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Editorial

Welcome to this issue and a new year. The state of the global economy notwithstanding, I do hope 2009 is going to be a happy and prosperous year for you.

The financial meltdown, with its epicentre in the US credit market, has resulted in dire economic data and consequences, some of which are unprecedented or haven’t been seen since the Great Depression. But as Nikolai Viedge reports in this issue (“Burnt? Battered? Buy!”) every downturn creates opportunities for those willing to take a risk and South Africa’s economy is better placed than most to weather the storm. Job cuts in the major industrialised countries, and local opportunities powered by a massive public infrastructure campaign and the hosting of FIFA’s 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup, mean the country could even experience a skills homecoming. Notwithstanding this potential silver lining, taking an exotic holiday may be out of reach for many in the current economic climate, so you may enjoy the opportunity of some armchair travel with Kate Turkington’s “Spin the globe and go”. Our newly introduced Alumni Lifestyle Programme, with its specials and discounts, may even help you to afford that glamorous vacation. (To see what the Lifestyle Programme has to offer visit the alumni homepage or go directly to www.witslifestyle.co.za.) Closer to home, it’s probably fair to say that Wits doesn’t sufficiently brag about or promote its cultural facilities. The University boasts some of the finest cultural facilities in the country which add significant prestige to the Institution. These include the Planetarium, the Wits Theatre

January 2009

complex and Linder Auditorium, various museums, and of course, the Wits Art Galleries which house internationally renowned collections. In this issue Lisa Gordon writes about the fascinating collections of African art held by the Galleries in “Through art we find each other”. In our photo essay on Wits’ Windows to the World we hope to whet your appetite to visit the University’s cultural facilities and consider making it a fun and educational outing for the whole family. In the same vein, the BIDVest Wits Football Club (aka the “Clever Boys”) is another often overlooked gem worthy of alumni support. Wits is the only university in the country with a soccer team in the top division of the Premier Soccer League and, with over 1 500 players, it is also the largest football club in Africa. The “Clever Boys” have been delivering outstanding performances and, at the time of going to press, were third in the PSL standings. Lastly, in our obituary section we sadly record the recent loss of many outstanding alumni and former academics including iconic giants such as Nthato Motlana, Es’kia Mphahlele and Helen Suzman. Motlana and Suzman made a significant contribution to Wits by serving on the University’s Council and as benefactors. Most poignantly we had an opportunity to be with HelenSuzman just weeks before she passed away when she attended Founders’ Tea on 19 November 2008 Peter Maher Director: Alumni Relations


Contents

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January 2009


Economy

Photos: Getty Images


Economy

While the media are hesitant about calling the current global economic situation a depression, the truth is that the global economy still looks like it’s been in the ring for 12 rounds with the WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko ... with both hands tied behind its back.

Putting this in context, in December 2008 the JSE had lost 37% of its value since its highs in May, while the rand had dropped to its lowest level since 2001. It was a tough year, with the third quarter a veritable horror movie in comparison with the romantic comedy of the first half. According to Cees Bruggemans, chief economist at First National Bank, the “annualised GDP growth for 3Q2008 was a minimal 0,2%. This was the lowest growth recorded since 3Q1998.” Jeremy Gardiner, a director of Investec Asset Management, describes the third quarter as the

January 2009

“worst quarter for world markets since 1929”. But while companies are “downsizing”, “streamlining”, “cost-cutting” – depending on which “dietary” euphemism is currently in vogue – and people are concomitantly “tightening their belts” there is a feeling that the worst is here and that things can only get better from now on. The crash has its roots in the US mortgage market. Banks in the US gave money in the form of home loans to people who ultimately couldn’t afford to pay that money back. These loans were then securitised by the bank.


Economy

Basically what happens when a bank securitises a loan is that the loans that the bank has outstanding are turned into something that the bank can sell to investors. Like an IOU which other people can buy. Usually it’s a safe investment.

economist of Econometrix, points out, “the people who are really suffering are salary earners who have incurred a lot of debt”.

“The interest rate has risen by 5% in the last two years and on top of that companies were only giving out single-figure salary increases in a market “Cashing in your shares is basically which was characterised by inf lation,” an irrational decision caused by fear,” double-digit Jammine says. “And if you have a pension fund or says Chundra. ret i re m e n t f u n d , you’ve probably taken However, things didn’t a beating.” pan out quite as Investors have taken expected. Interest rates a similar beating, in America rose and explains another Wits suddenly people alumnus, Shahan couldn’t afford the Chundra, investor interest payments on services consultant at their houses. Investec Asset With billions of dollars of Management. debt, people began to “The All Share Index is question whether banks could down almost 40% since July afford to cover the securitised this year. What this means is, loans. if you had R100 000 invested Investors began to lose confidence in banks, in stocks in July, today it’d be worth R60 000. which caused interest rates to skyrocket. As a So people have been burnt and a lot of investors result, businesses could no longer afford to are worried about what’s going to happen in borrow money to expand and in some cases the future. As a result, people are losing faith were, and still are, forced to downsize, causing in the stock market.” a rise in unemployment and a downturn in Despite the fact that markets are getting economic growth. hammered, Chundra advises people not to take For the person on the street this has meant a their money out. steep increase in food and fuel prices, putting “Cashing in your shares is basically an irrational considerable strain on people’s pockets. As Wits decision caused by fear,” says Chundra. “What alumnus Dr Azar Jammine, director and chief January 2009


Economy

investors need to remember is that markets move in cycles and what goes down must come up – 99% of the time. What people don’t realise is that you will only take a loss if you sell your investment when the markets are down. “The alternative, the smarter thing to do, would be to ride it out and wait for things to pick up,” Chundra says. “The really smart money would have started to move their money from equity (stock) into cash as the market started falling earlier this year [2008]. That way they would have experienced minimal to zero losses. But that’s why they’re called the smart money.” While the picture painted above looks like something you give away to your least favourite cousin at Christmas, things are getting better. In fact, says Chundra, if you have some money to play with, the current economic climate could be to your advantage. “The first thing investors need to realise is that markets are forward-looking,” he says. “So in a sense, markets have already priced in the recession, which is why people say we’re at the bottom or very near it. “In other words, markets take the future into account. So basically all the doom and gloom about a global recession/depression has been priced into the market. The All Share Index is trading at 21 000-odd and this reflects the current outlook on the current and near-future economic situation. “And when you’re at the bottom things start to look up – that’s the nature of a cyclical trend. Hence it’s one of the best times to invest, because stocks are cheap and under-valued and you could January 2009

stand to gain. So now, once we’re in a recession, markets are looking to the future, i.e. recovery, which is why it’s a good time to buy.” For those not already involved in the stock market, but who are potentially keen to get involved, Chundra suggests a cautious approach. “I think the best thing for investors who are wary is to debit order into an equity or value fund (unit trust), or just slowly keep accumulating stocks,” Chundra says. But while Chundra’s advice stands for people with a bit of money to play with, what about people who are in debt? “If you can meet your interest payments then getting out of debt is not urgent,” says Jammine. “In fact, some people might argue that this is the ideal time to buy a car, for example, as the depressed markets mean better deals for prospective car owners. “That said,” he adds, “if you can’t afford to make your interest payments, you are in trouble and need to do everything you can to get out of debt quickly.” Times may be tough, but Jammine, like Chundra, believes that South Africans are in a relatively good position. “With the 2010 World Cup coming up and with the Confederations Cup in 2009, there will be a number of knock-on opportunities from which South Africans will benefit,” Jammine says. “On top of that, people are starting to secure bigger salary increases at a time when inflation is going down.”


Wits Art Galleries 2

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1. Robert Hodgins, A Beast Slouches, 1986 Acrylic and oil on canvas Wits Art Galleries Collection Presented by the Artist - 1987 2. Tsonga-Shangana, South Africa, Figures (Pair), C19th Wood, Standard Bank Foundation Collection of African Art Housed at the University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries - Acquired 1984 3. William Kentridge, Art in a state of siege, 1988, Screenprint on paper Wits Art Galleries Collection University Grant - Acquired 1988

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4. William Kentridge, Yellow General, 1993-98, Coloured Etching Wits Art Galleries Collection, Donated by the Goodman Gallery Acquired 1999 5. Luba Democratic Republic of Congo, Mboko, (Bowl bearing figure) 1930’s Wood, Collection: Wits Museum of Ethnology, Dept. of Social Anthropology 6. Irma Stern, Straw Carriers, 1959, Oil on canvas Presented to the University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries by the Schlesinger Organisation 1979

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Wits Art Galleries 7

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7. Makonde, Mozambique Lipiko (Helmet Mask) Standard Bank African art Collection (Wits Art Galleries) - Acquired 1982 8. Alexis Preller, Christ Head, 1963, Oil on Canvas, Wits Art Galleries Collection. Presented by the Artist in memory of Dr. Maria SteinLessing (1905-61), Lecturer in the Department of History of Art. (March 1965) 9. William Kentridge, Art in a state of grace, 1988, Screenprint Wits Art Galleries Collection University Grant - Acquired 1988 10. Jackson Hlungwane, The Angel Gabriel (Detail), 1983, Wood,

January 2009

Standard Bank Foundation Collection of African Art Housed at the University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries - Acquired 1990 11. Willie Bester, Sukungena e Bisho (Keep out of Bisho) 1992, Multi media, Standard Bank Foundation Collection of African Art Housed at the University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries - Acquired 1993 12. Hemba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Stool, Wood, Standard Bank Foundation Collection of African Art - Housed at the University of the Witwatersrand Art Galleries - Acquired 2000

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Wits Art Galleries

If you think of “African art” as masks for sale to tourists at flea markets, you’re missing out on a world of beauty and human connection.

“The term ‘African art’ is a loaded and contested one. Some people prefer to use the term ‘art from Africa’ to avoid the curio connotations,” says Julia Charlton. The latter term includes all the different forms of art, historical and contemporary, made by the peoples of Africa. Charlton is a Senior Curator at Wits Art Galleries, home to a large, fascinating and extremely valuable collection of African art. Historically “African art” has been studied in an ethnological framework, she explains: “Ethnology tends to be part of a broader study of other people. It’s a curiosity about how people live, their origins and characteristics, as evidence of their difference rather than a consideration of the aesthetic factors that go into making the object. “Regarding something as an artwork prioritises its aesthetic qualities over its practical function. When looking at a Zulu headrest, for example, in addition to its significance in the culture it comes from, you are appreciating all the formal qualities valued in art language; its aesthetic form, play of symmetry, quality of surface, decorative detail and geometric and organic quality.” However, Charlton goes on to say, art is more 10

than an appreciation of aesthetics: “Art offers opportunities for revelation and growth both on a personal, individual level and on a collective level. Learning about different cultural expression and a r t fo r m s h e l p s u s understand ourselves; the ways in which we are different and the ideals we share. “Artworks have stories Igbo, Nigeria, Mamy Wata (Headdress), Wood, Paint, Standard Bank Foundation to tell and every time Collection of African Art - Housed at the University of the Witwatersrand Art s o m e o n e l e a r n s Galleries - Acquired 2003 something about one of these pieces, a space opens up for mutual understanding and appreciation of our cultural heritage, a priceless legacy which in the past was denied its true value. The consideration of artworks can play a valuable role in helping people to address difficult issues such as xenophobia and gender stereotyping.” Wits Art Galleries was the first gallery in South Africa to collect African art objects and in 1977, the University was the first to include African art in the syllabus. January 2009


Wits Art Galleries

The art collection as a whole grew out of the small departmental teaching collection of paintings and sculpture initiated in the early 1950s by Professors Heather Martienssen and John Fassler with a small grant from the University Council. The collections have been funded by grants from the University and Standard Bank as well as donations by individuals, artists and a range of outside organisations. Wits Art Galleries enjoy professional relationships with external partners such as the Standard Bank Gallery, the Johannesburg Art Gallery and the Johannesburg Development Agency, as well as commercial galleries. The Galleries now house important works of both historical and contemporary art from South Africa and elsewhere on the continent, offering students and researchers both local and international a unique oppotunity to study South African art in the context of that from the rest of the continent. Wits’ Professor Anitra Nettleton is a world authority in the field of African art and has published widely. The collections are often loaned to prestigious exhibitions around the world. Wits Head of Fine Arts Professor Jeremy Wafer says, “The African art collection is of major significance as it includes a range and depth of work from throughout Africa which allows for an insight into both the ‘classical’ traditions and the ways in which these change in response to new social and material conditions. It is a

January 2009

national and international treasure.” The African art collections at Wits were founded in 1978 with the donations of collector Vittorino Meneghelli. The Standard Bank African Art Collection was established by Wits and Standard Bank in 1979. The various collections include an array of pieces such as headrests and beadwork from the entire continent. They show South Africa’s inextricable links with the continent’s cultural, social and political history. Explains Charlton, “Other collections tend to focus on the southern African region. But South Africa is part of Africa. It is key that this is recognised.” Other African art collections at Wits include those from the Wits Museum of Ethnology, established in the 1930s by Winifred Hoernlé and developed further by Audrey Richards. These have been administered by Wits Art Galleries since 2001 and contain material from many parts of Africa as well as other parts of the world, including the collection assembled by WFP Burton in the then Belgian Congo. In addition efforts are being made to repatriate the African art works currently in Western museums. The historical South African fine art collection includes works by Irma Stern, JH Pierneef and Sydney Kumalo. The contemporary South African collection includes drawings by William Kentridge, oil paintings by Robert Hodgins and wooden sculptures by Nelson Mukhuba.

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Wits Art Galleries

Prof. Wafer says he “would love to see the museum being able to continue to grow the collection of contemporary South African works. South African art is getting huge exposure and generating major international interest (which has of course put prices up). Art is a significant barometer of the time and place we live in, of our sense of identity and of our values, and collections need to be able to reflect this through the acquisition of the best work being made.” Wits also takes care of collections such as The Market Theatre Collection of artworks and the Sowetan Collection of drawings by renowned pioneer black South African artist Gerard Sekoto. Treasures like these should be shared for everyone’s benefit. “This material is South Africa’s heritage and if it is not collected in public museums and accessible to all, the value is lost,” says Charlton. Currently public access to the Wits collection is severely curtailed. The more than 9 000 objects are housed in cramped office space on the University campus. A new venue to house the Galleries is to be built on the corner of Jorissen Street and Jan Smuts Avenue which will be larger and well positioned in the Wits Cultural Precinct near the Wits School of Arts and the Wits Theatre. It is one of the University’s new public precincts and is linked to the City of Johannesburg’s inner-city revitalisation programme. And, in a first for Johannesburg, there will be a permanent space dedicated to African art.

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The new space is being specifically designed to cater for the complex conservation requirements of a building housing such an enormous art collection. Special consideration has to be given to both the display and storage conditions of the artworks in order to guarantee their preservation, including specific requirements for the control of humidity and temperature. The Wits Galleries staff is looking forward to displaying new South African work that has been purchased with a recent university grant. “The contemporary art scene in South Africa is enormously exciting,” says Charlton. “We are very excited to have recently bought some powerful contemporary work by two young South African artists, both Wits graduates – Sandile Zulu and Churchill Madikida.” Prof. Wafer adds: “We attract an excellent group of students who thrive on the atmosphere of creative competitiveness and intellectual rigour at Wits. Joburg is at the centre of things so they are able to be where it all happens. Recent graduates already making their mark include Gerhard Marx and Anthea Moys, among many others.” Collectors, you have been tipped off! Fundraising for the Wits Art Galleries Project is under way. For more information contact Julia Charlton on (011) 717-1363 or julia.charlton@wits.ac.za.

January 2009


News Bytes

Wits and Harvard Law academic exchange

Raising funds for paediatric wards The Wits Paediatric Fund, the Board of which boasts eight alumni, is the fundraising arm of the Department of Paediatrics in the Wits Medical School. The Board operates under the auspices of the Wits Foundation. The Fund raised R85 000 for the purchase of equipment for the general paediatric and neonatal wards of the three Wits teaching hospitals at its 2008 black tie ball. At a separate fundraising event the Fund hosted local celebrities, including former Carte Blanche presenter Ruda Landman, who donated books and spent time reading to sick children in hospital. Wits alumni who are board members include the Chair, Professor Daynia Ballot (MBBCh 1982, PhD 1989); treasurer, Professor Lorna Jacklin (MBBCh 1973, MSc Med 1998); ex officio officers Professor Keith Bolton (MBBCh 1971), Professor Peter Cooper (PhD 1999) and Professor John Pettifor (MBBCh 1968, PhD 1980). Dr Elizabeth Ho (MBBCh 1992), Dr Mantoa Mokhachane (MBBCh 1988, MMed 1999) and Dr Kebashni Thandrayen (MBBCh, 1999, Master of Surgery 2007) are members at large.

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The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust has sponsored a R1-million grant to the Wits School of Law to enable an exchange programme with its counterpart at Harvard University. Jennifer Ward Oppenheimer, an alumna of Harvard, facilitated the donation. The Wits/Harvard exchange will facilitate the transfer of academic staff, Master of Laws and PhD students between the schools for short periods of time. Chair of the Trust, Mary Slack, said the Trust had been initiated by Harry Oppenheimer to commemorate the life of his father, Sir Ernest Oppenheimer. The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust has also awarded a R1-million grant to the Wits History Department in recognition of its ongoing achievements in research and teaching and a R1-million grant to the Wits Centre for Deaf Studies.

Alumna is all heart Professor Karen Sliwa-Hahnle (DTM&H 1995, PhD 2002) has been appointed as special advisor to the World Heart Federation. She is the Director of the Soweto Cardiovascular Research Unit in the Wits Department of Cardiology based at the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital. Born in Germany, she has lived and worked in South Africa since 1992. She is currently president of the South African Heart Failure Society and serves as an editorial consultant for The Lancet, The European Heart Failure Journal, Diabetes and Vascular Disease, and the Croatian Medical Journal.

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Profile

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January 2009


Profile

A Profile of Mark Campbell It’s not always classroom education that shapes a person’s life. For Mark Campbell, it was the Wits Mountain Club rather than the Accounts class that made the difference.

DS: Where did you grow up and go to school? MC: I grew up in Randburg and went to Randpark Primary and Randpark High School. DS: What did you do after high school? MC: I went straight to Wits to study for a BCom Accounting, I started in 1989 and finished in 1993. DS: What stands out about your years at Wits? MC: The Mountain Club, ballroom dancing, tutoring Accounts I students and a miserable time in Accounts II where consolidations were a pain. DS: When did you first become interested in mountain climbing? MC: At Wits. I’d done some hiking in the Drakensberg, but it was at Wits that I actually got time on the ropes. DS: When did you first start contemplating Everest? MC: In 1994, we got wind that the Pretoria section of the Mountain Club of South Africa

had got a permit to enter China and climb Everest via the North Ridge route. This was a first for South Africa as it was just at the end of apartheid. We thought wow! how do we get involved? DS: What happened from there? MC: The person who had the permit was also a chartered accountant and at the last moment he couldn’t go to Everest. So I asked a few mates if they thought it was a plan to take the permit and they all thought it was a good idea. That was at the tender age of 24. DS: What were your first impressions of Everest? MC: Oops! Maybe we were a bit ambitious! I was really ill with altitude sickness when I got my first up-close view of her. DS: What were the physical and emotional challenges you faced on that first journey? MC: It was really hard. We had no sherpa support, so we had to do all the load-carrying

January 2009


Interview

ourselves as well as the cooking. This took a heavy toll on the body – I lost 12% of my body weight. The emotional challenge was learning to accept the defeat in not attaining the summit. DS: How many times have you been to Everest? MC: I have been twice – in 1996 and 2005. I was successful in 2005. DS: Would you say that climbing the world’s highest mountains is addictive? MC: Yes, I would say it’s addictive – it gets into your blood. It doesn’t matter who you are climbing with, it’s a deeply personal experience. DS: Is the experience all about you and the mountain? MC: No, it’s all about you. Just you. DS: Is climbing Everest a spiritual experience? MC: Yes. You’re in a unique place, and struggling for survival. Some days all you do is sit and wait. It [Everest] teaches you to be comfortable with yourself … or tests you to see if you are comfortable with yourself. I am not sure which. DS: Thinking back on your journeys to Everest, what stands out? MC: The North Face of Everest. You can’t love a mountain, but the passion and the excitement when you are there and saying to yourself ‘what the hell is going on?’ is all part of the journey. But it’s a retrospective journey; only once you’ve done it and you’re looking back does all the longing and desire come rushing to you. It really is a love story of sorts. DS: Will you go back to Everest? MC: I don’t think so – there are other mountains to climb. I’ll keep the memories and the camaraderie.

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DS: Your most memorable moments on Everest? MC: Two food fights in 1996 at 6 000 metres in altitude: that really reset the energy levels of the team. If it hadn’t been food fights it would have been fist fights, so it’s just as well. We were also powerless against the wind – that’s what made us stop in 1996. In 2005, the highlight was learning all the naughty things that Sir Ranulph Fiennes got up to. I shared a tent with Ranulph at 7 000 metres and the rules were simple: I cooked and he talked! DS: Has climbing Everest changed you at all? MC: It has made me think about the youth more. If these kids had bigger dreams, if they realised that they can do anything they want to, it would change their lives. DS: Your motto in life? MC: My folks always said, ‘Try, but try your absolute best’ and I think that’s what I always do. If you try your best then you can see what is coming. ‘Just do it’ would be another motto of mine, or ‘Yes, you can’. DS: What’s next? MC: I’d like to get to Pakistan. I have a suspicion we haven’t had a South African ascent of an 8 000 metre peak in Pakistan. DS: What is your occupation now? MC: I run my own business. We specialise in industrial climbing, teaching and selling equipment and in rockfall protection on roads. Probably our biggest project to date has been Chapman’s Peak.


Travel

Let the world be your oyster, encourages Kate Turkington, one of South Africa’s best-known travel writers.

January 2009


Travel

“…when the journey’s over/ There’ll be time enough to sleep.”

AE Housman, one of the less gloomy Victorian poets, got it right: “…when the journey’s ov There’ll be time enough to slee In other words, tempus fugit, carpe diem, and definitely gather ye travelling rosebuds while ye may. Tibet may not exist in its present form much longer, Thailand has become greedy, glitzy and less than peacefully idyllic. In summer Croatia is crammed. Mont Saint-Michel gets over two million visitors a year, and Machu Picchu’s Inca Trail is well on the way to M1 status in terms of volumes of traffic. Not to mention Stonehenge, Edinburgh Castle, the Lakes of Killarney, and Clifton Beach. So my plea to you is to get up and go while you are still sound of wind and limb, and while there are still wonderful, beautiful, strange lands and fascinating peoples to be visited. I’m not

January 2009

suggesting that you go totally OTT and visit 12 countries in the last six months as I have done, but that you explore our world in whatever form attracts you – by boat, by train, by bicycle or barge, on horseback, by camelback on just on your own two feet. I’m constantly being a s k e d w h a t my favourite destinations are. Easy. “Home,” I say. (Maybe because I’m not there all that often.) But I’ll share some other preferences with you. You can’t call yourself a true traveller if you haven’t visited India. I can’t think of another country, in a long lifetime of travel, that dazzles the mind, body and spirit in quite the way India


Travel

does. Yes, there are the stereotypes – poverty, millions of people, polluted cities, dirt, dust and desolation – but these are juxtaposed with images of extraordinary richness and beauty – the snow-capped peaks of the mighty Himalayas, the unbelievably brilliant, jewel-coloured saris worn by even the poorest of women, the marigold-garlanded sacred cows, mooching serenely in the middle of traffic jams, the lifegiving and sacred Ganga, calling more and more devotees to its banks as it makes its way from its source in the mountains on its long journey to the sea. The powerfully compelling monuments – sacred and secular – and none more beautiful in the world than the legendary Taj Mahal in India’s romantic north-west, home of the Far Pavilions, princesses, maharajahs, forts, chivalry, palaces, caparisoned elephants with scarlet-painted toenails, unbelievably handsome men (the moustache rules) a n d b re a t h t a k i n g l y beautiful women, and some of the most gorgeous (and cheapest) handicrafts in the

world. It was in this part of India that kings and potentates heavy with emeralds and diamonds battled for beautiful princesses; where silver trumpets resounded inside city walls to warn of invaders; where thousands of craftsmen inlaid marble palaces, tombs and monuments with lapis lazuli, agate, garnets, rubies and malachite to honour both the living and the dead. Rajasthan’s history, pageantry, beauty and High Romance are hard to beat. But then there’s India’s southern land of coconut groves, high misty tea plantations, rice paddies, tropical flowers, palm groves, political infighting (most of the successful politicians are exBollywood megastars), glowing, glittering temples, hilltop garden retreats, legacy of the British Raj, where one is pampered in serene splendour with quiet dignity. Soothe your soul and calm your body with an Ayurvedic leaf-bundle massage (pathrasweda) supervised by a qualified vaidyar – an Ayurvedic physician. Or go Camel-Man physical with bamboo rafting, day or night trekking, border hiking along the boundary of the Periyar tiger reserve, sleeping out in the jungle, or taking a jeep safari in virgin forest. In Pondicherry, a former French territory, you’ll eat mega-sized grilled prawns and drink the famous half-price beer before strolling the cobbled streets lined with French colonial mansions, presided over by local gendarmes complete with peaked caps. In Kerala, you can cruise along an intricate

January 2009


Travel

network of lake canals in a reed houseboat, as fishermen hunt with bows and arrows, people bathe and wash their clothes along the banks, families chat, children play, and an occasional kingfisher darts among the palm trees. You’ll fall asleep to water lapping and a night bird calling. And that’s just a fraction of what India offers… What about magical Peru? Peru has high romance, ancient mystical ruins and overwhelming natural beauty, as well as a dramatic history that lures travellers from all over the world. Like the Romans, the Incas built superb roads, had a genius for administration and organisation, initiated systems of government and land tenure, and colonised the local people as they expanded their empire. But they had no written language – they used a system of twisted knots known as khipu, still undeciphered to this day. Or try a trip down the Russian waterways from St Petersburg to Moscow. After the wonders of St Petersburg, your boat will stop at tiny villages where you’ll be welcomed into simple homes. Another day you might buy icons from a crotchety nun with broken, black fingernails in a small, whitewashed church recently opened after decades of religious persecution. You could bargain for brightly coloured woollen shawls and scores of beautiful handmade crafts, or simply marvel at the endless taiga – thousands

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and thousands of miles of “eternal forest” of birch and pine. You’ll glimpse golden domes, silver steeples, churches both big and small rising through the eerily beautiful early morning mist. And you’ll hear wolves howl and see eagles fly. Nearer home is a country that is one of the most fascinating in the world. Imagine rocky canyons, sharp escarpments, towering mountains stretching into infinity. Imagine a lake so big that you can sail across it for days. Imagine tiny, centuries-old monasteries on secret islands where no woman has set foot for hundreds of years. Imagine glowing, brilliantly coloured medieval frescoes on ancient church walls and ceilings. Imagine a rest house, once the haunt of decadent fascist Italian generals, with elegant wrought iron garden chairs and flowering plants in shaggy profusion, which later became a communist HQ complete with a 1970s brown velveteen lounge suite and plastic flowers, where the waitress is called Revolution. Imagine a 17thcentury Royal Enclosure with a 32 m high rosered castle with turrets, towers and ramparts. Imagine churches, one as big as an Egyptian temple, buried deep beneath the earth’s surface,

Nearer home is a country that is one of the most fascinating in the world.


Travel

hewn out of a single rock. Imagine a country where time has stood still since its mighty Queen gave birth to King Solomon’s son, and founded a royal dynasty. Imagine deep valleys, black folded rocks like frozen glaciers dipping to the valley floor. Imagine a tiny hominid called Lucy, our common ancestor, who roamed this place 3,3-million years ago. Welcome to Ethiopia. Come even nearer home to Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, or visit Sossusvlei to witness the towering sculpted shapes of the different dunes. There are the crescent-shaped barcan dunes that migrate up to two or three metres a year, covering and uncovering whatever crosses their path. There are the fossil dunes that consist of ancient sand that solidified millions of years ago. Then there are the spectacular star-shaped dunes, formed by the multi-directional winds that tease and tumble the sands back and forth. Or what about a visit to another desert – the Kalahari – where the San or Bushmen say that if you listen hard enough, you can hear the stars sing? It’s up to you. Stay at home with a book, the TV, the bottle of plonk and the dog. Or go travelling. Remember, tempus fugit…


Photo Essay

Take an 80 000 year journey to the present at the Origins Centre and reflect on the museum’s motto: We are who we are because of who we were. See the earliest image made by man and experience the oldest known ritual at this world-class museum which offers a unique experience of Africa’s rich, complex and sometimes mysterious past. Then follow it up with an exciting and informative voyage of discovery at the award-winning Maropeng Visitor Centre. The Centre, which uses entertaining and fun methods to tell stories of the evolution of life and the origins of humankind, is the result of a three-way partnership between Wits University, the provincial government and a private company.

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Photo Essay

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Heritage

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Heritage The Rand Show remained on the congested Milner Park site until the early 1980s. It was due to the leadership, determination and drive of Vice-Chancellor Professor DJ du Plessis (affectionately known as Sonny) that Wits finally acquired the land. Chris Barron, in an obituary, wrote: “Seldom has a university owe more to the vision and bloody-mindedness o one man than Wits owes to Sonny du Plessis.”

By 1983 the Wits slogan was “Tomorrow begins at Wits today” and Wits, with its 15 629 students, prided itself on being the “largest English-medium university in Africa”. The West Campus of today is surely du Plessis’ legacy. The last Rand Easter Show was held there in 1984 and Wits took possession of the land on 1 January 1985. Planning was essential and was placed in the capable hands of David Sleeman, the University’s planner, and the manager of the Wits estates, Piet Hugo, working with academics such as John Muller and Frank Nabarro. There were three key development plans. In 1979 an initial Physical Growth Plan set out the creative expansionary ideas incorporating the showground site. The first Academic Precinct Plan of 1983 set out activity zones for the new campus based on academic clustering of related departments and faculties. The spatial correlation of East and West Campus positioned academic buildings to the south of both campuses, residential in the centre and sporting activities to the north with a system of pathways linking the old and the new and aimed to unite the expanded campus. A third, longer-term development plan of the 1980s provided the basis for phased improvements as showground exhibition areas 32 WITSReview

Barnato Hall of Residence.

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transformed into new academic residential and recreational buildings served by roads, walkways, parking and open spaces. Landscaping was always an important design element, with efforts made to preserve the mature trees. The layout of the campus retained the central dividing south-north axis of a bricked walkway running from the Charles Skeen stadium and the Tower of Light down the hill towards the residences and lower sports fields to Empire Road. The original path was self-importantly titled “the Avenue of Prosperity” and later renamed Victory Road. This spine is intersected by University Road, today a bricked pathway named the Weiner Mall, at right angles running east to west, enabling staff and students to move from peripheral parking areas to their offices and lecture rooms. Wisely, cars have been kept out of a green central campus park. A further piece of wisdom was not to build any sky-scraper buildings – it is all kept to a human scale, with most old and new buildings limited to two storeys. The old Rand Show sports arena, renamed the Charles Skeen Arena, was preserved as a green lung and stayed put as a sports venue with its overhang of grandstands, now woefully underutilised. But it was here that in 1991 Wits conferred an honorary doctorate on Nelson Mandela. The well-hidden water reservoir close to the green running track remains in place behind the small car park. The old commentators’ box used for stadium events was only recently demolished. The circular horse exercise yard and stables became a student coffee shop, with the name changing from the Arena Coffee Shop to the Village Coffee Shop over time. A wonderful January 2009

The Champion tree – over 100 years.

Hidden gem - waterfall hewn from the Witwatersrand rock.

The spacious Gavin Relly Green.

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Heritage The Wits Plus (Centre for PartTime Studies) building - a new vision for the old AECI pavilion.

architectural and engineering challenge for the future would be to convert the 1960s grandstand into large lecture venues. Can it be done? Ideas from our alumni are welcome. The old Faculties of Commerce, Law and Education moved to the West Campus and made new homes for themselves. Existing West Campus buildings were adapted where possible and a campus feel began to emerge. The West Campus was never the hub of student social life like the East Campus, but over the years the grey paint brought harmony to disparate buildings. The Chamber of Mines pavilion, retaining its impressive entrance behind four high, angular columns, became the Law Building. The original windows were sacrificed, as were the monumental period wall sculptures. The model mine has gone and this building now houses offices, lecture and seminar rooms and the Law Library. It is difficult to get a sense of a planned building, as there have been so many additions. The latest has been the handsome and commodious Chalsty Conference Centre at the rear, a generous donation to the School of Law by John and Jennifer Chalsty, who are Wits alumni. A lovely Eduardo Villa sculpture, the Red Madonna, also a gift from the Chalstys, graces the well-lit entrance foyer. The Government Building, the showpiece of

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the 1936 Empire Exhibition, became the Barclays Commerce Building (later the First National Bank Building); the AECI Pavilion became the Sports Administration Building and was later redeveloped as the Wits Plus Centre for parttime studies. The two utilitarian, cavernous canteens were transformed into the Commerce Library and the Education Building (the latter was later given new life as the FCLM building). My office was relocated from Central Block to the West Campus when my department, Economic History, rejoined Economics in 1993. Initially I felt uprooted from the heart of the university. How could I bear to leave my lovely

office in the East Annex of Central Block? It was a surprise when after a mere month I found that I felt completely at home on the West Campus, appreciating the proximity of two libraries, the Commerce Library and the Law Library, and enjoying a walk through the gardens. The Bien Donne Restaurant became the DJ du Plessis Building, with its cavernous entrance hall and giant multipurpose lecture theatre. The Centre for Applied Legal Studies, the Van Schaik bookshop and student society rooms are located here. The Flower Hall no longer lifts the spirit with autumn blooms but keeps the name and is an examination venue; Hall 29 doubles as a sports venue and an examination hall. The small neat brick Dairy Board pavilion became the

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Staff Training and Development Unit and later the Centre for Learning and Teaching Development. The oldest structures on the West Campus are two rather old-fashioned but functional grandstands at the Charles Skeen Stadium, dating from the 1920s. A clever adaptation married the larger of these grandstands with a modern purpose when the wedged rear was redeveloped to insert two state-of-the-art tiered lecture rooms and two tutorial rooms. One of the less successful of the new buildings is the New Commerce Building. It was erected rapidly on factory construction principles in the late 1980s, as a sudden spurt in the numbers of Commerce students forced some quick construction of four large lecture theatres and a top-floor examination venue (later converted into lecture rooms). This building is substandard with its flat roof, unimaginative use of space and poor ventilation; although the four large lecture rooms, with seating for up to 275 students, function effectively and have served generations of students studying diverse subjects such as Accountancy, Law and Economics. A redeeming feature is the lovely arched window on the first-floor landing, with its view over the Charles Skeen sports arena. An important addition was the extraordinary construction in 1989 of the paved platform over the M1 motorway, called the AMIC deck, at a cost of R18 million. It was the single most important link between East Campus and West Campus and enabled large numbers of students to move rapidly between the two. It takes exactly 10 minutes of walking at a fast pace to move from FNB to Central Block. The 1989 Chamber

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of Mines Building facing the AMIC deck on the brow of the ridge of the West Campus was also an important addition. It has an aesthetic appeal as the building is well sited, but sadly funds were exhausted and the back of the building shows a gaping space with rusting iron rods protruding from eroding concrete. Today it is the intention to complete the fourth quadrant of the building and add lecture theatres and laboratories. In 1986, Johannesburg’s centenary year, the mining finance house, Johannesburg Consolidated Investments, financed the construction of Barnato Hall residence towards the lower end of the West Campus slope. It is home to 370 undergraduate and postgraduate students and was named in honour of the founder of JCI, Barney Barnato. The building is designed around two courtyards and the prominent feature is the use of awardwinning Marley concrete roof tiles. Adjacent to Barnato Hall is the David Webster Hall of residences, completed in 1992 and named in honour of the Wits academic David Webster, who was assassinated in Johannesburg in 1989. An unusual amenity is the small, rather shallow swimming pool for disabled students. The third West Campus residence is the West Campus Village, a self-catering residence for postgraduate men and women students. The eight small buildings each house up to 24 students. The West Campus has preserved and retained four sizeable Ernest Ullmann sculptures. Monumental in scale, these works were commissioned in the late 1950s and early 1960s. The Family is five metres in height and was cast in situ in concrete. The Cross Bearers

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Eduardo Villa sculpture, The Red Madonna, in the Chalsty Conference Centre.

Cape Dutch architecture – echoes from the 1936 Empire Exhibition.

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in granite has recently been repositioned in front of the Rembrandt Gallery. The Miners in concrete and The Pioneer in travertine stand in the small garden near the modern main entrance of the Oliver Schreiner Law building. The work of Paul Stein and Neels Coetzee has enhanced the main north-south axis. The abstract Stein sculpture of giant steel rectangles appearing to collapse on themselves is called Concatenation and represents the books of the nearby Commerce Library. Today’s Law Building started life in 1953 when the Chamber of Mines built a permanent new pavilion. It was meant to underscore the role of gold and the contribution of the miner in the expanding South African economy. The mock working gold mine enabled the visitor to experience the simulation of heat, vibrations and on-site drilling; and a prize souvenir for any child was a sample of rock cores. To celebrate the Union of South Africa and in Commonwealth obeisance, in 1960 the Chamber outdid all previous exhibitions with a magnificent display of gold ware from the private collection of Queen Elizabeth II. These treasures thrilled the royalist crowds. I first discovered the treasures of Pforzheim, Germany, when a display of fine antique jewellery was exhibited in the 1970s. The architectural landmark structure on the West Campus is the Tower of Light. Now 72 years old, the tower qualifies for protected heritage status. How many Wits alumni remember that boomed appeal to “meet your lost child at the Tower of Light”? It was the unmissable gathering node each year during the Rand Easter Show. The Tower of Light was commissioned by the Victoria Falls and

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Transvaal Power Company for the Empire Exhibition of 1936. It is worth remembering that 1936 was not an illustrious year in South African history, as it was the year when Smuts and Hertzog promulgated the Native Land and Trust Act and the Representation of Natives Act, which removed black people from the common voters’ roll in the Cape. The Tower is 60 metres high and built of reinforced concrete using Pretoria Portland Cement. The viewing platform (now closed) was accessed by a rear outer stair and an inner ladder staircase. The soaring tower actually ends too soon as it does not reach the expected pinnacle. The features of round, porthole windows and wrought-iron balustrade are integral to the Art Deco style of Johannesburg of the 1930s. Clive Chipkin cites a 1936 source attributing the design of the tower to Professor GE Pearse, the first professor of Architecture at Wits, citing the authority of Bernard Cooke, but appears to question this attribution, with the comment that the Wits Department of Architecture was unenthusiastic about the “modernistic explosions” at the Empire Exhibition. Bruce Murray, in his history of Wits, states that Pearse was not a proponent of modern design, though he protected its advocates in his school. It was Pearse who designed the University’s Coat of Arms. In later years Springbok Radio broadcast from the Tower of Light and as children we gathered to collect the autographed portrait postcards of the radio announcers. In 1964 alterations enabled the tower to support the cableway that ran down the hill to Empire Road. That structure was later removed.

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Recently, cellphone reception receivers have been attached to each of the tower’s fins but these are temporary structures. And, contrary to rumour, there is no hint of demolition. Many of us who work on the West Campus experience a small daily pleasure when we walk past the tower on the way to a lecture or the library. In the changing light at different times of the day, the geometric shapes become an optical illusion. Alumni House and the second or “other” Wits staff and convocation club and conference centre are located in a curious cluster of fantasy Cape farm buildings with elegant gables and arched barn doors, which also date back to 1936. They are glorious follies designed by FHP Fleming (according to Gutsche) for the Western Cape wine industry. However, Chipkin attributes the designs to JA Hoogterp, a Baker protégé. So here is another puzzle. The Central Building was Cape House, built to exhibit a display of antique Cape furniture for the 1936 Empire Exhibition. The date 1679 is a prominent feature of one gable of the adjacent long barn (a latterday conference centre and chapel) and adds confusion to the eclectic landscape. The oak trees, planted in 1936, add to the artificial but somehow authentic patina of age. This is a club of Wits staff and alumni and is the convivial meeting venue for the Witwatersrand University Engineers’ Association and the Kudus running club. The University is planning to enlarge and further develop the social facilities for the benefit of a wider and more diverse Wits community. The AMIC deck - connecting East to West over the M1.

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Today’s First National Bank building houses the School of Accountancy and is undergoing

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a remarkable, R60 million redevelopment to add two large, semicircular lecture rooms to the south side. Our award-winning architect is Heather Dodd of the firm of Savage and Dodd. Since late 2007 our staff and students have endured working, studying and teaching on a building site. The original building dates back to 1936 and a heritage feature worthy of preservation is a lovely plaster frieze above the main south door with its fine curvilinear tracery, three moulded cherubs and dripping grapes. The Rembrandt Gallery is another small, interesting building that survives intact but is currently in rather poor condition. This small exhibition area was originally called the Rembrandt Pavilion and was built for the Re m b r a n d t To b a c c o M a n u fa c t u r i n g Corporation. It is slightly set back from the road and the design (three triangular arches) and materials used are typical of the 1960s. The architect was Jan van Wyk and the building was completed in 1964. The Rembrandt Art Centre, as it became known, was the venue for many important annual exhibitions organised each year by the Rembrandt van Rijn Art Foundation and its purpose was to promote the arts. My own souvenir of this effort is a catalogue of a Rodin and his Contemporaries exhibition held in the Gallery in the 1970s. The last exhibition was that of 40 paintings by Pierneef and 20 Van Wouw bronze sculptures. The Rembrandt Foundation donated the building to Wits in 1980 and at that time the intention was to hold future art exhibitions. The pleasure of this small building is the play of light penetrating the perspex and glass panes, and the interior atmosphere echoes that of a Dutch Reformed church.

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Today this building is used as a storage space for some of Wits’ rock art collection, awaiting rehousing in the Origins Centre. However it is the intention of the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management to raise about R5 million to restore the building for use as a multifunctional teaching and conference venue or electronic cyber library for postgraduate students. Although it is not 60 years old, a recent technical analysis by Dr Johan Bruwer argues that this building is of sufficient importance to warrant protection and preservation. A chapter in the planned book on Wits buildings will be on the West Campus and its history. Should any Wits alumni have any early photographs of the Rand Easter Show or its reincarnation as the Wits West Campus, please contact the author on katherine.munro@wits.ac.za.

Sources: Anna H Smith: Johannesburg Street Names 1971 Henry Paine, Barry Gould and Johan Bruwer: The Rembrandt Gallery, Wits University Report on the Condition of the Building April 2008 Thelma Gutsche: A Very Smart Medal: The Story of the Witwatersrand Agricultural Society 1970 John Maud: City Government: The Johannesburg Experiment Oxford John Lang: Bullion Johannesburg: Men, Mines and the Challenge of Conflict 1986 Ernest Ullmann: Designs on Life Howard Timmins 1970 Bruce K Murray: Wits: The Early Years 1982 Clive M Chipkin: Johannesburg Style, Architecture and Society 1880s - 1960s The Exhibition Visitors' Social and Business Guide to Johannesburg and the Reef Golden Jubilee Souvenir 1936 Felix Stark (editor & publisher): Seventy Golden Years 1886 - 1956 William Martinson: Tower of Light, University of the Witwatersrand, West Campus Architectural Description City of Johannesburg, Arts Culture and Heritage Services, Immovable Heritage Inventory Form, Tower of Light; recorded by Flo Bird The University of the Witwatersrand The Reporter CUP Extra 25 July 1983

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Kudos

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oshoeshoe Monare (BA Journalism Hons, 2004, PGDA, 2006) was appointed Group Political Editor at Independent Newspapers in May 2008. Monare heads the bureau and acts as special editor for the group’s coverage of Zimbabwe.

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Moshoeshoe Monare

Monare was born in the rural village of GaNkidikitlana, outside Mokopane, in Limpopo province. He attended school in the village and then boarded at Malebo High School. After matriculating, Monare studied journalism at Technikon Northern Gauteng (now Tshwane University of Technology) in 1995. He worked as a freelance reporter for Pace magazine, as well as completing an internship at Pretoria News an Independent Newspapers publication the following year. In 1997, Monare was appointed education reporter at the Pretoria News, a post he held for four years prior to joining the Group’s flagship newspaper, The Star, as education reporter in 2001. He served as senior education correspondent for the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) in 2002 and for the Sunday Times in 2003. A decade on the beat was rewarded when Monare won the African Journalism Award (English) in 2004, adding an Honours degree in Journalism from Wits to his achievements. He returned to Independent Newspapers as senior writer for the Sunday Independent, and then as political correspondent at The Star. January 2009

Invited to join the group’s political bureau, Monare was promoted to Group Deputy Political Editor in 2005, expanding his journalistic education at this time by completing a postgraduate diploma in librarianship at Wits. Independent Newspapers is a wholly owned subsidiary of Independent News and Media (South Africa) Limited. The largest newspaper publisher in South Africa, Independent Newspapers publishes 14 daily and weekly newspapers. Its titles account for 48% of the total advertising spend in paid newspapers, 31% of all newspapers sold in the country, and 58% of the English language market.

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Alan Pullinger

aged 43, completed his articles at Deloitte & Touche, where he became a partner in 1996. Having become familiar with RMB while advising clients on structured finance transactions, Pullinger joined the firm in 1998 in the special projects division, focusing on property and structured finance. “I had some varsity friends here (at RMB) and they eventually persuaded me to move here,” he explained in an interview with FM. Pullinger has since co-headed both the structured finance and the investment banking divisions and sits on the RMB management board and investment committee. He is a member of the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) Monitoring Panel, which is the standard framework of guidelines for financial accounting. Alan Patrick Pullinger was born 7 December 1965 in Pretoria. He matriculated from Bryanston High School in Johannesburg and completed his national service before enrolling at Wits.

lan Pullinger (BCom 1990, BAcc 1991, MCom 1996) was appointed chief executive of Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) in September 2008. He had been deputy CEO of the First Rand Group subsidiary before taking the reins.

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He has said that, “At Wits I was only mildly interested in commerce I certainly didn’t think I was going to be an accountant.” Aptly, around the time of his appointment, he was reading Jonathan Knee’s The Accidental Investment Banker, a book about Wall Street.

A chartered accountant with no fewer than three commerce degrees from Wits, Pullinger,

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he UK publication Financial News named alumna and Chief Operating Officer at Investec Asset Management Kim McFarland as one of the top 100 most influential women in European finance for 2008.

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Kim McFarland

The accolade recognised McFarland’s role in growing the company, with assets under management of R1 billion and fifteen staff members in the early 1990s, to an international investment manager with approximately R460 billion in assets under management today. The top 100 were chosen from a list of 250 for their influence over their area, leadership within their sector, performance over the past year and capacity to shape the future of their business and/or industry. McFarland, who was South African Businesswoman of the Year in 2002, commented, “I was a student at Wits in the 1980s and part of the Women’s Movement then, which was a very exciting, volatile and politically charged period. I have no doubt that such an environment would have had a positive impact on any open-minded student.” Kim Mary McFarland, 44, was born on 15 June 1964 in Lusaka, Zambia. This South African citizen matriculated from Roedean in Johannesburg before studying commerce at Wits. She is a chartered accountant and a member of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) and holds an

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MBA from the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, of which she is now an advisory board member. She heads a team which established a community centre in rural Gugulethu in Cape Town, to which her company has pledged over R2 million. McFarland is married and lives in London but travels regularly to the Cape.

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Carla Busuttil

these figures undermines the authority of the person portrayed. I like the quality it gives the work; the style of the painting becomes equal to the subject matter,” explained Busuttil. A metre-high picture of ANC president Jacob Zuma, entitled Mr Showerhead, was one of Saatchi’s favourites and a painting of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, entitled Matchboxes and necklace, was included in Busuttil’s collection.

International art collector buys complete works of Wits alumna its alumna, Carla Busuttil (BA Fine Arts, 2005) recently made headlines when her art was bought by famous international art collector Charles Saatchi. Busuttil’s 13 graduation works as a postgraduate student at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, were all purchased by the advertising millionaire following a private viewing prior to the exhibition. The prices of the 13 works varied from about £450 (about R7 000) for the smaller ones to £2 500 (about R39 000) for the larger works.

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Saatchi’s interest in 26-year-old Busuttil’s paintings was piqued, as the paintings deliberately do not have any discernible facial features. Instead, she created caricatures of modern-day political figures, having been influenced by ideas around power and authority. “Painting portraits of people who are or were in power seemed to be the logical step in tackling this subject. The caricature-style in which I paint

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Inspired by books, art, politics, film, people and everyday life, Busuttil commented, “I imagine my work may be read differently in a South African context in relation to how it is read internationally because of the history carried by each figure portrayed. The works affect people differently according to their own perspective.” The London-based South African said her early influences include South African artists such as Kendell Geers (BA Fine Arts, 1989), Candice Breitz (BA Fine Arts, 1994), Robert Hodgins and Marlene Dumas. Recently she has been introduced to the art of several European and American artists, whose work has played an important role in moulding her own approach to art. Currently Busuttil is working towards a show in November in London, which will involve another South African artist and Wits alumna, Anthea Moys (BA Fine Arts, 2005). The Royal Academy of Art in London is one of the most prominent art schools in the world. Former students include the likes of JMW Turner, John Constable and Anthony Caro.

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op South African athlete and Wits alumnus Hendrick Ramaala (BProc 1995, LLB 1997) was honoured when fans of the New York Marathon named his nailbiting clash of the 2005 race against Paul Tergat as the fourth greatest moment in the history of the race.

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Hendrick Ramaala

In that race, Ramaala was beaten by the Kenyan air force sergeant by threehundredths of a second in a finish that made headlines globally. Chosen from a list of 15, the greatest moments were part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the 42,195 km race in 2008. “I felt very honoured when our performance in the 2005 New York race was voted fourth best in the history of the race,” recalls Ramaala. “On that day in November 2005 when I came second, I was disappointed. When the fans voted for that performance, it made up for the disappointment.” Ramaala, 36, is also the only man in the marathon’s history to have recorded first, second and third places. He was first in 2004 with a breakthrough time of 2:09:28. He is the second South African to have won this race, after Willie Mtolo who won it in 1992. Ramaala was second in 2005 and third in 2007. He came twelfth in 2008 Born 2 February 1972 in GaMalepo, Polokwane. Ramaala only began running in his second year at Wits, aged 20, after a brief stint in the University football team. Since then, he has been racking up accolades at home and internationally. He won the biggest half-marathon in the world, the UK’s Great North Run, three times and January 2009

was inducted into its Hall of Fame. He took silver in the world half-marathon championships in the late 1990s and has participated in four Olympics (Atlanta, Sydney, Athens and Beijing). He has competed in six world track and field and four world cross country championships together with seven London marathons, in all of which he finished in the top 10, as well as seven New York marathons. At home he won titles in the 5 000 m, 10 000 m, cross country and half-marathon and he holds South African records in the 10 000 m and half-marathon. He was the 1998 South African Athlete of the Year. Ramaala holds two law degrees but has never practised law. He has been running full-time since graduating. “My running career began at the Wits Charles Skeen Athletics Stadium,” he remarks. “It’s the best grass track in the country.” Sixteen years later he still returns to Wits regularly to train at this stadium. An avid reader of the WITSReview, Ramaala says “I’ll always be a Witsie!”

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Mark Otty

Otty was the youngest ever chairman of the firm’s former UK operation in June 2006, at the age of 41, and two years later became the managing partner for the new EMEIA area. Otty is a dedicated athlete, participating in triathlons, and he completed the 2007 London Marathon in just over three hours. He is active in his local church, is a keen gardener and lives in Sevenoaks, Kent with his wife and two sons.

Harry Seftel

lumnus Mark Otty, 44, (BCom 1986, BAcc 1988) took up the reins as the first Area Managing Partner for Ernst & Young EMEIA in July 2008.

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The recent integration of the global accounting firm’s European, Middle East, Indian and African regions brought together 65 000 people in 87 countries. Born on 23 October 1964 in Johannesburg, Otty has spent his entire working life at Ernst & Young. The firm funded his university scholarship after he matriculated from Northcliff High and he joined Ernst & Young as an audit trainee after graduating. He was exempted from military conscription because of his corporate finance work encouraging inward investment to the newly democratic South Africa. He was admitted to the Ernst & Young partnership in 1995 and has held senior positions in corporate finance and management consulting in South Africa and Canada. At the time of his move to the UK in 2001, he was deputy chairman in South Africa.

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rofessor Emeritus Harry Seftel (BSc, 1949, MBBCh, 1952, LLD, 1995) has been awarded the Director-General’s Special Award by the World Health Organisation for his anti-smoking and anti-tobacco campaigning. The WHO annually recognises individuals or organisations in each of the six WHO regions for their accomplishments in the area of tobacco control.

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In 1976, Seftel founded the National Council Against Smoking, which envisages a tobaccofree South Africa and aims to promote health by discouraging smoking. Seftel has consistently fought for tobacco control legislation and has promoted a healthy lifestyle, urging people to January 2009


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abandon their ‘deathstyles’ by quitting smoking and adopting a ‘fish, fowl and fibre’ diet. His work contributed to South Africa being at the forefront of stringent anti-tobacco legislation. Both Seftel’s parents died from smoking-related illnesses in an era when the dangers of tobacco were not fully understood. Seftel has commented that the fact that tobacco is legal at all is an accident of history. If it was invented today it would be banned. Seftel is a popular public figure in South Africa with a unique ability to communicate candidly in layman’s terms. Since the early 1990s, ‘Prof.

Harry’ has presented ‘A Word on Medical Matters’ on Talk Radio 702. He holds three professorships in African Diseases, Medicine and Clinical Research respectively and in 1995 received the University’s highest honour, that of a Doctor of Laws. He has a particular interest in lifestyle diseases and also served on the board of the South African Council on Alcohol and Drugs. Professor Seftel, who turned 80 last year, and who dreamed of being a teacher when he was young, has clearly fulfilled his ambition tenfold.

Vernon van Heerden, John Myburgh and Gavin Joynt its alumni Professor Vernon van Heerden (MBBCh 1983, MMed 1992, PhD 2000), Professor John Myburgh (MBBCh, 1981) and Professor Gavin Joynt (MBBCh, 1984) were recently elected to serve on the board of the Joint Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine (JFICM).

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The JFICM comprises the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and is the pre-eminent body worldwide for the training and accreditation of intensive care specialists. Prof. van Heerden will serve for two years as Dean of the JFICM, which has its headquarters in Melbourne. Prof. Myburgh, from Sydney, is currently Vice-Dean and Censor, and Prof. Joynt, from Hong Kong, is the Continuing Professional Development Officer and International Liaison Officer for the JFICM. Prof. van Heerden comments, “It is a tribute to

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the excellent medical training received at Wits Medical School that three of the 10 elected board members of the JFICM are Wits-trained.” Established in 2002, the JFICM offers a six-year postgraduate diploma integrating internal medicine, anaesthesia and intensive care training in accredited hospitals. Successful completion of the diploma results in Fellowship (FJFICM) and recognition as an intensive care specialist.

st The board of the JFICM: In the front row, Prof Myburgh is 1 on rd the left and Prof van Heerden is 3 from the left. Prof Joynt does not appear in this photo.

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Minister Barbara Hogan and Dr Molefi Sefularo

he new National Minister of Health in South Africa, alumna Barbara Hogan (BA Hons 1979), was appointed in the aftermath of former President Mbeki’s recall late in 2008. Alumnus Dr Molefi Paul Sefularo (DTM&H 1989, DPH 1990 and DHSM 1992) was appointed as deputy Minister of Health.

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Barbara-Anne Hogan was born on 28 February 1952 in Benoni. A student of anthropology and economics, she joined the ANC in the 1970s when she was involved in the trade union movement. She was detained in 1981 and held in solitary confinement for a year. She was tried and was the first woman in South Africa to be found guilty of treason. Sentenced to 10 year’s imprisonment, she served eight. She was released a week after the ANC was unbanned and was appointed the first secretary of the ANC in the then PWV province. Hogan was elected to Parliament in 1994 and has chaired the finance portfolio committee and the standing committee of the Auditor-General.

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Although Hogan has no medical experience, she has commented that, “The ANC told me that that is precisely why they want me in this job. They are clear; they want health delivery, they want things to improve.” Hogan’s deputy, Molefi Sefularo, is a medical doctor. In addition to diplomas in tropical medicine, public health and health service management from Wits, holds a medical degree from the Medical University of South Africa (MEDUNSA) as well as an MBA from the University of Cape Town. Born on 9 July 1957 in the North West province, Sefularo was deputy superintendent of Thusong Hospital in the former Bophuthatswana ‘homeland’ in the early 1980s. He was active in the Azanian Students Movement at that time and was a member of the United Democratic Front (UDF). He was detained a number of times for undermining the ‘homeland’ government. At democratisation in 1994, he was appointed MEC for health in the North West province. He also sits on the portfolio committee of trade and industry.

January 2009


News Bytes

Coca-Cola funds WBS Chair in Marketing

Lifetime achiever alumni honoured by Centre for Deaf Studies Two Wits alumni were honoured with lifetime achievement awards at the Wits Centre for Deaf Studies’ 10 year anniversary in October. Professor Emeritus Phillip Tobias (BSc 1946, BSc Hons 1947, MBBCh 1959, PhD 1953, DSc 1967, honorary DSc 1994) and the late Dr Robert Simmons (BSc 1955, BSc Hons 1961, MSc 1965, PhD 1975) were honoured for advocating for the rights of the deaf community. Prof Tobias facilitated access for Dr. Simmons to academia and acted as his mentor. Dr Simmons, honoured posthumously, was one of the first students at the St Vincent School for the Deaf when it opened in 1934. He was the first deaf person to get a matric certificate in South Africa and the first deaf person to graduate from Wits. He was also the first deaf lecturer at Wits, teaching in neurosciences. He established the first Sign Language School offering South African Sign Language (SASL) to the hearing public. Born in 1931, Dr Simmons passed away on 7 February 2007.

January 2009

Director and Head of the Wits Business School, Professor Mthuli Ncube has announced that Coca-Cola will be funding a Chair in Marketing at Wits Business School to the value of R8 million. “This will go a long way in strengthening research and teaching in the Marketing area”, he said.

Alumna’s verse novel serialised A verse novel by Silke Heiss (BA Hons 1988, MA Comp. Lit. 1993) has been serialised in New Contrast SA Literary Magazine. The Griffin Elegy is an eight-part verse novel set in the Cape Peninsula that tells of ghosts of the past, and their effect on today and tomorrow. Visit New Contrast's website at http://www.newcontrast.net

Alumni still kicking in touch 100 years on Alumni from around the globe are expected to attend celebrations in 2009 when the Wits Rugby Club celebrates its centenar y. Distinguished alumni likely to attend include Harold Small (BSc Mining 1948), who was chairman of the Wits Sports Council in 1947, as was John Lane (BA 1946) in the mid 1980s. Centenary celebrations kick off with the annual Raikes Memorial match on 25 February at the Wits rugby stadium. An international match against a British team is being planned for 1 May 2009 at Coca-Cola Park in Johannesburg.

WITSReview 49


Social

A reunion and launch of the Cape Town alumni Chapter took place at The Vineyard on 23 October. About 60 guests attended the formal dinner at which the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Loyiso Nongxa, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Advancement & Partnerships, Professor Rob Moore and Director of Alumni Relations, Peter Maher made presentations. A lively Q&A session was also held. The annual Founders’ Tea for alumni who graduated 40 or more years ago took place at the Vice-Chancellor’s residence, Savernake, in Parktown on 19 November. More than 200 alumni and their partners attended the Tea, at which Wits Chancellor and Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke was the guest speaker.

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The School of Architecture and Planning hosted an alumni reunion on 27 September featuring an exhibition of the work of Professor Emeritus and Wits alumnus Pancho Guedes (BArch 1953, Honorary DArch 2003). Prof Guedes, aged 83, led alumni on a walkabout of his exhibition at Museum Africa in Newtown, Johannesburg entitled Pancho Guedes: An Alternative Modernist and Works after 25 April 1974. The exhibition included architecture, urban design, urban planning, intervention, craft and art. Prof Guedes was appointed Head of Architecture at Wits in 1975 and he remained a Professor in the Department until his retirement in 1990 when he returned to Portugal.

January 2009


Social

Some 40 years after graduating, all 10 of the 1968 class of Wits mining engineers are still alive and well and living in South Africa! Eleven mining engineering and geology alumni and their partners reunited in Limpopo province on 11 September. Weekend activities included golf at the Tzaneen Country Club, bass and trout fishing, luxury spa treatments, and scenic walks. The reunion culminated in a formal dinner at which alumni were treated to a slideshow of university mining tours produced by Peter Cook.

The Office of Alumni Relations hosted about 60 alumni and family members on a tour of the Maropeng Visitor Centre at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site on 20 September. The tour of Maropeng - a Setswana word meaning ‘returning to the place of origin’ - included an underground boat-trip which immersed visitors in the four elements, water, fire, air and earth, from which all life emerged and is sustained. Visitors then enter an interactive exhibition which explains the beginnings of life, the origin of species, the path to humanity and what it means to be human. After the tour a buffet lunch was enjoyed in the Tumulus Restaurant, which boasts breathtaking views of the Witwaterberg and Magaliesberg ranges. January 2009

Mining Engineers Alumni Association annual luncheon held at the Wits Club on 9 May 2008 Front row: D R Fleming (66), G R Still (49), W B Howe (48), VO Steed (44), R C Espley-Jones (44) D G Krige (39), L W P v d Bosch (43), M Harris (43), D P Unwin(43), B H L Leach (51). Second row: F M G Egerton (67), M J Martinson (53), A N Brown (55), R C Bertram (54), M J Deats (54), W R Leuner (55), L T Lombard (55), P D Fockema (55), S P Ellis (55), O Davel(54). Third row: V Bosman (67), D Ranklin (59), R A Sesink Clee (57), J A Cruise (67), A S Malone (66), C T Fenton (56), M A Madeyski (56), B S Love (63), C G Knobbs (64). Fourth row: M I Mthenjane (92), P J H Short (67), R A Lindsay (68), J S Carr (65), G A P Andersson (65), P J Cook (68), P S Wentworth (68), P H Ferreira (78, Current WUMEA Chairman), M M Mokgojwa (SMES Chairman 08) Absent (inset): Prof H R Phillips (68, Patron), R B Wiggill (58), J E Whillier (50), M H Rogers (67).

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Social

The Wits Choir alumni dinner and concert took place at the Wits Club on 19 November. Guests were treated to a musical feast by the Wits Choir, which performed an eclectic and inspiring mix of items, from a Medley of Namibian Marching Songs, through Ave Maria to Freddie Mercury’s Bohemian Rhapsody. Wits Choir conductor Dalene Hoogenhout (BMus Ed 1985), has led the choir since 1996. She is currently compiling a history of the Wits Choir and invites alumni with information to contact her at dhoogenhout@witschoir.co.za.

The Wits University Boat Club’s Masters Regatta took place on 29 November at Wemmerpan, Johannesburg. Hosted by students, the 33rd annual race included an Alumni 8+’s race. Pictured third from left is alumnus Don Muller (BSc Eng Civil 1949) who rowed in the Boat Club after WWII from 19461950. His teammates then included alumni Dan Robinson (BArch 1950), Mike Martinson (BSc Eng Mining 1953) and Andrew Mayer (BSC Eng Mech 1951). All these octogenarians continue to row together some 60 years on! Also pictured are Wits student rowers (from l to r) Michael Marshall, Tarryn Wright, Helen Jervis, and Anna-Belle Mulder.

About 30 alumni and their families enjoyed a picnic and wine-tasting at Houghton Wine Estate in Perth’s picturesque Swan Valley on 1 November. The Perth Alumni Chapter currently has about 50 members and a committee of five arranges regular Chapter events. The next event will be a dinner at which alumna and forensic pathologist Dr Karin Margolius (MBBCh 1973, BSc 1976) will be the keynote speaker. Contact helendodge@yahoo.com to join the Chapter. 52 WITSReview

January 2009


Social

Who are the aggressors in nature? Who are the defenders fighting for survival? These and other intriguing questions were on show at the 2008 Yebo Gogga Yebo amaBlomo exhibition hosted

WIRHE receives excellence award The Wits Initiative for Rural Health Education (WIRHE) received the Discovery Foundation Excellence Award in 2008, worth R1 million. The Award recognises organisations that demonstrate excellence in service delivery and training in South African healthcare, particularly in human resources in the health sector.

by the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences from 27 to 30 September. Large numbers of alumni, students, scholars and the general public were on campus to witness interactive displays of fascinating bugs, plants and animals presented by Wits staff and students. This annual exhibition aims to educate the public and school leavers in particular about arthropods, animals and plants and their context within biology. The exhibition included bug races, braaied bugs, and live demonstrations of how creatures use an array of tactics from camouflage and mimicry to venom and deception to counteract an attack. An educational booklet for scholars is available at www.wits.ac.za/science/YeboGogga.

January 2009

WIRHE was founded in 2002 by alumnus Professor Ian Couper (BA 1983, MBBCh 1987). It aims to address the shortage of healthcare professionals in targeted rural areas and provides scholarships for students from rural districts to study in health sciences professions. Students are recruited from rural districts and WIRHE funds their first year of study. The North West Department of Health funds the second year onwards. There are currently 42 students in the WIRHE programme from the North West province - which has the lowest healthcare professional population ratio in the country - and from Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga where Wits has had a rural health facility since the 1980s. The students achieved an 81,3% pass rate in 2007. Kgopotso Moeng, a fifth-year medical student from Bushbuckridge, is expected to be the first WIRHE alumnus in 2009. For more information visit http://web.wits.ac.za/Academic/Health/ Entities/RuralHealth

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Book Reviews

Africa Writes Back by James Currey (Wits University Press)

Between 1967 and 1984 James Currey was part of a team of conspirators Alan Hill, Van Milne, Aigboje Higo, Keith Sambrook and Henry Chakava amongst others who launched the African Writers Series (AWS) as an imprint of Heinemann Educational Books. Heinemann opened bases in London, Ibadan and Nairobi. The AWS series had set off with a flying start in 1962 following the favourable international reception of its first effort, the paperback edition of Things Fall Apart. By the time of its end following a series of changes in ownership between 1983 and 2003, the AWS had published some 370 titles. Africa Writes Back is Currey’s enthralling account of the motivations, challenges, literary evolution and many of the ‘behind the scenes’ developments, intrigues, debates, and skirmishes that informed the rise and demise of the AWS. Currey draws on personal memories as well as a rich archive of correspondence, reports and reviews. Roughly chronological in its narration, the book’s chapters are organised around regional

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developments across the continent and each chapter also includes a vignette on key writers such as Chinua Achebe, Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Nuruddin Farah, Alex La Guma, Bessie Head and Dambudzo Marechera. Since distribution was largely premised on securing prescription into the school and tertiary markets in Africa, Heinemann had to negotiate complex sociopolitical exigencies such as the Nigerian/Biafran civil war, nationalisation policies, the vagaries of foreign exchange and the increasing political hostility towards writers by African governments. Then there was the equally formidable task of managing good relations with authors across continents and poor communication systems. Many of the writers often led precarious lives and they were mindful, and even resentful, of what could be seen as their reliance on British patronage. Africa Writes Back should appeal to general readers, specialists in African literature and people who are interested in issues concerning the sociology and history of publishing. I must confess I was just as captivated by the tit-bits on the personalities, temperaments and even misdemeanours of some of my favourite authors. Professor Bhekizizwe Peterson

January 2009


Book Reviews

Tracks in a Mountain Range: Exploring the History of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg by John Wright and Aron Mazel (Wits University Press)

This attractive, 147-page book explores the heritage that is being protected by the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg World Heritage Site, and asks whose heritage it is and how it came to be made. It’s a rewarding and accessible read for anyone with an interest in the Drakensberg as a natural environment and in rock art, archaeology and history. This volume was commissioned as part of a series of books by Wits University Press on South Africa’s World Heritage Sites. These books are academically credible (they are written by academics and reviewed by peers) whilst also being visually appealing and accessible to a wider readership who want more than a travel guidebook. After briefly describing the area’s geology, climate and plant and animal life, the book considers the sources of our understanding of the Drakensberg, including colonial and indigenous accounts. The authors say they “aimed, not to write a definitive history of the Drakensberg, but to open up ways of looking at the region’s past which go beyond the mainly ‘colonial’ views which have predominated in the literature up to the present.” The chapter on the archaeological evidence in the Berg is fascinating. Hunter-gatherers were January 2009

living in the mountains more than 25 000 years ago and farmers were in the uplands 700 years ago. One cave dig found 1 800-year-old tufts of human hair decorated with ochre. The various rock art theories are covered and the authors make the point that work on the rich store of art in the Drakensberg has contributed to the understanding of rock art elsewhere in the world. The illustrations are interesting and there is nothing in the archaeology section of the book that is too technical for the average reader. The economic and historical context that shaped the region over the years – labour demands, the placement of people in reserves, political changes further afield – is painted in broad brushstrokes but well balanced with interesting details. Did you know that 80% of the cattle in southern Africa died in the rinderpest in 1896-7? Towards the end of the book, the authors reflect on changing perceptions of the mountain region, from an “uncivilised” and frightening wilderness to a “sublime” landscape to be conquered by mountaineers, to a tourism attraction and conservation site. I found most of the illustrations interesting and useful and thought that the design of the book itself and of the pages, with plenty of sidebars to dip into, made for ease of reading. I read it in a day and felt it had enriched my personal heritage. There is a list of further reading and an index. Lyrr Thurston WITSReview 55


Obituaries

Akerman, Bernard (1932-2007) Dr Bernard Stott Akerman (MBBCh 1958) died 4 December 2007. Born 22 December 1932 in Pietermaritzburg, Akerman matriculated from Michaelhouse. In addition to a medical degree, he held Red Cross first aid and nursing certificates and a pilot’s licence. He specialised in anaesthetics at the Royal College of London then practised in Durban in the 1960s. He married Pamela Reardon in 1966 and they had two children. The family returned to England where Akerman studied histopathology, becoming a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists in 1992. He published extensively in conjunction with the Natal Medical School and, at his retirement in 1997, was department head at both Addington and the Natal Regional Laboratory Services.

Graff (nĂŠe Schwartzman), Zilla (1927-2007) Zilla Graff (BA Hons 1948, LLB 1969) died 25 December 2007, aged 80. A psychology major, Graff was one of few women to serve on the SRC. She married Jack Graff (BSc Eng 1948) in 1949 and raised three children, all Wits graduates. She completed an LLB and then practised as an attorney. In 1985 the Law Faculty dean invited her to transform the voluntary law clinic into a fully fledged unit, a task which she undertook with zest over the next decade. Aspirant attorneys served their articles there, gaining practical experience and providing legal services to the indigent and those prejudiced by apartheid. Graff retired in 1992 having built the clinic into a model copied by several local faculties. She continued to consult to Wits on matters of student discipline.

Conacher, Roderick (1941-2008) Professor Roderick Charlton Conacher (BA 1963) died 7 July, aged 67. Born 12 November 1941, Conacher studied geography and sociology. He held a teaching diploma and dedicated his life to education. He was headmaster of Potchefstroom Boys High, head of the Johannesburg College of Education and director of Crawford College. He is survived by his three children.

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January 2009


Obituaries

Hellig (née Judes), Jocelyn (1939-2008) Professor Jocelyn Louise Hellig (BA, HDip Ed 1961, Moelwyn-Hughes, John Timothy BA Hons 1966, PhD 1982) died of cancer on 16 (1925-2008) November 2008, aged 68. The former head of A stalwart of the Department of Chemistry religious studies at Wits was a world-renowned and tireless campaigner for Wits staff, authority on anti-Semitism and a campaigner against Professor John Timothy ‘Tim’ Moelwynprejudice and injustice. Born 7 December 1939, Hughes, or ‘JT’, died in Hermanus, Hellig matriculated from Johannesburg Girls High, Western Cape on 14 September 2008, aged then completed degrees in religious studies and 83. Born on 25 October 1925 in East teaching. She married Dr Michael Hellig (BDS 1963, London, He grew up in East London and MDent 1985) in 1961 and taught at high schools in Durban and matriculated from Durban the early 1960s while raising three children, all of Boys High. He obtained bursaries to whom are Wits graduates. She returned to Wits in complete both a BSc and an MSc at the 1976 lecturing on world religions, obtaining her University of Natal and won a scholarship PhD in 1982 and serving as department head and to Cambridge University, where he honorary research fellow in the 1990s. As national completed a PhD in inorganic chemistry. and Gauteng vice-chair of the SA Jewish Board of He returned to Natal University as a Deputies (SAJBD), Hellig provided balanced lecturer in the early 1960s and came to commentary on controversial issues, such as the film Wits four years later, where he would spend The Passion of the Christ. She was a prolific writer and the remainder of his career. In 1966 he married Valda and the couple had two her book The Holocaust and Anti-Semitism: A Short History (One World Oxford, 2003) is recommended children. Moelwyn-Hughes took sabbatical reading in institutions worldwide. She curated the leave to Stanford, Cambridge and Oxford ‘Seeking Refuge’ exhibition in association with the universities to pursue chemistry research, Goethe Institute focusing on German-Jewish refugees and later to research staff development who settled in Johannesburg in the 1930s, and was methodologies. He was actively involved involved in the establishment of the Johannesburg in the Staff Association regarding conditions of service and teaching Holocaust Centre. accountability. He established the Staff Development Centre at Wits in the 1980s King, Kenneth (1927-2007) Kenneth William King (BCom 1948, Certificate in and pioneered many of the teaching and Theory of Accounting 1951) died November 2007 employee procedures that are the mainstay at the age of 80. A stalwart in the School of of Wits today. He retired in 1993 and Accounting in the 1960s, King was a sympathetic emigrated to the UK following a pulmonary lecturer to his first-and second-year students. He embolism. He returned to Johannesburg read prodigiously well beyond his subject area and in 2004 and settled in Hermanus in 2007. was known for his exceptional friendliness and His legacy endures through his children sympathy. His son is an accountancy alumnus and and through the Wits Centre for Learning and Teaching Development. his grandson a student in the same field.

January 2009

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Obituaries

Motlana, Nthato (1925-2008) Struggle activist, academic, businessman and the Mandela family physician, Dr Nthato Harrison Motlana (MBBCh 1954) died of cancer on 30 November 2008 in Johannesburg. He was 83. This distinguished alumnus and Wits benefactor held a BSc from the University of Fort Hare, and several honorary doctorates from American and South African universities, including Wits. Born 16 February 1925 in Pretoria, Motlana attended Kilnerton High School. He was secretary of the ANC Youth League in the 1940s and, in the 1950s, was arrested, twice stood trial with Mandela and was convicted and banned for five years. During this time he graduated, married and worked at Baragwanath and in private practice. He remained active in civic politics, serving as vicechair of the Black Parents’ Association (for which he was detained) and as leader of the S o w e t o C o m m i t t e e o f Te n . T h e Committee,formed to run Soweto’s affairs after the collapse of the Soweto Urban Bantu Council, was banned by the apartheid government on 19 October 1977,‘Black Wednesday’. Although released the same year, Motlana was prohibited from attending meetings, refused passage to travel abroad and denied a passport for 31 years. He established a grocery shop and remained active in resistance politics in the 1980s, campaigning against the black local authority elections. He pursued various business interests, including forming the first black-owned chemicals company, Africhem, establishing a uniform manufacturing company, Phaphama Africa, and founding the first privately owned, black hospital in the country, Kwacha later Lesedi Clinic. Sizwe Medical Aid Scheme was formed concurrently, the first scheme to be

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owned and operated by blacks. He also formed New Africa Marketing to employ detained youth. Wits University awarded Motlana the Alumni Honour Award in 1989 as well as a Citation for Outstanding Community Services. Motlana’s flagship company, Corporate Africa (later New Africa Investments Limited – Nail) was established in 1993 with luminaries such as the current Wits Chancellor Justice Dikgang Moseneke, Sam Montsuenyane, Franklin Sonn and others. Motlana was awarded the Top Five Businessmen Award in 1993 and served as ViceChancellor of the University of North West and of Technikon South Africa in 2000. He also served on the Wits University Council. He received the Financial Mail Lifetime Achievement Award for his role in business and community in 2007. He is survived by his wife, six children, 11 grandchildren and one greatgrandchild. Pincus, Aaron (1932-2008) Dr Aaron Charles Pincus (MBBCh 1946) died 11 July 2008, aged 76. Born 13 September 1932, Pincus worked as an orthopaedic surgeon at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital after graduating,serving on the teaching staff for over 20 years. A Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in England, Pincus most recently taught in the faculties of medicine, dentistry and physiotherapy at Toronto University in Canada. Utton, Desmond (1919-2008) Wits benefactor and alumnus Desmond Utton (BSc Eng Chem 1941) died 23 September 2008. He was born 24 March 1919.

January 2009


Obituaries

Spitz (née Green), Sheila (1917-2007) Sheila Spitz (BA 1936) died in Jerusalem in 2007, aged 91. Born 30 January 1916, Spitz completed an undergraduate degree in history and economics. She was involved in charities locally and in Israel.

Mphahlele, Ezekiel Es’kia (1919–2008) The first black Professor at Wits and the man who drafted the Freedom Charter clause, “the doors of learning and culture shall be opened to all”, Professor Ezekiel ‘Es’kia’ Mphahlele died in Limpopo Province on 27 October. The herd boy born 17 December 1919 in Marabastad in the former Northern Transvaal only began school at 13 but would become a worldrenowned author, educator and literary giant. He was educated at St Peter’s School and obtained a teaching diploma at Adams Mission School. He worked as a clerk at a school for the blind in the mid 1940s and then taught at Orlando High in Soweto. He resigned in protest at Bantu education enforced in the 1950s. He then worked in journalism for Drum magazine but was forced into exile by the apartheid government. In 1957 he left South Africa for Nigeria where he taught at high schools, edited Black Orpheus and published his autobiographical novel, The Living and Dead and Other Stories. In 1959 his groundbreaking novel, Down Second Avenue, immortalised his hometown and became a literary classic. In 1961 he convened a conference of black writers in Uganda and later that year moved to Paris, where he headed a cultural forum secretly funded by the US’s Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He obtained his Bachelors and Masters degrees from the University of South Africa in the 1960s and was the first person there to be awarded a January 2009

distinction for a thesis. He then moved to the US where he obtained a PhD at the University of Denver in 1968, followed by a professorship at the University of Pennsylvania. He was nominated for the 1969 Nobel Prize for Literature. He moved to Zambia in 1971 when his next novel, The Wanderers, was published. He returned to South Africa in 1977 to establish Wits’ African Literature department. He Africanised his name to Es’kia in defiance of ‘linguistic oppression’, offended as he was with the conventional spelling of Africa with a ‘c’, which he believed colonisers of Afrika had created for their own convenience. He continued to write prolifically and established the Black Education and Research Centre in Soweto. The second volume of his autobiography, Afrika My Music, was published in 1984. He retired in 1987. In the 1990s Nelson Mandela bestowed the Order of the Southern Cross on the man affectionately known as Uncle Zeke. He received the French government’s Les Palmes Academiques Award and Tribute magazine named him Writer of the Century in 2000. The University of Venda established a Centre in his honour the following year and in 2005 the Department of Arts and Culture honoured him with the South Africa Lifetime Achievement Literary Award. His legacy lives on through his works and the Es’kia Institute. He is survived by his wife, children and grandchildren.

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Obituaries

Wits Chancellor, Justice Dikgang Moseneke with Helen Suzman at Founders’ Tea on 19 November 2008.

Helen Suzman (1917 - 2009) Helen Suzman (BCom 1942, Hon Doctor of Laws 1976) passed away on 1 January 2009 at the age of 91. Her death is a great loss to the country and to Wits University, to which she retained close ties throughout her life. The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Loyiso Nongxa, paid tribute to Suzman, saying, “The University regards her as one of its most illustrious graduates and an icon representing much that the University is proud of in its heritage. A person of steel will, she enjoyed international recognition for her courage and skill, both inside and outside Parliament. “Her loyalty to her alma mater was astounding given the demands made upon her in her public life. Despite her wide range of commitments and the demands made upon her, she found time to serve the University on its Council, having been elected by the alumni of the institution, and was a member of the Executive of Convocation. “Her contribution to democratic change, her commitment to human rights and her unfailing determination to pursue justice are attributes to be admired today as we sing her honours but also as we say farewell to one of the giants of the Wits University family.”

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Suzman was born in Germiston on November 7 1917 to a Jewish Lithuanian immigrant couple, Samuel and Frieda Gavronsky. She matriculated in 1933 from Parktown Convent, Johannesburg. In 1937, aged 19, she married Moses Meyer Suzman, a specialist physician, and the couple had two daughters. After obtaining her BCom degree she was appointed tutor and then lecturer in Economic History at Wits, a post she held until becoming MP for the United Party (UP) in the Houghton constituency in 1953. In 1961, with the formation of the Progressive Party (PP), Suzman was its only MP to retain her seat and she remained the party’s only representative until 1974 when she was joined by seven colleagues. In 1977 the PP’s successor, the Progressive Federal Party (PFP), became the official opposition and Suzman retired in 1989. In recognition of her political, humanitarian and leadership role, Suzman received honorary doctorates from a number of leading universities throughout the world and South Africa, including Oxford, Cambridge, Columbia (New York), Harvard, Wits, and Cape Town. She was twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and in 1978 she received the United Nations Award for Human Rights. She was appointed to the Order of Merit (Gold) South Africa in 1997.

January 2009


Obituaries

Pitt, Aubrey (1922-2008) Aubrey Arthur Pitt (BArch 1951) died 24 June 2008 in Cape Town. Born 18 January 1922, Pitt matriculated from King Edward VII in Johannesburg and was the 1939 South African speed skating champion. He served with the South African Engineer Corps in the Middle East and Italy before studying architecture. He practised in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) before returning to South Africa to work in construction, eventually as MD of the LTA Group. He was a visiting lecturer in architecture and building science. Pitt served on a number of boards including that of the Urban Foundation and he held a variety of directorships. He was president of the Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce, the Rand Club and the Royal Johannesburg Gold Club. Dische (nee Goldberg), Sylvia (1922-2008) Dr Sylvia Dische (BSc 1943, BSC Hons 1945, MBBCh 1947) died in the UK on 15 August 2008, aged 86. Born 6 December 1922, Dische emigrated after graduating to specialise in paediatrics. She studied in Edinburgh and held posts at the Canadian Red Cross Memorial Hospital and in London. She married pathologist Dr Frederick Dische in 1953 and worked part-time in schools and clinics in south London while raising her family. She had remarkable success in the treatment of nocturnal enuresis (night bed-wetting), an area in which she specialised. She was a recognised authority on the use of enuresis alarms and was in demand as a teacher and writer.

January 2009

Cowan, Allan (1922-2008) Allan Dunford Cowan (BCom 1942) died on 18 August 2008. Cowan was born 9 April 1922. He died aged 86. Berkowitz, Hayman (1921-2008) Wits benefactor and alumnus Dr Hayman Solomon Berkowitz (MBBCh 1945) died 20 July 2008 in Australia, aged 87. He is survived by his wife. Warren, George (1916-2007) Dr George St Ledger Warren (MBBCh 1942, Master of Surgery 1955) died in Parkmore, Gauteng in 2007, aged 91. Born in Johannesburg, Warren matriculated from Jeppe Boys High and studied medicine at Wits, where he was president of the Students’ Representative Council, the Students’ Medical Council and a founding member of the squash club. He served as a medical officer in Italy during WWII and joined Anglo American as a medic thereafter. It was while working as a GP in South West Africa (Namibia) that he became interested in the emotional problems encountered in general practice. He returned to Johannesburg to specialise in psychiatry and spent his final 30 years as a psychoanalytical psychotherapist, working from rooms at his home in Parkmore. Warren also held diplomas in public health and industrial medicine.

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At Wits End

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January 2009


At Wits End

And then we wake up. The anxiety floods in and the dread takes hold. Who will we meet? Will we make friends? Will we eat lunch alone? Mercifully, the first week is programmed to create as many opportunities as possible to make friends, with the help of never-ending parties. I believe these parties serve a higher purpose: by the end of the week students are mere zombies begging to attend classes and be educated. Not much warning is given about how lectures are conducted at university. Sitting in a lecture room where an old man preaches for 45 minutes and then walks out is not the best way to start your learning experience. Once he walks out you realise that you didn’t write a thing down and that class really is over. You expected to see an overhead projector with all the notes neatly summarised. But that’s what friends are for – educating each other by sharing notes. Once every student has gone through the induction process and the clans have formed, university does not seem so alien. At this point the cultures are integrated and each group is so colourful that the place looks like a beer January 2009

commercial or a government brochure. After a few weeks though, the similar cultures are, by some strange phenomenon, drawn towards each other and the rainbow university begins to resemble pools of paint. Despite these divisions, friendships are formed; some are temporary moments of insanity, while others are forged for life. Either way you learn that these relationship dynamics exist everywhere, including the workplace. For me, the step of starting a Postgraduate Diploma in Management (PDM) was the beginning of another change of mindset. The environment and people were, as the name suggests, business-like. The subjects were relevant, the schedule was intense and the lecturers could be eccentric but were extremely learned. Deciding to do this course was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Education is not just about the learning materials you are given but the people you meet. And yes, at the end of it all there is freedom of a kind. So why do you keep thinking your boarding school days were so Utopian…?

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Wits Review January 2009  

Magazine for alumni and friends of the University of the Witwatersrand

Wits Review January 2009  

Magazine for alumni and friends of the University of the Witwatersrand