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Alumni in the spotlight February 2024

- Wits Alumni Relations

Catch up on Witsie awards, appointments and newsmakers from the past month.


Tali Nates (BA Hons 1994) the founder and director of the Johannesburg Holocaust andTali Nates Genocide Centre, received the International Religious Freedom Award “in recognition of [her] courage and commitment to promoting and defending religious freedom globally”. She was one of eight recipients from countries such as Lithuania, Nicaragua, and Nigeria.

Neo Hutiri (MSc Eng 2015) was awarded a special medal by the Royal Academy of Engineering to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation. The medal is one of 35 anniversary grants, prizes and accelerator programme awards being invested in African innovators solving key development challenges on the continent. His product, Pelebox Smart Lockers, is designed to improve access to chronic disease medication. 


The Country Road Group welcomed Khanegee “Kay” Raidoo (BCom 1990) as the country manager for South Africa. The brands that will fall under her stable include Country Road, Witchery, and Trenery. She has worked in senior leadership teams for more than 10 years and was head of trade operations and customer experience for Woolworths fashion, home and beauty, as well as divisional executive for the retailer in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

Advocate Nkhangweleni Lambani (LLM 1995) was appointed to Gateway Airports Authority in Limpopo. Advocate Nkhangweleni Edward Lambani is a seasoned government official and former Secretary of the Limpopo Legislature. He is an admitted Attorney of the High Court. Robert Armstrong

SRK Consulting appointed Robert Armstrong (BSc 2000, BSc Hons 2001) as its director in its consulting practice in South Africa. Armstrong is partner and principal geologist and has been at the company since 2001. He has been involved in geotechnical projects throughout Africa. His expertise covers slope design, the collection and reviewing of geotechnical data, geotechnical slope management programmes and geotechnical risk. He was made a partner of the practice in 2016.

A former director of the Wits Law Clinic, Daven Dass (LLB 2007, LLM 2013) was appointed President of the South African University Law Clinics Association.

Hellen Lebone (BA 1999, PDipHR 2001) has been appointed as senior human resources director in the Arabian Peninsula for Hilton, based in Dubai. Previously she was the regional director Africa and Indian Ocean for Hilton.


Neal Froneman (BSc Eng 1981), CEO of Sibanye-Stillwater came out swinging about state failure and rampant crime. Sibanye’s security costs in 2023 amounted to R1.1-billion, 19% higher than the R928-million the company spent in 2022.

Mortuaries are grim places, yet Prof Lorna Martin (MBBCh 1989) is South Africa’s first woman to head a forensic medicine department. She spoke to Spotlight about her career working on high-profile cases at the Observatory Forensic Pathology Institute in Cape Town. Dr Dr Khanyisile and Dr Ziyanda Ndebele

Twin medical graduates Dr Khanyisile (MBBCh 2019) and Dr Ziyanda Ndebele (MBBCh 2017) chatted about the aesthetics practice, Health Life Aesthetics, they co-founded. 

John Perlman (BA 1981, BA Hons 1982), radio host on 702 discussed “a song, a book and dish” with breast cancer specialist surgeon, Professor Carol-Ann Benn (MBBCh 1991).

Professor Sharon Fonn (MBBCh 1982, DOH 1985, PhD 1989), Professor of Public Health at Wits, argued that university rankings are unscientific and bad for education.

Dr Gillian Mahumane (BPharm 2013, MPharm 2016, PhD 2021) and Dr Khonzisizwe Somandi (BSc 2018, BSc Hons 2020) are two of the four Wits Advanced Delivery Drug Programme researchers who have recently benefited from international research opportunities. 

Dr Carrie-Anne Minnar (PhD 2019) and her colleagues made headlines with her breakthrough research in cervical cancer, which could bring hope to millions of women.