Wits Review April 2008

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WITSReview Volume 4 April 2008


The magazine for ALUMNI and friends of the University of the Witwatersrand

Volume 4 April 2008

Jacob Maroga –

Wits man tackles power challenge IN THIS ISSUE: Climb the corporate ladder • New “Hobbits” discovered • Edwin Cameron steps down


Punching above our weight


or the average South African life can be an emotional rollercoaster ride as we manically lurch from optimism to despondency depending on the day’s headlines and whether or not our power is cut. The challenges we face today as a country are immense and sometimes dispiriting but not insoluble. When all we can see is doom and gloom we need to remind ourselves of our achievements. Not so long ago we were euphoric at winning the Rugby World Cup and being awarded host nation status for the FIFA Soccer World Cup. Until the recent international creditcrisis business headlines were lauding our economy which was pumping along at an unprecedented rate. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange was one of the best performing stock markets and interest rates were at a quarter century low. South Africa is currently ranked 44th in the Global Competitiveness Index by the World Economic Forum. We are regarded as one of the 50 wealthiest countries in the world and the 32nd most democratic. We have much to be proud of and our resilience, achievements, pioneering spirit and inventiveness are legendary. South Africa’s standing on the international stage still far outweighs its size and ranking. Like our country, Wits also punches above its weight. Witsies at home and across the globe have a deserved reputation as achievers and leaders in their fields, with many at the April 008

cutting edge of groundbreaking developments. From Nobel prize-winners to CEOs, to researchers and academics, Witsies are out there working on the problems and finding solutions, whether it’s HIV and Aids, energy, crime, scarce skills, or service delivery. Amongst many other achievements, Wits is home to the leading business school in the country, has 16 ‘A-rated’ scientists, has produced 90 Rhodes Scholars, four Nobel Prize laureates, and over 20 alumni have been knighted in the United Kingdom. The University is a world leader in palaeoanthropology and is home to one of the largest fossil collections in the southern hemisphere. The Origins Centre is a world class international tourist site and the University is custodian to rare and valuable art works and heritage collections located in 14 museums and two art galleries. Wits is also the preeminent public space for intellectual debate and enquiry and provides a platform for the promotion of a diversity of ideas without equal in South Africa and possibly on the African continent. By supporting Wits, you are supporting the growth in stature of the University, its ability to meet the skills needs of the country and contributing to finding solutions to the challenges we’re facing. Peter Maher Director: Alumni Relations SA rankings source: www.sagoodnews.co.za

WITSReview 1

Letter from the Chancellor

Dear Alumnus Wits University occupies a special place in the hearts and minds of South Africans.


We are an ambitious institution and we aim to be amongst the top 100 universities in the world by 2022. WITSReview

e are one of the leading universities in the country and on the continent. We have a responsibility to align ourselves with the priorities of our country and to advance economic competitiveness and social transformation through our research, teaching and learning activities in order to produce the high level and scarce skills needed to foster development. Our reputation is linked to academic excellence both within this country and beyond our borders. I am sure you know this already, having benefited from a Wits education. Wits University has changed over the years – for the better. We are a diverse institution committed to maintaining the highest standards in our teaching and research endeavours.We are committed to identifying and harnessing the talent of academically excellent individuals, be they prospective students or staff, so that we can translate their ability into accomplishments that will ultimately benefit the public good. April 2008

While it is the duty of every higher education institution to produce new knowledge and to develop intellectual capital, we need to ensure that these advances are entwined with the needs of the society within which we exist. A key pillar of Wits University’s strategic plan is to develop the high-level, scarce skills that are required in the country and on the continent today. The University is committed to developing better and more graduates in the science, engineering and technology fields, in keeping with South Africa’s national skills development strategy in these areas. There are similar demands from industry for more graduates in the fields of accounting and commerce. We are addressing these needs without excluding other areas of critical importance in the arts and humanities. I encourage you to read more about our capital projects in this edition of the WITSReview.

There is potential for Wits University to become an even greater institution. We are an ambitious institution and we aim to be amongst the top 100 universities in the world by 2022. According to the Times Higher Education Supplement, we are ranked 262 at present, up 40 places from last year. Our determination is to integrate South Africa more powerfully into the global knowledge economy by offering world-class education to all academically talented individuals and producing new knowledge that will result in a better quality of life for all. To do this, we need your help. We have identified several projects which the newly established Chancellor’s Annual Fund could support. These options will be listed on the April 2008

Fund website and will be included in a letter that you will receive shortly. We invite you, our alumni, friends and partners to join us in investing in excellence and in creating possibilities that will ultimately benefit the public good. Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and we sincerely hope that we can count on you to show your support by donating generously to the Chancellor’s Annual Fund. Contact the Wits Foundation at donations@wits.ac.za or call (011) 717-9703 for more information on how you can make your contribution. We invite you to visit your alma mater in the near future to apprise yourself of the developments that have occurred in recent years. We encourage you to make contact with the Alumni Relations Office and to keep abreast of developments within the institution. You are part of the broader Wits family and this will always be a place that you can consider to be your home.

Justice Dikgang Moseneke Chancellor Wits University WITSReview


22 8

Wits man has toughest job

in the country

40 32 Wits News Bytes 30 Getting ahead in your career

14 A facelift for Hillbrow 34 Heritage: New ‘Hobbits’ in Palau 20 Edwin Cameron, leader, activist

and legal scholar

22 Investing in academic excellence

40 Photo essay: “In the summertime” 48 Alumni Achievers

ANNOUNCEMENT WITSReview subscription for international alumni With effect from the next issue of WITSReview (July 2008), international alumni will be required to pay a subscription fee to receive a print copy of the magazine. The subscription fee is only R100 per annum (four issues) and can easily be paid online with a Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Diners Club card at www.witsshop.co.za. The correct currency amount will automatically be calculated at the payment site. Payment must be made by 31 May 2008 to receive the July issue. Those not wishing to subscribe will receive a free electronic copy of the magazine if we have your e-mail address. For assistance with any payment problems or to provide us with your e-mail address please e-mail alumni@wits.ac.za 4 WITSReview

April 008


WITSReview Wits Editorial Team Peter Maher Editor and Director: Alumni Relations Shirona Patel Head: Communications Catherine Druce Proofreader Future Publishing Editorial Team Jeremy Maggs Taryn van der Lith Publishing Director Richard Lendrum

34 54 Alumni events 56 Book Reviews 58 Obituaries 63 Those were the days...

Design and Layout Michelle van der Walt Ilze Pöhl Published on behalf of the Office of Alumni Relations, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg Tel: +27 (0)11 717 1090 Fax: +27 (0)11 403 4493 Private Bag 3, Wits, 2050, South Africa E-mail: alumni@wits.ac.za Website: www.wits.ac.za/alumni Alumni Shop: www.witsshop.co.za Update contact details: www.wits.ac.za/alumni/update Printed by: Bakwena International Printers Published by: Future Publishing (Pty) Ltd PO Box 3355, Rivonia, 2128 Tel: +27 (0)11 803 2040 Fax: +27 (0)11 803 2022 E-mail: taryn@thefuture.co.za

Cover Jacob Maroga, Eskom CEO at a media briefing. Pic: Robert Botha. © Business Day / PictureNET Africa April 008

WITSReview is a quarterly publication. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the editor, publisher, Future Publishing or the University of the Witwatersrand. © Copyright of all material in this publication is vested in the authors thereof. Requests to reproduce any of the material should be directed to Future Publishing.

Letters to the Editor are welcome and can be sent c/o the Office of Alumni Affairs WITSReview 5


Comments from our readers

The Brickbat That credibility is given to the student newspaper, Vuvuzela, which to some of us older Witsies is similar to what used to be called Wits Student. Reading the Jackie Gray article, however, it seems that it is perhaps an entirely new publication produced by the Department of Journalism studies. But, why oh why add legitimacy to those plastic trumpets? They have become the scourge of present day urban living, disturbing the peace at any and all times! Seemingly, they were first used to celebrate soccer triumphs. Now they are sounded any old time. Pedestrians, even children, simply walk down suburban streets blowing them. It cannot be argued, as I have heard, that they are something very specific to South Africa – and therefore to be proud of. Absolute rubbish! I’m as proud a South African as anyone – but these things are made of plastic (not cow’s horn) and imported from the Far East. A recent Canadian family-visitor remarked on her departure. “Just about everything about South Africa is terrific – except some of the drivers and those cheap trumpets”.

A suggestion That the entirety of Jubilee Road (most of which is University property – notably not the Mormon Temple) be declared a 6 WITSReview

heritage resource/area and that appropriate application be made to the Gauteng Heritage Resource Agency. Professor Munro’s wellillustrated article on Jubilee Road deserves to be taken seriously.

Photo courtesy Endemol”

Bouquet, brickbat, a suggestion and a tribute Firstly, the (very sincere!) bouquet on the January 2008 WITSReview. It is of a high standard, very readable and does, as intended, reinforce one’s pride in being in any way a Witsie!

Tribute Ashley Callie was the most professionally successful of all BADA (BA Dramatic Arts) graduates that Wits has produced. Ashley was a role model and greatly loved for being the thoroughly nice person she was. Her theatrical ‘pedigree’ on the paternal side was faultless. Grandmother Phyllis ‘Phyl’ Callie was chairperson of the South Africa Children’s Theatre and in her time was one of the ‘Grand old ladies’ of South African Theatre – and a most delightful lady. Sincerely Michael Hobson Publicity and PR Officer Wits Performing Arts Administration (1981 – 2001) April 008


Firstly to congratulate you on the second issue, also very much better in format and content I thought. However – my husband read it and was truly shocked that there was such a short obituary, on a par with the other obituaries, for someone with the status of Ellison Kahn. I wouldn’t have acted on that alone, but we were in Cape Town over the weekend and had dinner there with some lawyers, both Wits and non-Wits, and, totally unsolicited, this same outrage was expressed. I was thinking that perhaps the next issue should carry an article on his life of so many accomplishments? Best wishes Gail Brown (BA, 1966) I understand the outrage as indeed we have not done justice to most, if not all, obituaries. I sincerely apologise for the brevity of the obits. It’s partly the result of the smaller format we have chosen for the magazine and the need to limit the number of pages for any section.We intend to at least ameliorate this situation by hosting an online obituary page on the alumni website which would contain more comprehensive obits and to which alumni could contribute through the alumni discussion forum hosted on the alumni website www.wits.ac.za/alumni or by e-mail to alumni@wits.ac.za. – Editor

I’m happy to oblige – Editor I hope WITSReview will publish a photograph of the Dentistry Saint, St. Appolonia, as Wits Dental Graduates will enjoy the fact that the sculpture has survived. The artists name may be at the bottom of the right hand corner – I think it was Eduardo Villa so it may be very valuable by now. Warm regards Helmut Heydt (BDS, 1951) President of the Convocation 1992 –1994 We really love the new WITSReview. So informative and not a bit stuffy. Congratulations on the great interview with George Bizos. My wife was especially impressed with Peter Maher’s stunning Photo Essay. All in all a super little publication. Thanks to all involved. Joe Campbell (MBBCh,1959)

I would like to congratulate you on a fantastic magazine. I find your content of superb quality, your images well chosen and appropriate for the article for which they are included, and your range of subjects broad enough to cover all aspects relevant to Wits alumni. In a world where I believe there is far too much sub-par content, your publication is a welcome change and I always feel that I will be missing out on something interesting should I skip an article. Well done, and keep up the good work. Nick Warren (BSc Hons, 1994) April 008

WITSReview 7


Eskom Chief Executive Jacob Maroga addresses the media on the power consumption estimates for 2008.


WITS man has toughest job in the country By Jeremy Maggs

Over coffee and a croissant a few weeks ago I was asked what the worst job in South Africa was right now.

Photo: Martin Rhodes © Business Day / PictureNET Africa


iven the cappuccino was lukewarm and I was sitting in semi-darkness (load shedding) the answer was easy. Along with the police commissioner, director of the Scorpions, CEO of the SABC and any one of the thousands of cash in transit guards, the head of Eskom had to be in the top five. That man is Jacob Maroga who is an engineering graduate from Wits University. As one alumni wag put it, ‘our man is trying to keep the country lit; I hope he listened during lectures.” The job right now requires a lot of listening. He’s coming in for flak from all sides – at the time of writing he was staring down unions who wanted to march and protest at his request for a 60% tariff hike and fighting a rearguard action against many rank and file ANC members who say his demand to the regulator is unfair and unrealistic. Those who are close to him say he does engage and will take counsel but is fundamentally his own man. Wits modestly won’t take any credit for that but those are certainly the values the institution likes to impart. In journalism, the best way to deal with April 2008

any subject is to sit down and talk to them. It’s 101-stuff. Had the Pope been a graduate of Wits we might have had more luck sitting him down for our one-on-one. Two meetings were cancelled – both times due to urgent get-on-the-plane-and-fly meetings, one with the Public Enterprises Minister and the other with the Energy Regulator. Plan B was to get him to answer 10 tough written questions. We hoped he’d find time on a flight. No such luck. We took last place on the grid (pun intended) behind, we imagine, spread sheets, contingency plans and schedules that will plunge us into darkness at the most inconvenient times. On the day we were expecting our answers, Johannesburg’s leading daily newspaper had a street poster that menacingly read – “You Will Be Load Shed.” It was a reference to more severe power cuts even if there was spare capacity and pointed to how serious the shortage was and how critically government and Eskom were now taking the matter. Some of course say it too late. You make up your own mind. WITSReview 9


Gcabashe came under pressure to resign last year after a shutdown at the Koeberg power station had resulted in severe outages in the Western Cape. Critics said he was “an overpaid ANC cadre who was out of his depth” and “took the first opportunity to jump”. What was to come for Maroga was much worse and a huge baptism of fire. The country was hardly back from its summer holidays when the power squeeze manifested itself yet again in the third week of January when the country experienced widespread blackouts as Eskom engaged in serious load shedding. Our default was to load shed the promised face time and talk instead to experts and close colleagues. By way of background, Maroga was appointed to succeed Thulani Gcabashe at the end of last year. Forty seven year old Maroga was MD of Eskom’s Transmission division when he took over and according to Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin, Maroga had been unanimously recommended for the top position by the Eskom board. When he made the appointment he said he had “absolute confidence” in the current management team of Eskom, as well as the CEO designate. Further, he emphasised, Eskom was the “most important” company in South Africa at the moment and that the country was absolutely dependent on the delivery of excellence of the management team to be led by Maroga. “This is the most challenging time in the history of this organisation, given the (R97 billion plus) big build programme and tight supply situation,” Erwin said. The jury is still out on Maroga’s predecessor. 10 WITSReview

“This is the most challenging time in the history of this organisation, given the (R97 billion plus) big build programme and tight supply situation,” Erwin said. The crisis arose due to a combination of higher-than-anticipated summer demand of about 1 000 MW and unplanned shutdowns of around 2 700 MW at the same time as some 5 000 MW was down for planned maintenance. The rest is of course history – the situation has prevailed; we had the wet coal before Easter problem and indications are that reserve margins are expected to remain tight until 2010/11 and beyond when new base-load capacity is scheduled to come on line. Maroga’s appointment followed a rigorous search process.The utility retained an external executive search consultancy and April 2008


established a special search committee on the Eskom board to ensure the search for a new CEO was overseen at the highest level of the organisation. The search committee was chaired by Eskom chairman Valli Moosa and included, among others, Gcabashe and Rand Merchant Bank CEO Laurie Dippenaar. More than 270 candidates were identified and, after an intense selection process, five candidates were short-listed through assessment by the search committee which included a six-hour psychometric testing session. At the end of this search marathon Maroga, got the nod. Some months later one has to ask if he regrets the decision. Eskom insiders told WitsReview quite the opposite. Noted one: “He relishes the challenge; is deeply committed to solving the crisis and also changing negative public perceptions about Eskom. He’s dedicated and is well aware of his responsibility. He also knows he’ll make enemies but understands its part of the game.” Maroga joined Eskom in 1995 as distribution technology manager, was appointed engineering manager in the northern and north-eastern regions of distribution in 1998, and was appointed to the Eskom executive committee as MD of the distribution division in September 2000. In 2003, he was appointed MD of the transmission division. Before that he matriculated at Setotolwane High School in Polokwane and went on to complete a BSc in Engineering (Electrical) in 1985 at the University of the Witwatersrand. Before his career in current and Watts – between 1986 and 1994 - he held various engineering positions with Western April 2008

Deep Levels Gold Mine, AECI and Sasol Synthetic Fuels. His academic credentials are not confined to Wits. During 1995 he completed the Management Development Programme through Unisa and the Executive Leadership Development Programme though Arthur D Little Management Education Institute (USA). In 1996 he completed the Strategy Management for Electricity Utilities course through Unipede (Germany); in 1998 the Senior Executive Programme through Harvard and Wits and during 2000 the Advanced Management Programme through Harvard. After his first 100 days in the job he spoke to the respected financial website Moneyweb. co.za. So how had things changed from being the MD of Transmission to the CEO of the company? His answer was concise, succinct and to the point: “Well, things look really different when you are chief executive and you realise there isn’t anyone else that you can pass the buck to.” Eskom insiders agree with another colleague saying: “He has a deep sense of responsibility and knows he has to bear the brunt.” Eskom staff were also happy that an “electrical man” had been given the top job. Does Maroga think this is important? This is what he told Moneyweb: “I think this is ultimately a leadership position. It’s not a technical position. There are lots of technical people. Of course background gives you perspective and electrical engineering, because it is fairly engineering-intensive, does give you a better perspective. But I think it’s a leadership position and you have to be very careful that you don’t get biased and get into the technical operations. But yes, I think for me it gives me a perspective.” WITSReview 11 WITSReview A

Marianne Pretorius. © Sunday Times / PictureNET Africa


THICK SKIN: Eskom’s new CEO Jacob Maroga says skills are a problem.

The job is as much about playing politics as switching things on and off. A leading recruitment company told the WitsReview that Maroga was being modest in his self-assessment. When it comes to leading a complex technological operation the technical background is critical. It enables the CEO to win respect from his key staff and add real value to problem solving and strategy planning. Maroga was diplomatic in his view on how South Africa has found itself in a power-deficit situation. Again he has to be. The job is as much about playing politics as switching things on and off. This is what he told Moneyweb: “Because government has successfully managed this economy we’re growing at a much more robust pace than anticipated. 12 WITSReview

Since 1994 our demand has grown by 50%. And of course, sitting in 1994 and looking at 2007, I think all of us wouldn’t have anticipated the kind of success this country would have been enjoying – and it’s still growing. So I think that’s one contributor. And the other, of course, we were late in starting the capital expenditure; and there was also anticipation that private capital would come in and build power stations. It didn’t happen.” But surely there were warning signs? “Of course. You made assumptions around GDP growth, you made assumptions around energy demand, and of course there were warning signs that we were growing much April 2008


Come to think of it, Jacob Maroga probably has the toughest job in the country. Running the Scorpions would be a doddle in comparison. faster, but was it sustainable? One of the things we also had to change was our assumptions – we were working on a 4% GDP growth over the next ten years; we now work on a GDP aspiration of 6%. Now those are assumptions you make. Time will tell whether they pan out, but here we are. We have to deal with the current situation. Maroga has strong views on the controversial skills issue. When the outages started to ramp up, radio talk shows were full of charges that affirmative action was to blame and the crisis would not have occurred if white engineers had not been given the boot. Maroga has been widely quoted as saying skills are a big issue because its something that Eskom had not focused on properly in recent years. But he says most of the world is going through the same thing – expanding their power systems – so they are looking at the same skills and also looking at project managers from a decreasing global pool. But what is Eskom doing? “We are partnering with some of the international companies and they’re bringing their global skills. We’re partnering with people who have construction and project-management capability. So that’s how we augment the skills. But it’s going to be one of the challenges going forApril 2008

ward, and we acknowledge we’re partnering with people so it’s going to take some time for them to have experience to be launched onto the projects.” And those white engineers, is there a way to transfer some of those skills into the system now? “Well, we’re doing some of that. We’re bringing people in on contract and some of them are in there with consulting companies. We’re going overseas and recruiting people that may have left and are doing other things overseas.” Maroga knows the crisis could and probably will extend beyond his tenure as CEO. Some colleagues at Megawatt Park north of Johannesburg talk of the potential to burn out – and they’re not referring to generators or turbines. Just a few weeks ago Maroga warned that the prevailing conditions could last up to eight years. But with the warning also came a bullish upside: “We can get out of it quicker if we achieve the required savings and bring additional capacity on stream quicker.” He also spoke of the silver lining the crisis had brought: “In the next five years we are going to spend 300 billion rand in new capacity. A lot of that will be equipment we buy overseas but a lot of that is new fixed investment in South Africa.” All well and good but try telling that to the guy who’s still complaining about his cold cappuccino, the SMME owner who’s not meeting targets and is laying off staff; or the mine owner with shafts that echo with the sounds of silence... Come to think of it, Jacob Maroga probably has the toughest job in the country. Running the Scorpions would be a doddle in comparison. WITSReview 13

Profi le

A facelift for

Hillbrow By Thumeshni Mudeliar

Considered a crime-ridden, povertystricken and HIV/Aids epidemic hotspot, Hillbrow is Johannesburg’s most crowded inner city suburb, with a population of African immigrants and locals from across the country in search of a job in the city. Scarred by years of serious disrepair and neglect, in the last few years the launch of the Hillbrow Health Precinct (HHP) has sought to breathe new life into the area. This health-focused project however, though primarily concentrated on HIV/Aids management, treatment and care, has so much more to off er.


rofessor Helen Rees, executive director of Wits University’s Reproductive Health and HIV Research Unit (RHRU) responsible for co-ordination of the HHP, says this unique and innovative health project also motivates for urban regeneration of the inner city and the fight against crime and poverty. It was an idea pioneered some ten years ago by the RHRU with a vision to “identify and respond to sexual and reproductive health and HIV priorities and to address them

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through research, training, capacity-building and the formulation of appropriate strategic alliances.” In 1995 when the unit conducted HIV study and clinical trial involving sex workers in Hillbrow, there was an overwhelming request for accessible health services from participants. “The women were in dire need of clinical and social help,” says Rees. In addiApril 008


tion, Hillbrow’s Esselen Street clinic – a specialist health clinic catering for treatment of sexually transmitted diseases as well as HIV – simply could not cope with the influx of people needing health care. So much so that Rees says the clinic was closing its doors to people at eight in the morning. Funding for such a project then began in earnest with the RHRU managing to raise some R30 million over time from the corporate sector. The eventual boost was the partnering of the RHRU with the City of Johannesburg (CoJ) and the Gauteng Provincial Department of Health (DoH). Rees notes that generous donations from public and private entities, bilateral donors, research sources and local corporates have contributed to keeping the facility up and running. April 2008

In September last year the precinct development launched its Lefelo la Tlhokomelo Wellness Centre, with an emphasis on HIV/Aids healthcare, in the Hugh Solomon building, on the corner of Klein and Esselen Streets.

WITSReview 15


Skills like sewing, catering, beading, gardening for health, basic literacy, maths and business ethics are taught.

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In September last year the precinct development launched its Lefelo la Tlhokomelo Wellness Centre with an emphasis on HIV/Aids healthcare in the Hugh Solomon building, on the corner of Klein and Esselen Streets. It is also a hub for non-governmental organisations (NGO) offices delivering a wide range of services. Such services include counselling for HIV/Aids; rape; trauma; support groups for women and refugees; legal advice; home based care; social grant information, internet and computer training for Wellnesss Centre specific programmes and public use as well as youth activities aimed at prevention of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/Aids. The professor notes there is also a 24hour child line and refuge for abandoned and abused children. Income generation projects assist the local community to learn new skills for making a living for themselves despite

April 2008


their HIV/Aids affliction. Skills like sewing, catering, beading, gardening for health, basic literacy, maths and business ethics are taught. Rees comments that the world-class training and research facility is also based in this building. The partnership between Wits University and the public sector has seen real benefit to a range of academia offerings. Rees notes that thousands of doctors, nurses and lay counsellors have been given first hand experience of HIV/Aids in the inner city. Research conducted ranges from HIV April 2008

statistics to biomedical sciences and social behavioural sciences. With streets being upgraded and the old Hillbrow hospital and Esselen Clinic also extensively renovated, the area is experiencing a positive transformation. The strong civil, private and public partnership has been the driving force behind the project. But Rees notes that such a partnership presents its own challenges. “Maintaining the partnership is in itself a challenge. Each partner has its own individual goals and WITSReview 17


The HHP project has on-site security and the local community within the immediate environment as well as those living on the edge of the precinct are making a concerted effort to weed out criminal elements.

motivations and aligning private and public enterprise objectives is not always easy,� she explains. The precinct concept is inspired by experience in the United States, acording to Rees, where down-trodden city areas have been identified along with ways to revive 18 WITSReview

them.This is usually done by assigning use of the area for a specific purpose, be it health, sport or business development. In this way the area is reclaimed, made more secure and is uplifted. The HHP project has on-site security and the local community within the immediate environment as well as those living on the April 2008


edge of the precinct are making a concerted effort to weed out criminal elements. This dedicated health services precinct, Rees says, plans to expand through extensive renovation of other heritage buildings. A major achievement of the HHP has been the clinical care of HIV/Aids sufferers with an increased ARV (antiretroviral) drug treatment for children and adults. ARV’s aimed at suppressing the disease and minimising its effects reached some 2 600 people in 2007. Additional statistics revealed that in 2007, 25% of people accessing the HHP were not Hillbrow residents. This figure is set to increase as will the project prevention campaigns. Rees states that while the project is unique to Johannesburg, the principles and lessons learnt from the HHP can be replicated elsewhere. This project has nurtured the formulation of best practices relating to HIV and TB care which have been adopted nationally. It has also helped in drafting best practices with regard to NGOs providing homebased care for HIV/Aids. The development of a comprehensive sex work HIV/Aids programme and written manuals as a result of the HHP will also go a long way in the fight against the virus. April 2008

The development of a comprehensive sex work HIV/Aids programme and written manuals as a result of the HHP will also go a long way in the fight against the virus. Worldwide HIV/Aids statistics reveal that in 2007 the number of people living with the disease was 33,2 million and 2,1 million people died from Aids. More than 25 million people have died from Aids since 1981. Statistics reveal that globally, 50% of adults living with Aids are women rising to 61% in subSaharan Africa. People under the age of 25 make up half of new infections worldwide. There are 7,1 million people in developing countries in dire of life-saving Aids drugs, with just 28% of such people actually receiving the necessary treatments. Source: Avert – International Aids Charity, www.avert.org/worldstats WITSReview 19


Edwin Cameron

sense of fair play By Graham Warning

Edwin Cameron with Helen Suzman

Academics and students across the board have paid tribute to Supreme Court of Appeal Justice Edwin Cameron who has just stepped down as Chairman of the Wits Council.


peaking to WitsReview, colleagues said his intellect, wisdom, compassion and genuine sense of fair play as well as his analytical and arbitration skills would be sorely missed It was also interesting to talk to ordinary students on campus, many of whom were instantly able to put a face to the name, articulate his position and also claim to have shaken his hand. Cameron, who handed in his resignation at the end of last year, has headed the Council since March 1998 after being nominated for the position in December 1997. 20 WITSReview

He has always been forthright about his HIV positive status and a tireless campaigner for Aids rights in South Africa. He told The Times newspaper his resignation was not linked to ill-health. Simply put: “This is the occasion for it. I have chaired the council for 10 years. It is a sense of timeliness.” His tenure has not been without controversy. Last year Cameron came under fire from some Wits student organisations who said transformation had occurred at what they termed “a snail’s pace”. The SA Students’ Congress and the Young Communist League called for Cameron to step down as chairman but he was again unanimously elected to the position. Cameron said those protests held no bearing on his decision to resign. Again speaking to The Times: “I am happy to say that I think I was selected as a figure in those protests for a well-justified reason regarding access to tertiary education for poor people. They targeted me for a good issue and I did not take it personally at all, nor do I think it was meant to be personal.” He said transformation at Wits had been one of the highlights of his tenure as chairman of the Council. “I am quite pleased about the racial mix at Wits. Sixty-eight percent of the kids at the university are black but there has been no April 2008


white flight from Wits,” he said. “We still get all the top students, black and white, from all the top high schools in Johannesburg.” Cameron has been a campaigner for equal rights and an Aids activist for more than a decade and has been on anti-retrovirals since November 1997. He was first diagnosed with the virus in 1986 and publicly disclosed his status in 1999. He was appointed and publicly disclosed his status in 1999 to the High Court in 1994 and to the Supreme Court in 2000. In 2006 he received the Sunday Times Alan Paton Literature Award for non-fiction for his book, Witness to Aids, which tells his personal story of living with HIV.Wits said Cameron had “diligently completed 10 years of quality service in this voluntary capacity”.


ameron has had an impressive career that began at Pretoria Boys’ High School. The award of the AngloAmerican Corporation Open Scholarship enabled him to attend Stellenbosch University where he obtained a BA Law cum laude and an Honours degree in Latin cum laude. He lectured in Latin and Classical Studies before leaving for Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship in 1976. At Oxford he obtained a BA, in Jurisprudence with first class honours as and the Jurisprudence Prize and a Bachelor of Civil Law with first class honours and the Vinerian Scholarship. He obtained his LLB from the University of South Africa cum laude and was awarded the medallion for the best law graduate. He started practice at the Johannesburg Bar in 1983 and from 1986 conducted a human rights practice from Wits’s Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), where in 1989 he was awarded a personal professorship in law. From 1988 he advised the National Union of MineApril 2008

workers on HIV/Aids, and helped draft and negotiate the industry’s first comprehensive Aids agreement with the Chamber of Mines. While at CALS, he drafted the Charter of Rights on Aids and HIV, co-founded the Aids Consortium (a national affiliation of non-governmental organisations working in Aids, which he chaired for its first three years) and was the first director of the Aids Law Project. He oversaw the gay and lesbian movement’s submissions to the Kempton Park negotiating process and was influential in securing the express inclusion of sexual orientation in the South African Constitution. In October 1994, after he took silk at the Bar, President Mandela appointed him an Acting Judge of the High Court and chair of a Commission to investigate illegal arms transactions. He was appointed permanently to the High Court from 1 January 1995. In 1999/2000 he served for a year as an Acting Justice in South Africa’s highest court, the Constitutional Court. In 2000 he was appointed a Judge of Appeal in the Supreme Court of Appeal. Since 1998 he has been chair of the Council of the University of the Witwatersrand. He is the Patron of the Guild Cottage Children’s Home, of the Sparrow’s Nest Hospice, of the Community Aids Response (CARE) and of the Soweto HIV/Aids Counsellors’ Alliance (SOHACA). He is also chair and co-founder of the Wits Law School Endowment Appeal. Edwin Cameron is the co-author of The New Labour Law (1987), The New Labour Relations Act (1989), and Defiant Desire – Gay and Lesbian Lives in South Africa (1994) and of scholarly articles on the judiciary, labour and employment law, the law of trusts, Aids and HIV, the legal rights of gays and lesbians, and the legal computation of time. WITSReview 21

Capital Projects

Investing in academic excellence Shirona Patel

The South African Minister of Education, Naledi Pandor in 2007 summarised the importance of higher education to South Africa. “Our future success depends on the quality of graduates that our comprehensive universities and universities of technology produce in this current period of immense economic expansion in South Africa. We live in a time in which the tertiary education sector is expanding exponentially. That expansion has meant that education has become big business.” 22 WITSReview


he cited a British Council report in the United Kingdom that revealed last year that education is worth more to the United Kingdom than banking. Martin Davidson, Chief Executive of the British Council said: “Fundamentally, this report shows the shift of axis of our education system from one that operates predominantly domestically to one that operates on a truly international basis. However, our position is vulnerable. Unless we start taking education much more seriously as a global business, we April 2008

Capital Projects

will lose out to other countries who understand the value of education to their economy much better than we do.” While some in the past may have seen higher education institutions as insulated and aloof from the broader society, the reality today is that strong universities are profoundly involved in the economic and social development of their respective countries. Wits University is one of the leading universities in the country and a key institution of empowerment for the continent more broadly. Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof. Loyiso Nongxa elaborates: “Higher education institutions have a responsibility to align themselves with the priorities of our country and to advance national transformation through research, teaching and learning activities in order to produce the high level and scarce skills graduates needed to foster development. Wits University has accepted this challenge and our core business activities are both proactive and responsive to the needs facing business, industry, our country and the continent.” In order to advance its strategic objectives, Wits University has embarked on several long-term initiatives to reposition the University and to take it to a higher level in terms of resources, as it evolves in the twenty-first century. “Wits’ strength lies in its commitment to academic and research excellence. In order to create an environment conducive to teaching, learning and research at the highest level, our physical and educational resources need to be constantly upgraded and renewed. Our excellent human resources need to be nurtured to ensure that we retain the best local April 2008

Wits University is one of the leading universities in the country and a key institution of empowerment for the continent more broadly and global talent,” explains Prof. Rob Moore, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Advancement and Partnerships. To this end, the University is currently focusing on a large number of development projects, of which five have been identified as strong priorities: the development of new buildings for both the Faculty of Science and the School of Public Health, the refurbishment of a building that houses Accounting in the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, the completion of the fourth quadrant of the Chamber of Mines building in the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, and the renovation of buildings that will serve as a new home to the Wits Art Galleries. A brief summary of each of the five capital projects follows. Investing in science, engineering and technology A new Science Centre of Excellence Research has shown that an investment in science and technology benefits the development of an entire nation. It is evident that the South African government recognises this link as it committed an additional R1,2 WITSReview 23

Capital Projects

billion to the development of science and technology in 2007. The Department of Education has allocated funding to Wits University for investment in institutional infrastructure to support critical areas of the sector. “Wits is already making a particular contribution in the area of science, engineering and technology in South Africa to the extent that we have exceeded the Department of Education’s national norm of 30% in these areas (we have approximately 50% enrolments in science, engineering and technology). This funding will assist in addressing a number of key developmental priorities, including the building of a R60 million new Science facility which will include additional laboratories and teaching spaces for undergraduate science, engineering and health sciences students,” 24 WITSReview

says Moore. “However, it is imperative for higher education institutions to start relying to a lesser extent on subsidies from government, and Wits is working to strengthen its financial position for the institution in the long term. This obviously cannot come to fruition without forming mutually beneficial public-partnerships.” Supporting Wits, saving lives in Africa A new building for the School of Public Health More than 20% of people living in Africa aged 14 - 49 are estimated to be HIV positive. Every year more than 500 million people become severely ill with malaria, with most cases and deaths occurring in sub-Saharan April 2008

Capital Projects

Africa. Over the next ten years 28 million people will die from a chronic disease. There are vaccines to combat polio and measles; drugs to stop the transmission of HIV to babies; antibiotics to cure pneumonia, and multiple therapies for diarrhoea. So why do these health burdens continue to plague Africa in the 21st Century, despite the technology that exists to prevent or treat most of them? “The answer is simple - our health systems are unable to deliver these technologies,” says Prof. Sharon Fonn, Head of the School of Public Health at Wits University, who is also championing the project. “They lack skilled health workers and managers to run the system. They function at too low a level – drugs are not ordered timeously and not delivered; April 2008

the training of staff needs to improve; the health literacy of community members is underdeveloped and the knowledge of how to communicate messages is lacking.” She adds: “In Africa, there is an immediate need to improve health services through expanding the base of research scientists (at both a Masters and PhD level) with the vital skills and qualities necessary to respond to key public health challenges, including HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria on the one hand and emerging non-communicable diseases and violence on the other. There is also a great demand from African students for public health training in South Africa as more than half of the African countries make no provision for such training.” In order to maintain its extensive local WITSReview 25

Capital Projects

impact and its comprehensive pan-African network, the School is in need of an integrated space that will substantially improve its overall effectiveness and properly reflect its position as the leading player in public health development on the continent. A new, all encompassing, facility will foster critical thinking through the use of innovative teaching methods and enable the School to connect to its remote sites in realtime by way of improved facilities. New computer laboratories with the appropriate ICT equipment will demonstrate a creative approach to teaching and learning. The Wits School of Public Health has identified these needs and is in the process of sourcing funding to develop a R130-million new building and facilities to ensure that the School can maintain and increase its footprint in South Africa and across the continent. This will ultimately help to save the lives of millions in Africa. 26 WITSReview

Meeting the global engineering shortage The Chamber of Mines Building Project “There is a global shortage of engineers across all disciplines and in recognition of this, the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment has already increased its intake of students by 60% in the past five years,” says Prof. Beatrys Lacquet, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment. “The University is further committed to enrolling and growing about 30% more engineers in the next five years. This will help to meet the strategic priorities of the country and the continent and will help to alleviate the worldwide engineering capacity constraints. In 2007, all nine of our programmes in engineering were again accredited by key international organisations.” This escalation in student numbers transApril 2008

Capital Projects

lates into an increased need in the resources required to nurture, sustain and develop graduates. The University is in the process of spending R60 million on expanding its current engineering facilitates in order to create an environment conducive to learning, networking and research at the highest levels. “The continued growth in student numbers in the Faculty has resulted in a limited number of venues being available for contact teaching. Postgraduate student numbers are also steadily increasing and a growing number of international research fellows and students has added pressure to the limited infrastructure of the Faculty,” adds Lacquet. The Faculty has proactively developed an adequate resourcing plan which includes the expansion of the Chamber of Mines Building, which serves as home to the Faculty. “It is envisaged that the development will include new lecture theatres for contact teaching; extra tutorial rooms; modern computer and research laboratories and postgraduate student facilities,” says Lacquet. “The Engineering Library will span two floors and will be relocated to this new wing, and more public space will be developed in order to create an environment conducive to learning, networking and research at the highest levels.” Lacquet believes that research and development in engineering is a key component in the advancement of our civilisation as we progress into the future. “Wits University is a research-driven institution committed to conducting research in accordance with the highest international standards. An expansion of the Chamber of Mines Building together with a corresponding, sustainable upgrade of the Faculty’s equipment and resources will further enhance our research capabilities,” she concludes. April 2008

Developing high-level, scarce skills A new home for accounting at Wits The considerable growth experienced in South Africa and globally has resulted in an escalated need for professional accounting skills. This shortage is a global phenomenon, but with the South African economy expanding and trade within the continent increasing, there is an escalated need for highly skilled accountants to ensure that South Africa is competitively placed in the global knowledge economy. According to Prof. Katherine Munro, Acting Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management at Wits University, the role of accountants within organisations has also evolved with Chartered Accountants now occupying positions in strategic planning, regulatory compliance, corporate governance and productivity monitoring. “The economic and development plans of government for South Africa and the continent in the coming decades has identified the production of top quality graduates in the accounting

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Capital Projects

Architectural rendering of proposedWits Art Galleries Development from Jorissen Street at the corner of Jan Smuts Avenue.

profession as a key, strategic priority to support growth into the future. There are currently just over 25 000 Chartered Accountants in South Africa but this does not come close to the demand for accountants in the country,” she says. The Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management at Wits University has identified these needs, and in order to support the development of knowledge, research and high level skills in the country and in Africa, has partnered with private and public sector corporations to strengthen its current activities, through investments amounting to approximately R70 million. With the intention of increasing the number of professionals in the accounting sector and ensuring the continuity of world-class training in the sector, the School aims to revamp its current facilities through the upgrading and extension of the building that houses the School of Accountancy. “This includes the construction of two new lecture theatres, the introduction of additional tutorial rooms and postgraduate facilities, the building of an undergraduate computer resource centre and the renovation of the existing building. These facilities will also be utilised for the training and development of students in science, engineering and technology,” adds Munro. 28 WITSReview

The University has committed to underwriting the entire project and has already pledged R25 million in infrastructure development funds allocated by the Department of Education towards the project. The first ground was broken in November 2007 and it is envisaged that the project will be completed by the end of 2009. However, the University is still seeking financial support for phases 2 and 3. Nation building through the arts A new home for the Wits Art Galleries Wits University is home to one of the largest and most fascinating collections of African art that have the ability to provide a powerful platform for creating common meaning and understanding amongst all South Africans. Julia Charlton, a curator of the Wits Arts Galleries elaborates: “The visual arts heritage of South Africa is as diverse as its political, cultural and social landscape. Historically, some of this heritage has been widely acknowledged, whilst other dimensions have been suppressed and have not attained the recognition they deserve. Embracing the totality of this visual arts heritage can influence the development of mutual understanding and respect in South Africa.” The collections provide a powerful basis for offering the public an unrivalled experience of African art. The Wits Art Galleries‘ Project aims to optimise this experience, in particular to achieve the vision of contributing to a common sense of nationhood through art. This will be reflected in the design of the new galleries, in the management of the collection and in the innovative education and exhibition programmes. April 2008

Capital Projects

Architectural rendering of Street Level Gallery in proposedWits Art Galleries Development.

“We are striving to create a technologyenabled experience that offers rich interpretive opportunities related to the artwork on display. The intention is that people will be surprised and moved, motivated and inspired, educated and united through the experience,” says Fiona Rankin-Smith, also a curator of the collection. “This also involves the custodial care and presentation of diverse critical heritage material in ways that provide exhilarating and provocative public engagement.” Charlton adds: “We are also aiming to develop structured programmes for specific target groups to realise a variety of objectives. For example, we aim to create an understanding of people and history through art, through cultural understanding and appreciation, through diversity management and also through stimulating creativity.” “Ultimately, we are aiming for the construction of an accessible, protective and creative physical space that optimises public appreciation of the collection as well as April 2008

related education, research and curatorial activities,” concludes Rankin-Smith. The University has already donated space across three buildings to house the Galleries, amongst its other contributions. The proposed location of this R60 million project is on the corner of Jorisssen Street and Jan Smuts Avenue, which forms a key component of Johannesburg’s cultural arc. Investing in academic excellence “Wits University is committed to making a positive contribution to the development of our country and the continent through investment in the projects described above,” says Moore. “Our determination is to integrate South Africa more powerfully into the global knowledge economy by offering world-class education to all South Africans. We invite our friends, partners and other like-minded organisations to invest in academic excellence and thus join us on our journey towards making our country and Africa a better place for all who live in it.” WITSReview 29


Getting ahead in your career By Thumeshni Mudeliar

Graduation has come and gone. You landed your first job and are about to embark on the career path you’ve always dreamt of. Although you may just be starting out, there is no better time for career planning than right now. Setting work-related goals and knowing just how you intend to get ahead in your career are important considerations. After all, it is up to you to manage and drive your own professional success. 30 WITSReview


limbing the corporate ladder requires a strategic and disciplined approach. Sitting around and just waiting for an opportunity to be promoted is not at all productive. Getting ahead means being pro-active and assertive. Vince Thompson, the author of “Ignited: Managers! Light up your Company and Career for More Power, More Purpose and More Success”, aptly sums it up when he says: “What’s April 2008


important to recognise is where your passions and strength lie and then to spend your time advancing them.” In doing so, look at ways to develop your current knowledge and expertise with on-the-job training workshops or maybe even consider participating in courses at your own expense. It’s all about multi-skilling. This is simply where company employees are trained in more than one set of job tasks to increase individual competencies and provide better organisational service value. Online business resource www.realbusiness.co.za describes multi-skilling as being “increasingly used in businesses today and many believe that it is a strategy for achieving flexibility within organisations. There is also a far wider implication of the concept in that it is a way to eliminate the narrow skills base of an industry. Certainly more and more organisations’ training programmes are being developed in such a way as to focus more on the creation of multi-skilled employees.” Alternatively, specialist skills add just as much value to business operations. The ultimate aim here is becoming indispensable to management, creating your unique niche of skills that is not otherwise easily sourced. The world of business is cutting-edge and competitive and it is essential for employees to remain up-to-date in their relevant field of expertise. A career-hungry employee is one willing to study further and upgrade existing qualifications over time, subscribe to informational journals relating to his or her job as well as becoming active in professional organisations to champion industry causes. Also never underestimate the value of networking on the job. This could easily achieve your desired career goals. Keep in touch and liaise with contacts often to create sound professional relationships. It can help in finding April 2008

A supervisor will appreciate someone who can do more than is expected of them and takes initiative before being asked to complete a task better job prospects, seeking out a promotion or even starting up your own business. A simple “hello, how are you?” will certainly go a long way. A supervisor will appreciate someone who can do more than is expected of them and takes initiative before being asked to complete a task. An employee who looks at ways to increase revenue, reduce expenses and streamline operations adds value to a company. In aspiring to advance one’s career, seek to take on a mentor. Experienced wellestablished and successful people in their careers usually don’t mind helping and guiding new recruits. Also take credit where credit is due. Don’t be afraid to document and point out your contribution to the success of a specific project when there is a prospect of a new promotion or job ahead. Be able to show your own progress on the job besides the monthly reviews etc. Document it accordingly in your resumé paying particular attention to why your achievement was meaningful to the company and what was the outcome and impact on business. At the end of the day, while doing a great job is counted, to be recognised and to stand out from your peers there is a need to market yourself and seek out exposure. Your interpersonal and teamwork skills are just as important as knowing how to do your job in influencing your success. WITSReview 31

News Bytes

Wits News WBS partners with London Business School The Wits Business School has entered into a partnership with London Business School, one of the world’s top ranked Business Schools, to run this year’s International Executive Development Programme CIEDP. This programme celebrates its 40th anniversary and it is also the programme that initially started the Wits Business School. The curriculum has a solid foundation in the South African context when it is presented in the first two weeks at the WBS. Delegates are then exposed to global thinking at the London Business School and on the international study tour to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. The Director of the WBS, Prof. Mthuli Ncube, says: “The Wits Business School is proud to be partnering with the London Business School on our flagship programme and we encourage leaders to attend the IEDP if they are on a quest for self-discovery and learning that will enhance their leadership skills and make a measurable difference to their performance.” Conrad Viedge, the Programme Director, stresses that the programme has a strong focus on individual development as well as covering the core disciplines of business.

Drama for life programme launched The Drama for Life Programme, a SADCbased Wits-GTZ partnership, supported by the Goethe-Institut and the Southern African Theatre Initiative was officially launched in February 2008. The Programme is an international project that focuses on the extended and integrated use of applied drama and theatre practices for HIV/Aids education. According to the Director of the Programme and Head of Dramatic Art at Wits, Warren Nebe, the project allows for collaboration across education, community, drama and health settings within the SADC region. “It is firmly committed to promoting personal and social development and empowering students and their communities to enhance the ways in which HIV/Aids education and counselling are thought about and carried out.” 32 WITSReview

With the focus on developing a particularly African framework that contributes to research about drama and theatre practice within Africa, the programme has offered 28 scholarships to an eclectic group of Africans from the SADC region with diverse backgrounds in drama and theatre, education and health. The group consists of leading theatre practitioners from SADC universities, non-governmental organisations and theatre groups. “Drama for Life aims to partner with other leading funding agencies and universities, colleges and non-governmental organisations throughout the region, particularly those dedicated to social development and quality of life research through applied drama and theatre,” adds Nebe. “The programme further aims to provide support for these scholars to return to their home countries to implement sustainable applied theatre projects.” April 2008

News Bytes

Co-founder of greenpeace at Wits The Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa in association with Wits University hosted Dr Patrick Moore, world-renowned ecologist, environmentalist and co-founder of Greenpeace at Wits in March 2008. Moore presented a public lecture entitled Global Warming and the Search for Sustainable, Clean

Energy. Moore, once an ardent opponent and activist against nuclear energy discussed the impact of global warming and presented his views on the challenges and the respective roles that nuclear power, renewable sources and energy efficiency can play in producing a cleaner electricity supply and ensuring a sustainable energy future.

Talking about Aids in the workplace HIV/Aids peer education provides an important component of workplace responses to HIV/Aids in South Africa. Peer education relies on the benefits of utilising peers as change agents since people are more comfortable with, and pay greater attention to, persons who are similar to themselves. With continuing HIV infection, reluctance to test and fear and stigma, their work remains vital in changing beliefs and behaviour of workers, their families and communities. Building on earlier research (Dickinson 2006a) that outlined the extent and nature of workplace HIV/Aids peer education, Prof. David Dickinson released a report entitled Talking about Aids – A study of informal activities by workplace HIV/Aids peer educators in a South African company. This report scrutinises the ‘informal activity’ that comprises a critical aspect of peer education. “In contrast to formal activities, such as giving a prepared talk to co-workers, informal activity is generally conducted with individuals or small groups, is largely unscripted, responds to peers’ needs, is essentially private, but can take place almost anywhere,” explains Dickinson.

Distinguished library lecture series takes off The Chief Librarian of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt, Dr Sohair Wastawy, presented the first Wits Distinguished Library Lecture, entitled Libraries and Information: Past, Present and Future. Wastawy observed the past and examined the present manner in which information is delivered and the tools used to access information. She also focused on the future and the new information landscape. April 2008

Wits is home to 16 A-rated researchers Wits University is now home to 16 A-rated researchers, based on a stringent evaluation of an individual scientist’s research record over five years. These rated researchers are all international leaders in their fields. The newest and youngest A-rated researcher is Prof. Thad Metz, Head of Philosophy at Wits University. Prof. Isabel Hofmeyr also recently received her A-rating from the National Research Foundation for her work in literature and language studies. WITSReview 33


Wits team discovers new ‘Hobbits’ in Palau By Shirona Patel

An international team of scientists led by South African researchers from the University of the Witwatersrand, recently announced the discovery of an extinct population of small-bodied humans found on the island of Palau, Micronesia, an island in the Pacific Ocean.

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Below: Rock islands of Palau. Famous for their beauty, many of the 300 or so rock islands of Palau are made of limestone.Limestone interacts with water, creating craggy surfaces and caves.The rock islands are largely uninhabitable, but they appear to have been used by ancient peoples for burial rituals.


he team of researchers led by Professor Lee Berger, a palaeoanthropologist from the Wits together with colleagues from Duke University and Rutgers University, describe the fossil humans, who lived on the island between 1 400 and 3 000 years ago, as having some, but not all of the features found in the controversial Homo floresiensis fossils found on the island of Flores in Indonesia. H. floresiensis, also known as the ‘Hobbit’ has been at the centre of scientific debate as to whether the tiny skeletal remains represent a new species of human or are just the remains of a pathological individual with some type of genetic disorder such as microcephally. “The Palauen fossils exhibit a surprising number of traits that were originally used to describe the Hobbit as a unique species, including small body size, relatively large teeth, small faces and reduced chins,” says Berger who discovered the fossil treasure-trove whilst vacationing in Palau in 2006.

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“Who knows what is out there?” says Berger. “It just demonstrates the great need for more exploration to be undertaken in these remote areas.” The Palauen fossils come from two burial caves in the picturesque Rock Islands of Palau in the Pacific Ocean. “We were on a kayak excursion when a guide asked me if I wanted to see a cave with some old bones in it - of course I did!” recounts Berger. “When I saw a tiny face, part of a fossil skull, I instinctively knew that they were of major importance. I initially thought it was one individual, and of course the ‘Flores’ debate was raging at the time. I used my camera to focus on the tiny bones and snapped some shots so that I could study them in detail at a later stage.” After obtaining an emergency grant from the National Geographic’s Mission Programs, Berger and a team of international scientists, including students from the University of the Witwatersrand, returned to Palau a few weeks later. “What we found astounded our most experienced explorers, even the Palauen officials who accompanied us,” explains Berger. “The cave where Berger had found the original fossils was literally filled with tens of individuals. When excavated, the sand itself 36 WITSReview

was practically made up of ground human bone,” adds Bonita De Klerk, a PhD student at the University of the Witwatersrand, one of the initial explorers and co-authors of the paper. “In a one-metre-square by 50-centimetre-deep test pit, we recovered more than 1 200 fragments of human beings – it was remarkable!” De Klerk is studying the body size of the Palauens and found individuals in Palau that were practically the same height as Flores. “They were as small as just over a metre,” she explains. “one foot bone is actually almost the same size as the same foot bone of the famous Little Foot skeleton in Sterkfontein, and that’s very small.” Little Foot is an australopithecine and early human ancestor that dates to around 2,5 million years ago. The brains of the Palauen humans are thought to be small, at the very bottom or even below modern human variation. “However, they are not as small as the brains of the Hobbits,” clarifies De Klerk. “We have found some skulls but they are heavily embedded in flowstones and we cannot measure their brain size, only estimate it.”

The brains of the Palauen humans are thought to be small, at the very bottom or even below modern human variation. April 2008

Photographs by Stephen Alvarez / © 2008 National Geographic


Skull comparison. Among the oldest bones Dr Lee Berger found on Palau were some with what appears to be an exaggerated brow ridge, a trait which is often considered a primitive one for the human lineage. Shown here is one specimen with a brow ridge found in Ucheliungs Cave in Palau in 2006, set between a model of a modern human female skull (left), and a model of the skull of Homo Floresiensis.

A second cave has revealed an equally large cache of bones indicating to Berger that the islands might be full of surprises. “Who knows what is out there?” asks Berger. “It just demonstrates the great need for more exploration to be undertaken in these remote areas.” Berger says the Palauen discovery suggests that given the many characteristics that the Palauen fossils share with Flores (that were typically considered ‘primitive’ to modern humans), these characters probably should not be used to define a new species, particularly when found in only a single skeleton. April 2008

“There were at the time no large terrestrial animals so it is likely that the early Palauens had to survive only on near-shore marine resources.

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Ucheliungs Cave. Dr. Lee Berger led a National Geographic-funded expedition to Palau in the summer of 2006 to collect samples of unusually small human bones from Ucheliungs Cave. Here he is shown in an uncomfortable small passage trying to free a human skull that had become cemented into the flowstone of the cave floor. Other human bones lie in the right foreground.

While this island looks like Paradise, these early people, who may have been stranded, were really living under a great deal of dietary stress,”

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Another fascinating aspect of the find is how quickly the island adaptations may have occurred. “Our fossils are among the oldest ever found on Palau and may indicate that all of these features evolved very quickly, possibly in just a few generations,” speculates Berger.

But how can this be? Berger explains: “Palau is like a Galapagos for humans. There were at the time no large terrestrial animals so it is likely that the early Palauens had to survive only on near-shore marine resources. While this island looks like Paradise, these early April 2008


Mandible Comparison. A comparison of a 2900 year-old mandible discovered in Ucheliungs Cave in Palau in 2006 (bottom) to a model of a modern human female mandile (top) shows the dramatic difference in size between the smallbodied early Palauans and average-sized modern humans. Also notable is the deep jaw of the Palauan specimen and the reduced chin, both considered primitive traits in the human lineage.

people, who may have been stranded, were really living under a great deal of dietary stress,” notes Berger. The announcement by Berger and his colleagues was made only a week after the legitimacy of Flores as a unique species came under question once again when Australian researchers presented evidence that the unusual limb morphology of H. floresiensis, which has been held by supporters of the unique status of the Hobbit as critical, looks remarkably similar to the limb morphology of individuals who are suffering from a genetic disorder or pathology such as cretinism, which can also effect cranial morphology. April 2008

“When you put our two studies together it does make one wonder,” says Berger. “With their big teeth, small faces, reduced chins and small stature, it makes me wonder what a cretin or microcephalic would look like in the Palauen sample. Maybe not identical to, but perhaps a lot like the Hobbit skeleton.” “When we go back, maybe we will find one!” he adds. Berger and his colleagues intend to continue work on Palau and neighbouring islands as part of an international expedition to discover more fossils.

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Photo Essay

In the summertime... Photo Essay

Remember that old song – you would have to have been around in the seventies – which had the refrain, “in the summertime when the weather is high you can reach right up and touch the sky...” Alumni of a certain age will now be humming the tune. Endlessly. Those who have been more recently educated will have moved on. Thankfully. Be that as it may, the words do evoke a certain tone and mood and one which we hope is reflected in our latest photo essay. We’ve wandered around the campus capturing the heady season of summer. Students in T-shirts, shorts and sandals, taking refuge in the shade; bright sunlight cast on one of the most beautiful academic institutions on the continent and perhaps most importantly either the promise of the long holiday ahead or the slog of a year to come as February gives way to a crisp Johannesburg autumn. We hope these images remind you of your summer days at Wits when your life stretched out before you and career ambition was tempered by the promise of a trip to the “Dev” or the Sunnyside and the hope that Monday’s lecture wouldn’t start too early.

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Photo: Dimitri Selibas

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Photo Essay

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Photo Essay

Photo: Peter Maher

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News Bytes

Wits News Fifth international Mathematics in Industry Study Group Leading mathematicians from around the world and throughout South Africa converged at Wits University in January to solve problems presented to them by industry, within five days using applied mathematics. One of the problems presented by the beverage industry looked at why the labels on beer bottles are often wrinkled. The mining industry was looking for answers to minimise the effects of rock bursts. The dynamic simulation of river and water networks, which has application to pollution of rivers, was also investigated. “There is a strong growing appreciation within various industries about the power of applied mathematics as a problem-solving tool. Modern applied mathematics, coupled with powerful computational techniques can quickly and cheaply increase productivity through a deeper understanding of processes,” says Prof. David Sherwell, Head of the School of Computational and Applied Mathematics. About 20 institutions participated in this unique event that attracted local, African and international scholars. Academics hailed from as far afield as Ireland, the United States, Portugal, India and Australia while students from all over South Africa, Malawi and Zimbabwe attended the workshop. 46 WITSReview

Garden provides food and jobs to inner city residents Access to sufficient food is the constitutional right of all South Africans. At a national level South Africa is a food secure nation. At the household or community level, however, the situation is very different. A considerable proportion of the total South African population is currently vulnerable to food insecurity, with women, children, the elderly and people living with HIV/Aids being the most vulnerable. According to Wits Professor Michael Rudolph, coordinator of the Siyakhana Food Garden project, poverty and food insecurity are locked into the same destructive cycle. “Poverty is the leading cause of food insecurity and food insecurity is a major contributor to the persistence of poverty,” he says. The reality is that hundreds of people living in the inner city of Johannesburg are not empowered, they are unemployed, poor and often go to bed hungry. These vulnerable people face each day just trying to meet their basic needs. But there is hope in store for inner-city dwellers living on the edge. The Siyakhana Food Garden in Bezuidenhout Park Johannesburg was established in January 2005 by the Health Promotion Unit at Wits University in collaboration with several nongovernmental organisations who provide home-based care to People Living with Aids and Early Childhood Development Centres. Rudolph explains the aim of the Siyakhana Food Garden project: “Its main aim is to establish a model permaculture food garden system for food production, April 2008

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education, research and empowerment of the community (particularly women) through training, employment and income generating opportunities. This will ensure and nurture the development of a sustainable and productive environment necessary for the improvement of the health, social and economic status of the inner city community.” Phase 2 of the Siyakhana Food Garden project was launched on in January 2008 at Bezuidenhout Park by Gauteng MEC for

A “social vaccine” against Aids A study published in January in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health suggests that secondary school attendance is linked to a lower risk of HIV infection among young people in rural South Africa. The study, a collaboration between the School of Public Health, Wits University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) examined sexual behaviour and HIV prevalence among 916 young men and 1 003 young women aged 14 to 25 in rural South Africa. The researchers wanted to know whether youth who remain in school are at higher or lower risk of HIV infection, compared to similar, out-of-school peers. The team, led by Dr James Hargreaves of the LSHTM’s Infectious Disease Epidemiology Unit found that among both sexes, those in school reported fewer sexual partners, compared to their out-of-school peers. For female students, this partner reduction was accompanied by other proApril 2008

Agriculture, Conservation and the Environment, Mr Khabisi Mosunkutu. The Siyakhana Food Project is supported by the Faculty of Health Sciences and straddles several other disciplines across the University, including civil engineering and business development. Wits students benefit as they participate in the programmes and “it turns them into socially-aware graduates with a holistic education, committed to social and other development”.

tective behaviours such as greater condom use, less frequent sex, and partners who were closer to their own age. Strikingly, male students were much less likely to be HIV positive than their out-ofschool peers. Dr Hargreaves says: “Our study suggests that, in South Africa, being in school can shape young people’s social networks, leading to less high-risk sexual behaviour and, therefore, lower rates of HIV infection. We recently conducted a review of 36 studies across sub-Saharan Africa which came to the same conclusions – that across a number of countries, those with higher education may now be at lower risk of HIV infection, reversing previous trends. We need to accelerate efforts to increase access to education, including secondary education, if we are going to make an impact on this epidemic. It’s encouraging that African governments, the G8, the World Bank, and others have committed to these goals – now there is even more evidence why we should do it.” WITSReview 47


Alumni Achievers

Wits University awarded Sir Terence English (BSc Engineering, 1954) an honorary doctorate in medicine at a graduation ceremony held on 13 March 2007, in recognition of his contribution to cardiovascular surgery practice and research and to the advancement of the profession of surgery and health care.

Sir Terence English Sir Terence, who performed the first successful heart transplant in the United Kingdom, was born in Pietermaritzburg in 1932 and completed his school education at Hilton College. After graduating from Wits he changed his career path by completing a medical degree at Guy’s Hospital Medical School in London in 1962 and specialised in cardiothoracic surgery. In 1963, Sir Terence went to Groote Schuur to work with Professor Chris Barnard who performed the world’s first successful heart transplant in 1967. Twelve years later Sir Terence had moved to Papworth and Addenbrooke’s teaching hospitals of the University of Cambridge where he set up a heart transplant programme and performed the first successful heart transplant in the UK. He has served as President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, President of the International Society of Heart Transplantation and President of the British Medical Association. Sir Terence was elected an Honorary Fellow of the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa in 1991 and holds honorary fellowships of at least another nine medical colleges in the United Kingdom and throughout the world. He was invested as a Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1991. 48 WITSReview

Sir Terence retired from the Papworth Hospital in 1995 and as Master of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge six years later. He is an Honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s and of Worcester College (Oxford) and King’s College (London). Since retiring, he has spent much of his time in Pakistan helping to train Pakistani doctors in trauma care.

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Simpiwe Tshabalala Mr Simpiwe (Sim) Tshabalala, who obtained an HDip Tax Law at Wits in 1997, has been appointed Chief Executive designate of the Standard Bank of South Africa. Tshabalala is currently Chief Executive of Personal and Business Banking at Standard Bank SA and will take up his new position in June 2008 when he returns from attending an executive programme at Harvard University. He joined the then Standard Corporate and Merchant Bank in September 2000 as Director, Structured Finance and was appointed to the Group Executive Committee in 2001. He became Managing Director of Stanbic Africa in October 2001 and was appointed Deputy Managing Director of Personal and Business Banking in November 2003. In August 2006, Tshabalala was promoted to Chief Executive, Personal and Business Banking, South Africa. Speaking to the media on his appointment

Tshabalala said, “There is a lot to be done and the challenges are at once terrifying and exhilarating.� Tshabalala has also obtained a BA and LLB (Rhodes) and LLM (Notre Dame).

Paul van Zyl Paul van Zyl, who obtained his BA in 1992 and LLB in 1997 from Wits, has been selected as a Young Global Leader 2008 by the World Economic Forum. This prestigious honour is awarded annually to recognise and acknowledge 200/300 young leaders from around the world for their professional accomplishments, commitment to society, and potential to contribute to shaping the future of the world. Van Zyl was awarded the honour largely for his work as co-founder and Executive Vice-President of the International Centre for Transitional Justice (ICTJ). Founded in April 2008

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2001, the ICTJ assists countries pursuing accountability for past mass atrocity or human rights abuse on the understanding that this will help break vicious cycles of violence and reduce the likelihood of future conflict. Over the past decade, van Zyl has acted as an adviser and consultant to human rights organisations, governments, international organisations, and foundations on transitional justice issues in more than 20 countries. From 1995 to 1998, he served as Executive Secretary of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, helping to establish the Commission, develop its structure and modus operandi and manage its operations. He has also worked as a researcher for the Goldstone Commission, as a departmental head at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in Johannesburg, and as an associate at Davis Polk and Wardwell in New York. He has received a number of academic and professional honours including being named as one of New York’s ‘Top 15 Lawyers Under 40’ by New York Lawyer Magazine. Van Zyl has also been awarded an LLM in International Law from the University of Leiden in the Netherlands and an LLM in Corporate Law from New York University where he was a Hauser Scholar.

John Burland Professor John Burland (BSc Civil Engineering, 1958; MSc Civil Engineering, 1962) was awarded an honorary doctorate of Science in Engineering from Wits at a graduation ceremony held on 12 December 2007.

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Burland was awarded the degree in recognition of his lifelong service to engineering education, engineering research, and the practice of engineering. However, the achievement that brought him most renown was his role in the operation that prevented the 400-year-old Leaning Tower of Pisa from falling and preserved this wonder of the world for future generations. Burland played a leading role in the commission set up by the Italian government to correct an architectural defect that threatened to topple the tower. The fragility of the building ruled out the use of conventional engineering methods, and eventually it was stabilised by carefully removing 30 tons of soil from beneath its foundations on the ‘high’ side, causing it to subside gently to a more vertical position. April 2008


Other high profile engineering projects he has been involved with include the Thames Barrier and the underground parking garage for the House of Commons. Burland was born in England on 4 March 1936 and came to South Africa with his parents as a small child. He grew up in Johannesburg, matriculating at Parktown Boys High School. After graduating from Wits he remained at the University until mid-1961, working as a research assistant for the then head of the Department of Civil Engineering, Professor Jere Jennings, and simultaneously studying part-time for an MSc (Eng) degree. In June 1961 he went to the United Kingdom where, after working for the consultants Ove Arup and Partners for three years, he started research towards his PhD at Cambridge University, which he obtained in 1966. He became a Senior Research Officer at the British Building Research Establishment in 1966 and, within six years, had risen to the position of head of its Geotechnical Engineering Division. In 1979 he was promoted to Assistant Director. In 1980 he was appointed Professor of Soil Mechanics at the Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, a position he held with great distinction until he retired in 2001. In 1980 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and, more recently, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society, an honour bestowed on very few engineers. In 2006 he was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Public Promotions of Engineering Medal in recognition of his work in generating interest in engineering amongst the public and the media. April 2008

Meyer Feldberg Professor Meyer Feldberg, who obtained his BA from Wits in 1963, has been appointed President of New York City Global Partners – a programme that promotes New York’s interaction with cities around the world. Feldberg, who is Senior Advisor at Morgan Stanley, is currently on a leave of absence as Dean Emeritus and Professor of Leadership at the University of Columbia Business School. Before joining Columbia University he was President of the Illinois Institute of Technology, from 1986 to 1989; Dean of the A. B. Freeman School of Business, Tulane, from 1981 to 1986; Associate Dean of the J. L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Northwestern, from 1979 to 1981 and Dean of the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, from 1972 to 1979. WITSReview 51


He has been a visiting professor at the Cranfield School of Management in England, the Sloan School of Management at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at INSEAD in France. Feldberg is a Director of many bluechip global companies including Macy*s, Revlon, PRIMEDIA, UBS Global Asset Management, and Sappi. A keen athlete, Feldberg participated in numerous international swimming compe-

titions in the late 1950s and 1960s. He is listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World and The International Who’s Who in Education. In 2001 The International Center in New York honoured him as a distinguished foreign-born individual who has made a significant contribution to American life. Feldberg obtained his MBA at Columbia University, and his PhD at the University of Cape Town.

Arlene Amaler-Raviv In November 2007, Arlene Amaler-Raviv (BA Fine Arts, 1974) was invited to participate in an exhibition of artist painting artist entitled, ‘Muse’. She chose to paint Robert Hodgins, her mentor and teacher at Wits in the early seventies who invited her to do the work in his studio over four days. She recalled the experience saying, “We sat together that first day; me struggling to understand the details of his face, sketching frantically; knowing the challenge to paint ‘the essence of this man’. “For weeks I had been considering painting a full length study of his vulnerable being, 87 years of age, wisdom and strength and to contrast this with the active, insightful intellect of his incredible mind.” She said it was an honour to have had the opportunity to paint the portrait which was recently completed in Cape Town and titled; ‘teacher… in garage trousers’. Amaler-Raviv’s career as an artist has seen her participating in numerous exhibitions and art projects, both locally and internationally. She is widely represented in many major private and public collections across the world. A collaboration with renowned photographer, Dale Yudelman, resulted in the famous ‘Joburg Man’ who still walks proudly over Commissioner Street, four years after its installation on the facade of the old Standard Bank Building. 52 WITSReview

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Felix Fongoqa Mr Felix Fongoqa, who obtained his BSc (Engineering) and Graduate Diploma (Civil Engineering) qualifications from Wits in 1988 and 1991 respectively, was inaugurated as the youngest-ever President of the South African Association of Consulting Engineers in October 2007. His involvement with and service to the engineering industry goes back to his University days where he served on the South African Institution of Civil Engineers (SAICE) student chapter at Wits and later as a representative of the Border-Kei branch of SAICE.

He has also served in various portfolios of the South African Black Technical and Allied Careers Organisation. Mr Fongoqa has served on a number of boards and community-based development organisations including Amatola Water, Eastern Cape Provincial Housing Board, Mdantsane Community Development Trust, the Border-Kei Development Forum, and Bateman Africa (Pty) Ltd. Mr Fongoqa has worked for many reputable engineering firms and is currently CEO of ILISO Consulting. April 2008

Jill Matus (Lazar) Professor Jill Matus, who obtained her BA from Wits in 1974, has been appointed Vice-Provost: Students, at the University of Toronto, Canada from July 2008. Matus joined the University of Toronto as an Assistant Professor in English in 1987 and was promoted to Professor in 2002. She was Associate Graduate Director in the Department of English from 2002 to 2004 and served as Vice-Principal at University College from 2005. A distinguished Humanities scholar, she is best known for her research on the Victorian novel in relation to medical and psychological writing of the period, and has published widely on George Eliot, Dickens, the BrontĂŤs, and Elizabeth Gaskell. Matus obtained her MA from Columbia University and PhD from the University of Toronto. WITSReview 53


Perth Witsies launch Alumni Chapter Eighteen Perth Witsies met for dinner on 1 March 2008 to launch the Perth Chapter of the Wits Alumni Association. The dinner was held at the Botanical Café in Kings Park, which provides a spectacular view of the city. Witsies from the faculties of Medicine, Engineering, Law, Education and Arts, with graduation dates ranging from 1949 to 1999, soon found common ground. Helen Dodge, who convened the function,

reported that, “Within minutes of arriving, our alumni filled the restaurant with chatter and laughter and the evening continued in a happy and relaxed vein. All present were enthusiastic to continue meeting in future, to involve more alumni and to invite guest speakers to address the group.” Helen Dodge, Patsy Stasikowski and Zvi Yom-Tov volunteered to organise the next meeting which is expected to take place in July 2008.

Back row (left to right): Andre Stasikowski MSc Eng; Hein Sonnendecker MBBCh 1988, DTM&H 1999; Michelle Sonnendecker MBBCh 1990, DTM&H 1999; Lesley Goodman BA, HDipEd 1973; David Goodman BA 1970, LLB 1972; Michael Haynes; Sandy Heldsinger (née Monk) BEd 1985; David Heldsinger LLB 1987; John Blott MBBCh 1981 and Greg Heard (Wits Tech and UNISA graduate, Sandy’s husband); Front (l to r): Helen Dodge HDipEd 1991, MA English 1996; Patsy Stasikowski MSc Biochem; CarmelaYom-Tov (standing) BA 1967; ZviYom-Tov MSc Metallurgy 1976; Valerie Heard BSc Nursing 1983, MBBCh 1990; Liesl Blott BPharm 1988; and Paula Conway (née Haynes) BA 1988, LLB 1991. Not pictured: Prof Krishna Somers MB 1949. 54 WITSReview

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Philosophy Reunion and Debate A packed audience of about 40 philosophy alumni attended a lively Alumni Debate at Hofmeyr House on Saturday 8 March 2008. The event was hosted by the Philosophy Department as the first of what will be annual reunions of past philosophy students, and attracted both recent and older alumni and even two generations from the same family. The Head of the Philosophy Department, Professor Thaddeus Metz, who was recently awarded an A-rating by the National Research Foundation, gave a presentation of his recent work on developing an African moral theory based on the concept of ubuntu. After comments from respondents, Dr Lucy Allais and Dr Kai Horsthemke, the debate was opened to the floor resulting in a spirited session of philosophical engagement and debate. Dr Allais, who was one of the main organisers of the reunion, said their phi-

losophy graduates were an extremely successful group of people working in a diverse range of professions and it was interesting to discover what they had been doing since graduating. She said the reunion gave the Department an opportunity to re-establish and strengthen relationships with its alumni, to tell them about the activities and plans of the Department, and to ask alumni for advice about developing fundraising networks in the business and professional communities to support initiatives of the Department.

Alumni Diary • Humanities Festival, 4 – 6 April • Alumni Golf Day, Killarney Golf Course, 11 April • Founders’ Cocktails to induct the Class of 1968, Wits Club, 16 April • Networking Breakfast, 28 May • Launch of Cape Town Chapter, TBA • Networking Breakfast, 26 August • Founders’ Tea, Savernake, 20 November 2008 • Health Graduates Association Reunion & Symposium, TBA • Alumni Awards Gala Dinner, 1 November April 2008

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Book Review

Book Review

The War Against Ourselves: Nature, Power and Justice Author: Professor Jacklyn Cock Publisher: Wits University Press This highly readable, insightful and thoughtprovoking book by Professor Jacklyn Cock could not have arrived at a more appropriate time. It will be very useful for students, teachers and activists in the field of environmental sociology. The book is informative and educational for a wide range of readers who have interests related to nature in its broadest sociological sense. The multifaceted ways in which capi56 WITSReview

talist globalisation has devastatingly impacted upon nature, the environment, and life in South Africa is captured in a systematically detailed fashion, ranging from an understanding and enjoyment of nature to its pollution, abuse and privatisation. But the book’s most powerful discursive contribution is its critical dissection – often in novel ways – of a ‘nature’ that we are socialised to think is physically separated from us. Jackie brings ‘nature’ home, so to say, and re-appropriates, reframes, and in an important sense re-socialises it in order that we can appreciate the urgent necessity to take responsibility – through ‘organising nature’ – for changing it in the interests of communities who mostly bear the brunt of its commercialisation and commodification. As a topical example, the book devotes a chapter to how adequate supplies of water – the most important natural resource we require – are placed out of reach of poor households because of its privatisation, through prepaid meters and other measures. Jackie regards nature not as an alien or external concept but as deeply rooted and implicated in our daily lives in complex and multiple ways. In fact, the title of the book is directly drawn from the fact that because human beings are not only central to, but are, indeed, a crucially determining part of nature they should strive to consciously harness it for noble and socially just ends thus ending the “war against ourselves”, which capitalist globalisation and privatisation of nature have unleashed upon us. April 2008

Book Review

The book will leave the reader rethinking ‘nature’, including things we have taken for granted, such as a visit to the Kruger National Park. In this regard, Jackie’s typical sociological activism rightly draws attention to the contradiction between ‘feeling reverential about the ruins at Thulamela’ but ignoring the surrounding poverty of ‘real-world people’. An inspiring book, not to be missed! – Ebrahim Harvey

A search for origins, science history and South Africa’s cradle of humankind Edited by Philip Bonner; Amanda Esterhuysen and Trefor Jenkins Publisher: Wits University Press With the growing popularity of the Cradle of Humankind in northern Gauteng this book could not have come at a more opportune time. While its a tough read at times – not for the casual tourist – it provides a overview of the history of the area and of the important human and animal fossils that have been discovered there. It’s our strong recommendation that if you’re going to take the trouble of visiting the site and you want something more out of it than a casual afternoon, it’s worth paging through the book.This is the first real systematic account of the wider history of the cradle and the surrounding area. Perhaps more importantly is the word context. The book places the important scientific advances that have been made there against a wider intellectual and political background. The obvious conclusion to be drawn is that April 2008

this sacred and fascinating place is an important reference point for South Africa both in terms of ancient and contemporary history. Answers of course are not absolute. Bonner writes in his opening under the heading Africa is seldom what it seems (lines first used by President Mbeki when he officially opened the site) that part of the enduring appeal of the cradle is that what it means and what it stands for is in a constant state of motion or flux and that the boundaries of science at the cradle are constantly being pushed forward. The book is magnificently illustrated and if you’re looking for answers as to what it means to be human and a South African this will spark debate and provide some important answers. It has a forward by Professor Phillip Tobias. – GrahamWarning WITSReview 57


In Memoriam

Wits University fondly remembers those who have passed away.

Kenneth Bertram Addison (1923 – 2007) Ken Addison was born in Salisbury in the then Southern Rhodesia. He attended Prince Edward High School and Milton High School in Bulawayo. He volunteered for military service in 1940 and served in East Africa and Burma. In 1945 he enrolled at Wits as one of the three-year ‘Donga Docs’ under Professor John Phillips. After graduation he joined the Agricultural Department in Rhodesia as a Pasture Research Officer. In 1963, Ken and his family emigrated to Queensland, Australia. He worked as senior agristologist for the department of primary industries and was the officer in charge at ‘Brian Pastures Research Station’ in Gayndah, Queensland until his retirement in 1983. Ken passed away on 4 September 2007. Ashley Callie (1973 – 2008) Ashley Callie was tragically killed in a car accident on 15 February 2008. Ashley was fondly known to millions of South Africans as Lee Haines in the local soap opera, Isidingo. Ashley was born on 19 May 1973 in Johannesburg. She attended St Mary’s school before going on to study Dramatic Arts at Wits. After graduating in 1995, Ashley appeared in a number of television productions including Uninvited Guest, Homeland and Natural Rhythm. In 2000 she performed in the Pieter Toerien production of Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight for which she was nominated for a best actress in a comedy award. She later played Bobbi in Daphne Kuhn’s production of Some Girls. In 2007, she appeared in the international film, The Surprise. Ashley’s untimely death has left a profound sense of loss of a talented artist and of a much loved personality. She is survived by her parents Graham and Claire, sister Lauren and brother John. 58 WITSReview

Margaret Charlton (1931 – 2008) Mrs Margaret Charlton, wife of retired ViceChancellor and Principal, Professor Robert Charlton, passed away following a long illness which had been bravely borne. She is survived by her husband and their four children – Sarah, Julia, Diana and Robert. There are many alumni who will remember her with great fondness. Her warmth and genuine interest in people were evident throughout her long association with the University. She served on the Wits Women’s Club – a voluntary group which served the University in many ways - and was its Chairperson for many years. Most notably, the Women’s Club ran the University’s craft shop in the Senate House Concourse for several years. The profits were used to support bursaries for indigent students. WITSReview relies on the Wits community to keep us informed of alumni deaths. To notify WITSReview about the recent death of a Wits alumnus, please e-mail alumni@wits.ac.za

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Avraham Eidelman (1927 – 2007) Born in Kovno in 1927, Dr Avraham Eidelman, aged five, arrived with his parents in South Africa and grew up in Mayfair, Johannesburg. Eidelman qualified as a medical doctor at the University of the Witwatersrand in 1950. In 1952 he married Channa Gulis of Cape Town and in April 1953 they emigrated to Israel. Starting as a young doctor in Assaf Harofeh, Israel, he specialised as a surgeon in urology and was

eventually appointed head of the Urology Department, a position he held for 21 years. After his retirement he served at Assaf Harofeh for almost 10 years as a part-time surgeon and consultant. In addition to his medical career, Eidelman was also a talented musician. In Johannesburg he was a member of the Jewish Guild Orchestra and in Israel he played with the Tel Aviv Campus Orchestra and the Sharon Orchestra. Avraham died on 15 April 2007 after a long illness.

Cora Annette Erasmus (1928 – 2007) Cora Erasmus was born and educated in Johannesburg. She received her MBBCh from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1952 and a diploma in Public Health in 1958. In 1961 she was appointed as the Chief Medical Officer of Health of the City of Germiston, a leadership position that was unusual for women of her generation. Simultaneously she served as Professor of Social and Preventative Medicine at Wits, a position she held from 1961 to 1972. In 1969, she left her MOH position to take up an appointment as Director of the State Health Department. In 1974 she returned

to her position as MOH of Germiston and served in that capacity until she retired in 1993. She served on the Executive Committee of the South African National Council for the Aged and remained an active member even after her retirement. She served on the boards of several other medical and health and welfare organisations, such as the East Rand Regional Welfare Board, the Germiston and Associated Dental Clinics Board, the South African National Tuberculosis Association, and the South African Red Cross Association. She died peacefully at her home in Modderfontein on 22 December 2007 after a brief illness.

Elisabeth Françoise Eybers (1915 – 2007) Elisabeth Françoise Eybers, one of the famous Dertigers writers, passed away in Amsterdam on 1 December 2007. The Dertigers were a group of Afrikaans-lan-

guage poets who achieved new heights of eloquence in the early decades of the 20th century. Eybers was born in Klerksdorp in the then Transvaal and grew up in the town of Schweizer-Reneke where her father was a

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Dutch Reformed religious Minister. After completing her high school studies at the age of 16 she enrolled at the University of the Witwatersrand for a Bachelor of Arts Academic degree which she obtained cum laude. After her graduation she worked as a journalist. In 1937 Eybers married wellknown businessman Albert Wessels with whom she had three daughters and a son. In 1934 she became the first Afrikaans woman to win the Hertzog Prize for poetry. She won the prize again in 1971. Her work received many other awards in both South Africa and the Netherlands, includ-

ing the Constantijn Huygens prize in 1978 and the P C Hooft Award in 1991. Eybers’ first collection of poems, Belydenis in die Skemering (Confession in the Twilight), was published in 1936. Her second collection, entitled Die Stil Avontuur (The Silent Adventure) was published in 1939. Die Vrou en Ander Verse (The Woman and Other Poems) was published in 1945 while her fourth poetry collection, Die Ander Dors (The Other Thirst) was published in 1946. More recent works included the bilingualVerbruikersverse/Consumer’s verse (1997) and Winter-surplus (1999).

James Fisher (1953- 2007) Professor James Fisher served the University and the School of Human and Community Development for 25 years. First appointed in 1982 as a junior lecturer, Fisher rose to become Chair of Psychology in 1996, served as Acting Head of Psychology from 1992 to 1997 and Head of Psychology from 2000 to 2004. He was widely published in national and international journals, with a strong focus on the wellbeing of employees in the workplace. He served on the founding Executive Council of the Ergonomics Society of Southern Africa and was managing editor of the accredited journal, Ergonomics SA, from 1989 to 1992. Fisher served on numerous University committees and was both a Senator and a member of the University Council. He played an active role in his community where he was chair of the local agricultural society and a Tai Chi instructor. Craig Benjamin Klawansky (1982-2007) Craig was born in Johannesburg on 23 December 1982 and matriculated from Greenside High School in 2000. He studied civil engineering at Wits aided by a university scholarship and a bursary from Arup. He was awarded the Jere Jenkins prize for the top student in first year. Craig graduated from Wits in 2004 and began his career at Arup. At the end of 2006 he went on a camping holiday at the Wild Coast in Transkei. On 2 January 2007 he and his friends, accompanied by a municipal guide, visited the Blow Hole in Port St Johns. He lost his life trying to rescue the guide who had fallen into the dangerous Blow Hole crevice. Craig is remembered as a warm, kind and gentle young man who always put the needs of others first. He is survived by his parents, two brothers and grandparents.

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Radford Jordan (1918 – 2007) Born in 1917, Radford won a Bishops Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford in 1937. During the Second World War he worked in the Ministry of Economic Warfare completing his degree at Trinity College Dublin. After the war, Radford worked in a law firm in Cape Town and later Pretoria and also worked in the Springs and Johannesburg Town Clerk’s legal departments. He was appointed at Wits to research Local Government and he also lectured in the Department of Political Science. In 1967 he was appointed to run the new Ernest Oppenheimer Hall of residence. After his retirement from Wits he spent 15 years writing book reviews for the Financial Mail. He is fondly remembered as a scholar, a gentleman, and a much loved friend. Barbara Hanauer née Machol (1948 - 2007) Barbara passed away peacefully on 8 September 2007 with her family at her side after a brave battle with cancer. Barbara’s association with Wits started before she was even born! Her mother, Charlotte Machol née Kohn, was head housekeeper at Women’s Residence in the 1940s (this being her first job in South Africa as a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany). After matriculating from Parktown Girls High, Barbara enrolled to study Physiotherapy at Wits, graduating in 1970. She married Francis Hanauer (Wits MBA, 1972) and joined the Physiotherapy Department at Sasolburg Hospital where her first two children were born. She eventually went into private practice in Durban.

Tony (Anthony Francis) O’Connor (1961- 2005) Tony graduated from Wits in 1961. He was proud of the fact that he was the first male Physiotherapy student in South Africa and had amusing stories to tell of when he was given the option to leave lectures – such as ‘breast massage’ - to avoid embarrassment. He opted to stay for that one but chose to leave the ante-natal class. He started his career at Baragwaneth Hospital and later owned a successful Physiotherapy practice in Johannesburg for over 30 years with branches in Sandton, Northcliff and Mayfair. Tony was Chairman of the Maryvale Tennis Club, the Wanderers’ Toastmasters Club and the Parish Council at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Braamfontein. He had a great love of music, sport and travelling. He also studied wine to Wine Erratum Master’s level. He moved to Fish Hoek Professor Frikkie van Reenen was Dean with his wife Pam in 2003 where he pracand Director of the Wits Dental Facultised physiotherapy on a part-time basis. ty and Oral and Dental Hospital, not He succumbed to his fourth heart attack London as appeared in the obituary in on 24 November 2005, after his last game the January 2008 issue. of tennis. April 2008

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News Bytes

Wits News Wits has first african fifa accredited medical centre of excellence The Centre for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at Wits University has recently been accredited as a FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) Centre of Medical Excellence with a view to ensuring that players in the country and on the continent know where to go for expert football medical care. This is only one of six such Centres accredited by FIFA in the world, and the only FIFA accredited medical centre in Africa.The Centre was launched on 31 March 2008 at Wits. In a letter addressed to Dr Demitri Constantinou, Director of the Centre for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine at Wits University, FIFA President Joseph Blatter says: “We are very pleased to recommend your institution to the football community as an elite centre with a history of commitment to football and the respective expertise when specialised services are required. FIFA would like to thank you for your contribution and dedication to the protection of the health of football players and we look forward to our future collaboration.” All FIFA Medical Centres of Excellence have been carefully selected based on a comprehensive application process to prove their clinical, educational and research expertise, their practical involvement in the care of teams and their active commitment to preventing injuries. Michel D’Hooghe, Chairman of the FIFA Sports Medical Committee and Prof. Jiri Dvorak, Chairman of the FIFA Medical Assessment and Research Centre (F-MARC) will host the official inauguration ceremony 62 WITSReview

at Wits in 2008. The other five Centres are based at the Schulthess Clinic (Zurich), the Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group (Santa Monica, USA), the St Marianna University School of Medicine (Kawasaki, Japan), the adidas Sports Medicine Centre (Auckland, New Zealand) and the Orthocentre of the Technical University (Munich). “FIFA is committed to protecting and improving the health of football players worldwide,” says D’Hooghe. “We consider effective prevention and accurate diagnosis as top priorities and make a strong commitment by offering the football community Centres of Excellence. These Centres will also be generally open to every player looking for therapy or a second opinion on a specific illness or injury.” “We are overwhelmed and proud of this achievement, which adds to our current involvement in the football arena. Our Centre is already accredited by South African Football Association (SAFA) as a Football Centre of Specialisation and we are involved in a number of SAFA related initiatives to develop young football players on the continent” says Constantinou. “We also offer specialist football medical courses, three masters-level programmes in Sports Science, Biokinetics and Sports Medicine respectively and are tailoring other programmes in the lead up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.” Plans have been developed for a new building to house the Centre for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine on the Wits Education Campus. Constantinou and others are currently talking to potential funders and the process is already well underway. April 2008

At Your Wits End

Those were the days, my friend… Kate Turkington

When I was a student and dinosaurs ruled the earth, if you went to university and got a degree at the end of your three or four years, well, that was considered a bonus. You went to university mainly to have a good time and if you picked up a qualification along the way, all to the good. Mind you, mine was the first generation of UK students who went to university on merit, not breeding or money.


nly 1% of UK’s population went to university in those far-off days of the 50s and most of us were from working-class homes on State Scholarships. The government gave us just enough money to see us through a term at a time and have the odd beer, but if we failed even one exam, we were booted out never to return. Amazingly, the pass rate was nearly always 100%. Harold (‘Winds of Change sweeping through Africa’) Macmillan told us all in Britain that we’d ‘Never Had it So Good’. And we believed him. It was pretty

April 2008

true anyway. We went to parties and balls, debated superficial and frivolous issues in our great debating halls, and worried over who would win the Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race. The government didn’t give us enough money to last through the vacations, so we all became barmaids, potato pickers, chambermaids, bus conductors or washeruppers during the vacs. Good training for life and a great incentive to pass those exams. I started teaching at Wits at the beginning of the 70s and was housed in a prefab hut down near the swimming pool. There were WITSReview 63

At Your Wits End

faint rumblings of dissent and mutters about The Struggle, but students still had a good time and would sit in the sun leaning against my flimsy wooden walls making profound statements like, “In the ends are the best beginnings.” There was one common room for staff ruled over by Prof Alf Stadler from the Economics Dept and Hilary Semple of the English Dept, where we all drank coffee together and chatted about work, students and the university authorities. (Mind you, the late, great Professor Bozzoli was then VC, so there was very little to complain about.) I joined Wits just before Barry Ronge, but we quickly bonded and gazed in awe at other academics who seemed to be much older and cleverer than we were. (An illusion, as we quickly found out.) Everybody knew everybody else and there was a sense of belonging. In those heady days, students didn’t go on strike at exam time like today; in fact they didn’t go on strike at all, because they were allowed to repeat if they failed. I had a legendary character in my lectures who had repeated English 1 eight times. (He went on to become a legendary multi-millionaire entrepreneur.) I was delighted that hundreds of students attended my first year lectures on D H Lawrence. Even medical, law and engineering students. I suspected I was a pretty good lecturer but hell, not that good. Then I found out the reason. To illustrate teaching points in Sons and Lovers I would quote liberally and extensively from Lady Chatterley’s Lover. I had just arrived from the UK and had no idea it was banned in SA. If strikes were non-existent, the occasional rally took place. Randy Newman, an American who taught in some obscure department or other, would organise moritoriums 64 WITSReview

(I know it’s moritaria but that’s what Randy called them) on Vietnam. A small scattering of not very enthusiastic students and staff would stand on the steps facing the library lawns and sing ‘We Shall Overcome’. Then they all went off to Pop’s Corner for a beer. My office moved to the Central Block and then to the Gate House, where a smelly American Professor set up home in the office next door and never washed. Cooking smells would drift along the corridors but nobody other than me seemed to notice. As my office accommodation began to improve, so did the teaching venues. We went from dim, damp, rooms in the Old Convent (where it was rumoured that nuns were walled up) to rather clinical-looking rooms in Senate House. The Administration moved up to the lofty heights of the 11th Floor in Senate House, rarely to be seen again, except when sipping warm sherry with flushed parents on Graduation Nights. Looking back, it all seems like a cross between a Fellini movie, Alice in Wonderland and Tin Tin in Africa. But beneath all that apparent apathy there was plenty going on. Secret battles were being waged with the government and future leaders were being born. It may not seem so important today, but we were the first university in South Africa to teach African Literature where white students for the first time were introduced to Chinua Achebe, Es’kia Mphalele and Sol Plaatjie. And we had one of the best teaching hospitals, mining, engineering and medical schools in the world. We’ve come a long way… April 2008

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