’. ‘Adequate health care without a labour register impossible - Professor’ and ‘Migrant workers a health problem’. His early interest in occupational diseases made a large contribution to the continuing radiological education of staff at the National Institute for Occupational Health for nearly twenty years.

Professor Solomon has taught undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of the Witwatersrand for more than twenty five years. His contribution to research has been immense.  He has published over 100 papers in scientific journals, of which twenty papers focused on the radiological appearances on the chest x-rays of asbestos exposed individuals, seven of which deal primarily with the involvement of the visceral pleura. Other fields in which he has made significant contributions are the appearances associated with mesothelioma and asbestosis, and the use of computerised tomography in suspected asbestos-related diseases. Professor Solomon has also published fifteen case reports, written and co-authored eight chapters in books, and presented thirty-five papers at scientific conferences. He edited (with Louis Kreel) a book on the ‘Radiology of Occupational Diseases’ in 1989.

Professor Solomon’s significant contributions are evidenced in his involvement in academia and in the development of a top class radiological facility in the largest hospital for black patients in South Africa during the apartheid era. He is also considered to be the prime mover in the study of the radiology of asbestos-related disease in South Africa.

In recognition of his unique skills, his involvement at various levels in the Faculty of Health Sciences and the University, and for his many professional contributions, the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg would like to confer the award of an Honorary Doctorate on Emeritus Professor Albert Solomon.

Four time graduate collects fifth degree

- By Wits University

Dr Steven Firer finally realised his dream this morning. Walking across the stage in the Great Hall, scroll held firmly in hand, he finally got capped by Wits earning himself the right to be called a Wits graduate fulfilling his long held dream.

Although Firer already has four qualifications under his belt which includes a PhD from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and an MBA from the Charles Sturt University in Australia, it is a Wits degree that he desired the most. Firer was conferred with a Master of Laws degree at a graduation ceremony combining the faculties of Commerce, Law and Management; and Engineering and the Built Environment.

A leading expert in financial accounting and an auditor, Firer says: “My Wits degree more than my other degrees has given me an edge over most people in my profession.”

His dissertation is titled The limitations of an auditor in South Africa and he hopes that it will contribute to the revision of the law and protect auditors from being sued in the event of negligence by the directors of the company they had audited.

“Auditor’s liability has become very onerous. Auditors are being sued for billions of dollars, not rands, and you can’t get insurance for billions,” he explains.

To illustrate the hostile environment under which auditors practice, Firer says South Africa once had eight big auditing firms but these whittled down to only four due to the increased  liabilities which have become too great to endure on your own.

The central argument of his paper is that auditors should not be sued for more than the auditing fee as they are important to the functioning of a business. “You cannot put auditors out of business,” he says.

Firer says the acquiring of the Wits degree so late in life for him (he is 56 years old) goes beyond joining his circle of friends and family who are Wits graduates.  “The Wits degree has truly given me the edge and adds legal knowledge to my profession.”

“The law has changed and accounting has become the law and auditors need to operate in this terrain,” says Firer.  “The Companies Act talks about applying accounting standards in law and this never used to be the case.”

“As an auditor my job is to report people who break the law but this can come with costs.”

Firer a former Wits accunting lecturer is a technical partner at Nkonki, a firm of Chartered Accountants and he is an International Financial Reporting Standards specialist. He has held various academic posts in local and international universities.

He admits to being competitive and wanting “to be three steps above everyone else and make myself indispensable.”  

A father of four, Firer was joined at the graduation ceremony by two of his daughters and his wife. Read an article from The Times newspaper about Firer.

The graduation ceremony was addressed by Koko Khumalo, a partner at Ernest and Young and the Africa Leader for Risk Management in the company. Khumalo’s valuable knowledge is highly sought after in the many boardrooms where she serves. She is also currently the Deputy President of the Black Management Forum. Read her full Koko Khumalobio.pdf. Her speech themed Graduating in twenty years of democracy, what is on offer? sought to raise the awareness of the graduates in South Africa’s business environment.

Her parting words to the graduates added that it is not just the degree that they have acquired that counts. “It’s about what you have learned along the way and what you do with the education that you have gotten in your journey to graduation today. I sincerely hope that you are the social capital that we have been waiting for.” Read herKoko Khumalo1July 2014.pdf.

How a farm led to real honesty

- By Wits University

Professor Mark Solms, best known for his discovery of the forebrain mechanisms of dreaming and for his integration of psychoanalytic theories and methods with those of modern neuroscience, addressed graduates from the Faculty of Humanities during the December Graduation Ceremony from the Faculty of Humanities.

He talked about the social relevance of universities and degrees, and speaking honestly, he relayed how the family wine farm he inherited became the subject of an open and true discussion about how far we are actually willing to go to bring about change in our society. But most importantly, how acknowledging to himself and others that he is not able to do the “ethical” thing he was supposed to do has helped to foster a lasting solution to land reform on this farm.

“There are psychological impediments for us in actually dealing with the problems we are facing in this county because we don’t want to really face our own guilt, our own shame, our own badness. If you do face that; if you do face your own self-interest, and your own no-so-goodness – those facts and your guilt and your fear, and all sorts of emotions one does not want to face. Then you had all the facts to your disposal. Then it becomes possible to actually find a solution because no solution will be found if those facts are not factored into that solution. It becomes, when you do that, possible to think again,” he said. Mark Solms.mp3

Solms is currently the Chair of Neuropsychology at the University of Cape Town and the Groote Schuur Hospital, and President of the South African Psychoanalytical Association. He has published widely in both neuroscientific and psychoanalytic journals and is also frequently published in general-interest journals, like Scientific American. He has published more than 250 articles and book chapters, and five books, amongst his other achievements. Prof Mark Solms.pdf

Simple values the answer to world challenges

- By Wits University

PhD and Masters graduands have been advised to look to their nursery school years for solutions to the complex problems facing the world.

Bernie Krone, Chief Executive Officer of Esor Limited, one of South Africa’s leading civil engineering and construction groups, has told high achievers that they need make the world prettier, softer and friendlier. This, he said, can be achieved by going back to the basics, the fundamentals of life which were taught in elementary school.

Krone shared these words during his keynote address at the graduation ceremony of the Faculties of Science; and Engineering and the Built Environment, where close to 200 Witsies collected higher degrees.

Drawing on the work of Robert Fulghum, Krone reminded the graduates about the golden rules learnt in nursery school which said: share everything; play fair; don’t hit people; put things back where you found them; clean up your own mess; don’t take things that aren’t yours; say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody; wash your hands before you eat; and flush.

Nursery school taught us about equality, politics, basic sanitation, ecology, love and sane living, he said.

Click here to read his speech delivered on 21 November 2013 in the Wits Great Hall.

About Krone:

Krone has over 32 years of experience in geotechnical engineering and has worked in major basement excavations in southern Africa. He read for a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering graduated from Wits in 1975. Wits holds a special place in his heart and a testament of this is the 1975 Wits tie which he wore to the graduation on Thursday.

Born in 1953 in Halstead, England, Krone was raised in South Africa and attended St Martins School.

He is a member of the Engineering Council of South Africa and the South African Institute of Civil Engineers.

He is married and the father of six children.

Of vultures and safari's

- By Wits University

The University of the Witwatersrand conferred an honorary doctorate on ecologist, environmentalist, bird specialist and artist, Duncan Butchart on 31 March 2014 during its March-April Graduations Cluster in the Wits Great Hall.

Butchart’s publication profile shows that he has not only mastered scientific method but also the public communication of science. His publication record is impressive, with works ranging from definitive reference books such as the ‘Vultures of Africa’ (Academic Press Inc) to numerous affordable field guides.

He is an accomplished editor, having edited for seven series, with his own articles published in 15 magazines or newspapers. He is author or co-author of 29 books on birds and wildlife, published by 12 different publishers. Illustrations are vital for communicating with a minimum of jargon, and as an accomplished artist, Butchart has illustrated his own books, as well as being featured in 22 other books. His illustrations include paintings of birds, fish and mammals, and he has exhibited paintings in four exhibitions.

He also specialises in creating illustrated maps, many of which have been commissioned at an international level. His most recent works include a book, ‘Wildlife of South Africa’ (Struik), which has been translated into Afrikaans, and a laminated guide of the most conspicuous birds of Mbombela, which is the only guide available that provides siSwati names.

His commitment to empowering hundreds of wildlife guides to high levels of professionalism, and scholarship in their own right, is a feature of his life’s work. His generosity in sharing his specialist knowledge and skills, accumulated through informal learning driven by his own curiosity and persistence, has meant that many local communities have been enriched in their knowledge and understanding of the African environment.

Read the Duncan Butchart edited by Nita.pdf.

Read Butchart’s Duncan Butchart Speech.pdf.

Duncan Butchartaudio.mp3 to Butchart’s speech.

Human rights come first

- By Vivienne Rowland

Graduates from the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management were advised to exercise their human rights and humanity first as they help build the South African society.

Christof Heyns, Professor of Human Rights and Co-director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa at the University of Pretoria, addressed the graduands at the graduation ceremony of the Faculty on Tuesday, 01 April 2014.

Heyns urged them to do what they can and exercise human rights while they add their weight to building the country.

“Be a human agency building a society not based on slogans, but through people and institutions, brick by brick. The world is a daunting place, but we need not and should not throw up our hands and say there is nothing that we can do about this. We are in significant ways making progress with the right to life. If that is possible, we can certainly make progress with other rights,” said Heyns.

“We are social beings. Whether we call it humanity, or Ubuntu or in my language menslikheid – we are bound to each other. Therefore opportunities such as those you and I have come with obligations. Exceptional opportunities bring exceptional responsibilities.   We have a duty to plough back what we receive into our society,” he said. ChristofHeynsGrad010414.mp3

About Professor Christof Heyns

Professor Christof Heyns is a Professor of Human Rights Law and Co-Director of the Institute for International and Comparative Law in Africa at the University of Pretoria.

He holds an MA LLB from the University of Pretoria; an LLM from the Yale Law School; and a PhD from the University of the Witwatersrand.

In August 2010, he was appointed as a United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. He is an adjunct professor at the Washington College of Law of the American University in Washington DC, USA, and a Visiting Fellow at the Kellogg College at Oxford University, where he has been teaching in the Masters programme since 2005. A former Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria, Professor Heyns has also served as the Director of the Centre for Human Rights.

Widely published in the field of international human rights law, Professor Heyns has authored The Impact of the United Nations Human Rights Treaties on the Domestic Level and Human Rights Law in Africa. He is the founding editor-in-chief of the African Human Rights Law Reports and was the founding co-editor of the African Human Rights Law Journal and serves on the editorial boards of several international academic law journals.

He has served as consultant to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the African Union and the South African Human Rights Commission.

His publications have appeared in English, Afrikaans, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic. He has received a Fulbright Fellowship (to Yale Law School) and a Humboldt Fellowship (to the Max Planck in Heidelberg, Germany), as well as the University of Pretoria’s Chancellor’s Award for Teaching and Learning. He is currently a Visiting fellow at Harvard Law School, on a Fulbright Fellowship.

 

 

Wits bonds everlasting but...

- By Wits University

Professor Thokozani Majozi“We have prepared you for the world and not necessarily South Africa. When we taught you we were not training South African graduates but we were training global citizens.”

These words of bravado urging Witsies to be fearless and confident in their endeavours were delivered by Professsor Thokozani Majozi, to the class of 2014 at the graduation ceremony for the Faculty of Engineering and the Build Environment.

If anyone in the audience was unclear about what makes Wits and Wits graduates unique, Majozi laid it out for them in his address.

Wits bonds are everlasting but this is comes with certain conditions suggested Majozi.

“Whenever you achieve great things, we will be the first to own it. We will be the first to say he/she came from here. When you blunder we will be the first to disown you.”

While student may initially come to Wits with the aim of getting a degree, what they get is more than a degree, said Majozi.

In a direct reminder to student he said: “You did not come to Wits to get a degree. You came here to acquire knowledge. The degree certificates that you will be receiving today are mere evidence to the world that you have what it takes to make a difference. Making a difference will require your knowledge not the certificate.”

Offering guidance on how to build their careers, Majozi told the Wisties that it is crucial to have a mentor. He himself has one on each continent.

Majozi was speaking on 11 December 2014. A total of 454 engineering students graduated during the December graduation season.

About Professor Majozi

Majozi is a full professor in the Wits School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, where he also holds a NRF/DST Chair in Sustainable Process Engineering. His main research interest is batch chemical process integration, where he has made significant scientific contributions that have earned him international recognition. Some of these contributions have been adopted by industry.

He was also an associate professor in computer science at the University of Pannonia in Hungary from 2005 to 2009. Majozi completed his PhD in Process Integration at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology in the United Kingdom. He is a member of various international scientific committees for leading Process Systems Engineering symposia and conferences and a member of the editorial board of Chemical Engineering Transactions Journal.

Majozi is also a member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa and a Fellow for the Academy of Engineering of South Africa.

He has received numerous awards for his research including the Burianec Memorial Award (Italy), a P-rating from the National research Foundation (NRF), the University of Pretoria Leading Minds Centenary Award, a S2A3 British Association Medal (Silver), the South African Institution of Chemical Engineers Bill Neal-May Gold Medal and the NSTF-BHP Billiton Category B Award.

Recently, he won the AU-TWAS Young Scientist Award. Majozi is the author and co-author of more than 150 scientific publications, including a book in Batch Chemical Process Integration published by Springer in January 2010. He is also an NRF B1 rated researcher.

"Continue Mandela's legacy"

- By Vivienne Rowland

The legacy of the late former president Nelson Mandela and his dedication to education was reiterated and celebrated at the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Health Sciences on Tuesday, 10 December 2013.

At the ceremony, which was held at the same time as thousands of South Africans were pouring through the gates of the FNB Stadium in Soweto for the former statesman’s memorial service, a Gold Medal was given to South African entrepreneur and prominent businessman, Brian Joffe. He also delivered the keynote address to the graduands.

Joffe, chief executive and founder of the JSE-listed Bidvest Group, made specific reference to Mandela’s commitment to education and his tenacity in instilling the importance of knowledge gathering.

“You have a special responsibility. On this day, when we celebrate the legacy of Madiba, it is your responsibility to pick up on education, to perpetuate education. It is not a one day thing; education is a long term project. I call upon you to carry on the work of many before you,” said Joffe.

Joffe made reference to the education system in South Africa and said the country needed some improvement. “South Africa has for many years, especially during the apartheid era, not been able to provide education for all its citizens. Without education, no country is sustainable. We need to improve the education facilities in the country,” said Joffe.

He commented on the poignancy of rain on the day of Mandela’s memorial service, recalling that it had also rained on the day of Mandela’s official inauguration as president in 1994.

“Without rain, life is unsustainable,” he said.

Professor Andrew Crouch, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic and Vice-Principal of Wits University, and Professor Beatrys Lacquet, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Knowledge, Information Management and Infrastructure, officiated over the ceremony in the absence of Professor Adam Habib, Wits Vice-Chancellor and Principal, and Wits Chancellor, Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. Habib and Moseneke were representing Wits at the Mandela memorial service in Soweto.

Crouch, in his welcome address, also paid homage to Mandela and asked for a moment of silence to be observed before the advent of the official graduation proceedings.

“Mandela was an architect of hope for all of us, and at Wits, we will continue to advocate access to education for all. We will continue to serve as a public institution that is socially responsive and internationally relevant,” said Crouch.

BrianJoffeGoldMedal101213.mp3

Gold Medal Citation Brian Joffe profile.pdf 

Biography: Bheki Sibiya

- By Wits University

Mr Bheki Sibiya holds an MBA from the Western Michigan University and a degree from the University of Zululand.

He has extensive leadership experience in both the private and public sectors. He has served as the head of the Wits Business School, Business Unity South Africa (BUSA), and Bhekokuhle Consulting.

He has also held senior management positions in Transnet, Tongaat-Hulett Sugar, the Black Management Forum (BMF), and South African Breweries.

In 2004, Mr Sibiya served as the founding Chief Executive Officer of BUSA, where he regularly engaged with ministers and key stakeholders.

As a former president of the Black Management Forum, he lobbied the previous president of South Africa on Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment. Whilst at BUSA and the BMF, Bheki contributed to the King I, II, and III reports on governance.

His involvement in BUSA, the BMF and Nedlac enabled Mr Sibiya to develop significant networks across various sectors.

To listen to Sibiya's speech, click Bheki Sibiya.mp3.

Humanities “like a marriage of infidelity”

- By Vivienne Rowland

Professor Loren Landau, the South African Research Chair in Human Mobility and the Politics of Difference equates graduating in the humanities to a marriage of infidelity.

“Graduation with a degree in humanities may be seen as formalising something of a polygamous marriage filled with a lifetime of infidelity. And, I might add, that is a good thing.  We in the humanities cannot be satisfied with one set of rules or one partner. We are a promiscuous bunch that won’t stay true to the rules or ideas imparted by others however much we respect them, however esteemed their position, or however many times their words have been repeated,” said Landau.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony of the Wits Faculty of Humanities on Monday, 30 June 2014, Landau urged the graduating students to never take an explanation at face value, to always ask questions and always seek alternative avenues of doing things.

"A life without flirtation and anxiety brings with it risks, risks when we fall in line with the traditions, ideas, and customs that we inherit or are pressed upon us. The risk of marriage to a single voice or opinion is that we end up with what the sociologists might call “mimetic isomorphism”, or in layman’s terms, we might just end up looking the same,” said Landau.

Landauaddressgradution30June2014.mp3 or LandauGraduateSpeechWits2014.pdf.

Biography Professor Loren Landau.pdf

The graduation ceremony also marked an important milestone in the life of Jack Ginsberg, founding patron of The Ampersand Foundation; and founder and donor to The Ampersand Foundation Endowment at the Wits Art Museum, who was awarded a Gold Medal by Wits University.

Mr Jack Ginsberg Citation .pdf.

Be a responsible elite

- By Wits University

Gillian Marcelle is an Associate Professor of Strategy and Innovation at the Wits Business School and the Assistant Dean for Postgraduate Affairs for the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management.

She was the guest speaker at the graduation ceremony for students in the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management on 27 June 2013.

To listen to her address, click Gillian Marcelle.mp3

To read her address, click Graduation AddressMarcelle 27 June 2013draft final.pdf

Short bio:

Prof. Marcelle is an active policy and academic research scholar with a well established reputation in innovation management and policy in South Africa and internationally. She trained as an economist at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad, and the Kiel Institute of World Economics, Germany.

She earned an MBA at George Washington University and read for her doctorate in Science and Technology Policy at SPRU, a preeminent research institute based at Sussex University in the United Kingdom. Prior to joining Wits, Marcelle held teaching and research positions at City University in the UK, the University of East London also in the UK, the University of the West Indies in Trinidad and Tobago and the University of Sussex.

At Wits, she focuses her research and teaching on innovation for sustainability, innovation policy and management, firm-level capability building and learning, industry dynamics in the telecoms and information technology sector, contemporary South African business and investment climate issues, and sustainable development. She supervises numerous postgraduate students and is widely published in accredited journals. She led the design and development of an interdisciplinary Masters of Management in innovation studies at the Wits Business School.

Marcelle has led programme teams within international organisations, and has worked as a self-employed consultant for national governments, multilateral bodies, cities, companies and non-governmental organisations like the World Bank, the European Union, the IDRC, the UK Department of Trade and Industry, the South African Department of Science and Technology, the City of Johannesburg, JP Morgan and several UN bodies.

She contributes actively to policy processes in South Africa, serves on a South African Academy of Science ASSAf Panel on the national innovation system and has provided invited submissions to the National Planning Commission and the Ministerial Review Committee that conducted a study of the national innovation system in South Africa. She is active in academic networks, is widely published and holds numerous editorial advisory positions.

Biography: Lee Berger

- By Wits University

When it comes to digging up the past, Professor Lee Berger has, quite literally, done his bit for humanity. 

Born and raised in the United States, Berger has been a resident of Gauteng for over 20 years, is a naturalised South African, and has made his name through the discovery and study of ancient hominid fossils. 

Berger studied under renowned palaeoanthropologist, Professor Phillip Tobias, examining the bone structure of hominids, the species that preceded human beings. 

Since these hominids lived millions of years ago, people like Berger have to locate and excavate ancient fossils buried in places like South Africa’s Cradle of Humankind, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

That’s exactly what happened in 2008 when Berger’s 9-year-old son, Matthew, stumbled upon the fossil of an ancient hominid in the Malapa Fossil Site at the Cradle of Humankind. 

Berger immediately realised that it was an important find, and set to work. Scientists are still uncertain whether or not the nearly 2-million-year-old remains represent a new species in the evolutionary chain. Berger named it Australopithecus sediba. “Sediba” means “natural spring” in Sotho. 

Berger’s work helps us to understand how and when our ancestors learned to walk, when they started making and using tools, and even when the first use of language may have been. 

Through studying changes in brain size, posture and teeth of these fossils, we can piece together the story of how our species, Homo sapiens, evolved.

To listen to Berger's speech, click Lee Berger.mp3.

Change, dreams and community

- By Vivienne Rowland

Graduates from the Wits Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management were reminded of three important things in their path ahead: change, dreams and community.

These were the themes of the address delivered by the invited speaker, Willem van der Post, a partner at Deloitte South Africa.

“We live in a world that is known for one constant and that constant is change. The world around is moves and changes rapidly and graduates are affected directly by this. By the time you are employed after completing your degree, your degree is already outdated. This changing world poses you with a challenge: successful companies of the future are looking for technologically advanced and innovative thinking graduates,” said Van der Post.

On dreams he said: “Dreams are built on the back of sweat. Success comes with an immense amount of hard work.  The view from the top is breath taking, and I hope you enjoy the climb.”

Van der Post also urged the graduates to go back to their communities and share the knowledge that they have gleaned from their personal experiences.  “South Africa is in dire need of leaders – socially, spiritually and politically. It is your duty and I implore you to go back to your communities.”

 WillemvdPostGradspeech010414.mp3.

About Willem van der Post

Willem van der Post is a partner at Deloitte South Africa, where he specialises in financial services.

Van der Post has been in several positions at Deloitte worldwide, having been the audit manager at Deloitte UK and Deloitte Australia.

Before he specialised in financial services, Van der Post was the national recruitment partner at Deloitte South Africa. In this role he was responsible for building a talent acquisition business within the Deloitte partnership.

This included workflow design, implementing database management systems, designing and implementing a team structure, creating the strategic go-to-market marketing campaign, design and functioning of an appropriate billing and collection system, and strategically managing the innovation and improvement aspects of the business unit.

Van der Post has qualifications from the University of Cape Town, the UCT Graduate School of Business and the University of Stellenbosch. 

Every day is a chance to effect change

- By Wits University

There could have been no better theme to share with teachers, the agents of change, than that which talks about leadership, which sometimes requires steering people into unfamiliar terrain.

A special group of teachers congregated in the Great Hall for an event which was the culmination of their hard work. In 2009, Wits enrolled a cohort of teachers who had been in the education system for years, for studies in the Bachelor of Education programme. The move to develop teachers in that province was prompted by the vision of the Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, who at the time was the MEC for Education in Limpopo.

The teachers made extraordinary sacrifices to start afresh and pursue full-time studies in education away from their children and partners. A move which demanded personal change so that they may drive systematic change in the province notorious for maladministration and late book deliveries to schools. 

On Thursday, 3 April 2014 the last group of Limpopo teachers graduated at the Faculty of Humanities graduation ceremony.

Guest speaker Lebogang Ramafoko, CEO of the Soul City Health and Development Communications Institute, delivered a poignant message.

Parallels could be drawn from her own personal journey starting as a child raised by a father with no academic qualifications who, however, understood the value of education – a father who understood the importance of educating a girl-child and dutifully read to her until when it was her turn to read to him. It was the vision of her father which saw her graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Education from Wits University in 1993.

One imagines the joy he must have felt, when his last name was called out on that day and his daughter ascending to the stage to reap the fruits of their hard work, thus changing her course forever.

Having walked difficult roads herself as a leader of youth organisations, Ramofoko offered advice on the road ahead drawing on the book Leadership on the line by Marty Linsky and Ronald A. Heifetz.

“To lead is to live dangerously because when leadership counts, when you lead people through difficult change, you challenge what people hold dear – with nothing more to offer perhaps than a possibility.”

“Moreover, leadership often means exceeding the authority you are given to tackle the challenge at hand. People push back when you disturb the personal and institutional equilibrium they know. And people resist in all kinds of creative and unexpected ways that can get you taken out of the game: pushed aside, undermined, or eliminated.”

When this happens, the real test is not to “choose the easy route, live cautiously or be self-absorbed,” she said.

Listen to Ramafoko’sLebo Education graduation.mp3andLebogang Ramafoko Biography.pdf about her.

Biography: Naledi Pandor

- By Wits University

A life of exile from 1961 until 1984 led Minister Pandor to receive most of her education abroad. 

Her higher education qualifications include a BA degree from the University of Botswana and Swaziland and a Masters in Education from the University of London. 

She completed a second Masters degree in Linguistics at the University of Stellenbosch in 1997, while serving as a Member of Parliament. 

Minister Pandor became a Member of Parliament in 1994, after the first democratic elections, and has amassed impressive experience in positions of public office. 

She served as the deputy chief whip of the ANC in the National Assembly from 1995 to 1998, as the deputy chairperson of the National Council of Provinces in 1998, and as its Chairperson from 1999 to 2004. 

Her experience in education policy planning made her a welcome appointment as South Africa’s Minister of Education from 2004 to 2009. 

In May of that year, she was appointed as Minister of Science and Technology. Since becoming Minister, she has been leading South Africa’s bid to host the Square Kilometre Array (the SKA), the largest radio telescope in the world, amongst a host of other innovative projects. 

Her efforts paid off and South Africa recently won the bid to host the biggest part of the SKA.

To listen to Pandor's speech, click Naledi PandorGradsMP3.mp3.

Katharada and Coetzee honoured

- By Wits University

Wits University confered honorary doctorates on renowned author and Nobel Laureate JM Coetzee and struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada as part of the University’s annual December graduations.

Coetzee, a double recipient of the Booker prize and the 2003 winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, was awarded a Doctor of Literature (DLitt) degree on Monday, 10 December 2012. Katharada, who was jailed alongside Nelson Mandela and the other Rivonia trialists, spent 26 years and three months in prison on Robben Island and in Pollsmoor Prison. He was also awarded Doctor of Literature (DLitt) degree on Tuesday, 11 December 2012.

Wits also conferred a Doctor of Science in Engineering degree on Prof. David Glasser, who joined Wits in 1964 and later became the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering. Mr Stuart Morris, a Wits alumnus, who has served the University for an uninterrupted 16 years as a member of the University Council and other various subcommittees, was honoured with a Gold Medal.

Eusebius McKaiser, radio personality, author and a fellow of the Wits Centre for Ethics, was one of guest speakers during the graduations.

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Doctors must work closely with others

- By Wits University

Nursing icon, Professor Busisiwe Bhengu, addressed Health Sciences graduands during a ceremony in the Wits Great Hall at the July Graduations Cluster on Wednesday, 2 July 2014.

Degrees were conferred on graduands in the Faculty of Health Sciences and ranged from PhD to medicine, nursing and dentistry degrees.

Bhengu, a critical care nurse and current chairperson of the 15th South African Nursing Council, pressed upon the graduands the importance of interdisciplinary cooperation in the health care sector, urging new doctors to work closely with all health care professionals.

“Cooperation creates a more comprehensive appreciation of the challenges and problems we are facing in the health sector and mobilises a power base to enact change to provide the best care to our patients,” she said. Prof Busisiwe Bhegu.mp3 to her full address.

She is an Honorary Associate Professor at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) where she has held several positions, including that of Head of the School of Nursing between 2008 and 2011. Bhengu led curriculum development in the nurse specialist field and has also developed and implemented critical care nursing curricula in the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, Tanzania, and various other African countries. She has also taught Critical Care Nursing in and outside South Africa at diploma, and Bachelors and Masters degree level.

She served as director of the World Health Organisation’s Collaboration Centre in the UKZN School of Nursing between 2008 and 2011, and has represented the Afro-Region at the Executive Committee of the Global Network for two years.

Bhengu holds numerous teaching awards from UKZN and nursing accolades including being the best practical nurse in the Natalspruit Hospital in 1975. Bhengu obtained her PhD in Nursing from the University of Natal in 2003.

Running and enjoying the civil engineering race

- By Vivienne Rowland

“Running and enjoying the civil engineering race” was the theme of the address by the President of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering, Stanford Mkhacane, when he addressed graduands at Wits University on Friday, 4 April 2014.

Mkhacane was the guest speaker at the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment.

“I am sure we all agree that each of the graduands has certainly finished their course – their first part of the race. However, they still have to run the remaining part of the race, which happens to be the longer part. The Civil Engineering race is a rather long one – one that will only be finished when one departs, as some people believe that engineering professionals never retire,” said Mkhacane.

Mkhacane urged the graduands to help build the country and grab the opportunities afforded to them “because it is much easier nowadays to make a difference and rise above life’s challenges”.“About 25 years ago you were born, and while you were growing up and getting educated – a new democracy was born and developed in South Africa. Today the doors and windows of opportunities have opened up all over the world. South Africa is implementing a National Development Plan with opportunities for you to be involved in infrastructure development – you have a chance to be involved in designing and construction of roads, water, electricity, schools, hospitals, universities, and many more projects. You will be afforded these opportunities, and I believe that you will enjoy being involved in being part of the solution to the development of our country.” Stanford Makacane address 4 April 2014.pdf.

StanfordMkhacanegrad040414.mp3

Stanford Mkhacane Biography edited.pdf

 

Honorary doctorate for Pius Langa

- By Wits University

Former Chief Justice Pius Langa was conferred with a posthumous honorary Doctorate of Laws at Wits University’s Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management graduation ceremony on Thursday, 21 November 2013.

His brother, Mandla Langa, accepted the doctorate on his behalf and delivered an address to the graduands. “When I say ‘my brother’, claiming the man who was this country’s second chief justice and first black person to ascend to that position, I feel somewhat self-conscious. The possessive pronoun sits heavily on my tongue, because even though we were connected by blood, Pius belonged to a very wide constituency,” he said.

Mandla described how, at Pius’ funeral, he realised that the man he’d known for many decades was a mystery to him. He said that as a family, they thought they’d suffered a loss, but when they saw the outpouring of grief, they realised that they had no idea of the actual size of the loss.

“Because we had no instrument with which to get a measure of things, we looked into the eyes of others to act as a rough guide to the extent of our bereavement,” he said.

As an author of fiction, Mandla took the liberty of imagining what his brother might have said to the graduands on the occasion of their celebration. “One of the most important observations which he would have made is that we are living in a very complex time. He would have enjoined young people to read the tea leaves – to read the news and interpret the news for themselves, especially with some of the developments that have taken place.”

Mandla referred to the incident at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi, Kenya earlier this year and said that Pius would have spoken about human rights, and the need for the African continent to safeguard the future of its young people.

He said he would also have spoken about the essentiality of education, especially as we head into a future which is complex, and the scourge of HIV/Aids in Africa, which Pius felt needed all the resources that the continent could muster.

“He would have spoken about the inequalities in this country, and the fact that we are still the most unequal society. He was especially conscious of the issue of gender and I’m sure he would have been appalled by some of the recent acts of violence against women and children.

Mandla encouraged the graduands to continue with a sense of mission and to find their own, individual ways of meeting the challenges which beset society. “Do not be intimidated by the challenge or daunted by the magnitude of what needs to be done. You are the hope of Africa and you will not fail.”

Listen to Mandla Langa's address.

Read the citation for former Chief Justice Pius Langa.

One of 300 000 with commerce degrees

- By Wits University

Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte Southern Africa and Africa, Lwazi Bam, has made a conscious choice to embrace certain expectations that come with who he is and to accept certain responsibilities that come with living in this country – a country that he has chosen to live in – at this point in time, and his wish for Wits graduates is that they do the same.

Speaking at the Commerce, Law and Management graduation ceremony on Monday, 1 July 2013, Bam spoke about how prestigious it is to be a graduate – and specifically a commerce graduate – in South Africa.

‘According to the latest stats from Stats SA – only 11% of South Africans have undergraduate degrees and we only have less than 300 000 commerce graduates,’ said Bam.

‘Those of you that will go on to become Chartered Accountants, South Africa only has just over 31 000 Chartered Accountants. As you know, this is out of a population of over 50 million people.

‘So you are special, not only to your families, but to the country as well.’

As a strong champion of the Africa story, Bam is a passionate believer in purpose driven leadership. ‘I have taken a conscious decision to work not only on my personal success, but I spend just as much time working for the success of the broader business environment, and more importantly, the success of South Africa.’

He told the graduands: ‘I say that your status comes with a set of responsibilities as if this is an established fact and almost as if there is a list that is prescribed by the constitution or something.

‘No, there are no such lists and therefore choosing how much of these expectations you will embrace and how you will embrace them, is purely your own choice.’

Lwazi Bams Bio as at June 2013 2.pdf

Lwazi Bam SpeechWits Graduation Speech 1July13.pdf

Aspire to greatness, says Morris

- By Wits University

Prof. Lynn Morris urged students to "aspire to greatness" when she addressed them during the graduation ceremony of the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences and Faculty of Science on Tuesday, 2 July 2013. 

Quoting the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Morris said "being good is not enough, you need to aspire to greatness. You cannot be complacent and mediocre."

Morris, a Wits alumnus who graduated with a BSc Honours in Microbiology at Wits in 1982, also made mention of former president Nelson Mandela and quoted him saying "education is the great engine of personal development. Scientific education teaches us to think critically and South Africa needs bright young minds to ensure its continued success." 

Morris heads the HIV virology section within the Centre of HIV and STI’s at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) in Johannesburg and holds a joint appointment as a Research Professor at Wits.

Prof Lynn Morris FINAL.pdf 

LynnMorrisgradspeech020713.mp3 

Read her address 

AIDS treatment champion recognised

- By Wits University

Wits University has conferred an honorary doctorate on Dr Brian Brink in recognition of his role in ensuring that business and the government provide antiretroviral therapy, at a time when HIV/AIDS was a taboo and killing thousands of lives.

The Doctor of Medicine degree was awarded to Brink on 11 December at the Faculty of Health Sciences’ graduation ceremony.

Reading a citation, the Dean of Health Sciences, Professor Martin Veller said: “Dr Brink, a Wits graduate, deserves his alma mater’s recognition for his far-sighted and courageous persistence in leading the way in a matter of great humane and political importance.”

Brink was one of the doctors who dealt with the first known HIV infected patients in South Africa – at the time there were just over 30 and they were all white gay men.

However, the discovery of HIV infected mineworkers a year later in 1986 and its prevalence signalled a crisis that was to usher in a period of ineffective government response leading to unnecessary deaths.

Brink, as the group medical consultant at Anglo American where, together with Mr Bobby Godsell, played a strategic role in introducing free anti-retroviral therapy (ART) to the company’s employees.

As a result of “the efforts of Dr Brink, two of the country’s largest companies, Anglo American and AngloGold initiated programmes that saved many thousands of lives, brought credit on the companies, and most importantly, set an example for the state health service to follow once the resistance of government leadership to ART had been overcome. Indeed, the vision and leadership of Brian Brink almost certainly played a central part in breaking down that (government) resistance,” reads the citation praising Brinks’ efforts.

After his capping by the Wits Vice-Chancellor, Professor Adam Habib, Brink took to the podium to deliver an address to the graduating health practitioners.

In his speech he shared the history of the virus in South Africa, the struggles fought by doctors and activists to force government to recognise and provide treatment to its people. Many of these efforts were led by Witsies.

“Government-led denialism on AIDS and its opposition to treatment was an embarrassment and shame to all of us who were desperately trying to halt the rampage of AIDS,” said Brink.

 In 2004 the government finally succumbed to the unrelenting pressure.

In accepting the honorary doctorate, Brink said: “I am deeply honoured and equally humbled to be receiving an honorary doctorate today. Whilst I may have made a contribution to improving the health of those most in need, I am very much aware that what I have been able to achieve is the product of the sustained efforts of many people.

 This is an honour and recognition that I wish to share with all those that have been part of the fight against AIDS and ultimately the right to health for all our people.  In particular I think of all the health care workers on the front line who work day and night and are so often taken for granted.  And most importantly, the people living with HIV, who have shown the greatest courage and determination of all.”

To the graduates, he asked that they use their education to promote fairness and justice in society. 

“Understand that education is fundamental to the realisation of health. Remember that public health is part of your responsibility”.

Click here to read hisDr Brian Brink edited by Nita.pdf, and for his speech Address by Brink to Health Sciences Graduation.pdf.

Biography: Pat Pillai

- By Wits University

Patmanathan (Pat) Pillai is a teacher, businessman, social entrepreneur and news anchor at eNews. 

He has previously held executive directorships in the media industry such as Primedia. Fifteen years ago he founded Life College Group, or LifeCo as it is known, a social business that offers champion mentality, character and self-leadership education to youth and adults. 

To generate revenue to fund its youth work, LifeCo offers direct training to institutional partners in civil, business and government sectors. It supports youth at schools and universities to improve student results and improve overall life performance. It offers programmes in schools as well as universities. 

In 2007 Pillai was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship for his work at LifeCo. Ashoka is the global association of the world’s leading social entrepreneurs. He was also selected as an Ashoka Globalizer Fellow – a group of 35 Ashoka Fellows drawn from about 2 800 Fellows across 160 countries.

To listen to Pillay's speech Pat Pillay Grad Speech 02 Jul 12.mp3 or Pat Pillai Address Humanities Graduation 2 July 2012.doc

Ndungane and Koloane given honorary degrees

- By Wits University

Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndugane and artist David Koloane recently received Honorary Degrees from Wits. 

Archbishop Ndungane was given an honorary Doctor of Literature and Koloane an honorary Doctor of Arts at the Faculty of Humanities graduation ceremonies in June 2012.  

Citation Njongonkulu Ndungane.doc, is internationally respected for his leadership in contemporary public theology, ethical issues, human rights, social justice and ministry to the poor and suffering. Dr Ndunganes Grad Speech 10 AM 28 jUNE 2012 Great Hall.mp3

Koloane stands as one of South Africa's, and Africa's, most pre-eminent and distinguished artists and socio-cultural activists: his longstanding commitment to traversing multiple roles in the artworld, and broader society, has seen him make immense contributions as a leader, intellectual, writer, critic, educator, curator, consultant and administrator. Dr David Koloanes Grad Speech 3 PM 28 jUNE 2012.mp3

Media Coverage 

Tru FM Ndungane 29 June 2012.mp3 

Sunday Sun 010712.pdf 

Online Coverage 

http://afrikaans.news24.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/SA-se-grondwet-word-bedreig-20120628

http://news.iafrica.com/sa/802930.html

http://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/Constitution-under-threat-Ndungane-20120628

http://www.dieburger.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/SA-se-grondwet-word-bedreig-20120628-2

http://www.dieburger.com/Suid-Afrika/Nuus/SA-se-grondwet-word-bedreig-20120628-2

Ahmed Kathrada receives honorary doctorate

-

Kathrada was awarded a Doctor of Literature (DLitt) degree during the annual December Graduation Ceremony.

In his address to the graduates, he paid tribute to the late Constitutional Court Judge Arthur Chaskalson and urged those in power to always uphold the Constitution. 

“Since its establishment, the Court has jealously guarded the Constitution without fear or favour. Some of its judgements have been criticised by individuals in Government and the ruling party. A disturbing feature has been hints that can be interpreted as desire to curb the powers of courts, including the Constitutional Court.” 

“Interestingly these reactions have contributed towards the birth of new terminology. We increasingly hear and read of "untransformed", "neo liberals", "coconuts", and the newest is "clever blacks". On their own they can be dismissed, ridiculed or ignored. However, it is the constant repetition of such terms that is disturbing. Arthur Chaskalson and other leading lawyers have made their views known about the perceived threats to the independence of the Judiciary, especially on the Constitutional Court,” Kathrada said.

Read his full graduation address.

Read the citation presented by the Wits Registrar, Kirti Menon.

Born in 1929 and affectionately known as Kathy, Kathrada became involved in the struggle for liberation as a young 12 year old boy when he joined the Young Communist League in 1941. He was jailed alongside former president Nelson Mandela and others following the Rivonia trial and spent 26 years and three months in prison on Robben Island and in Pollsmoor Prison.

A former Witsie, who enrolled in 1950 at the University of the Witwatersrand for a Bachelor of Art degree, Kathrada obtained numerous degrees whilst in prison. He was released from prison on 15 October 1989 at the age of 60. 

Kathrada has written several books: Letters from Robben Island (1999), Memoirs (2004), Book of Quotations (2005), and A simple freedom (2008).

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