Wits Review October 2018 Vol 40

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The magazine for ALUMNI and friends of the University of the Witwatersrand October 2018, Volume 40

Wits Review – October 2018

03 04 08 11 12 13 24 30 35 44 54 64 68 70 78

Editorial Letters Wits spaces Newsbytes Social Research Witsies with the edge Profile: Murray Nossel William Cullen Library Mandela at 100 Witsies around the world Obesity research Honorary doctorates Books Obituaries

Editor Peter Maher (peter.maher@wits.ac.za) Contributors Heather Dugmore (heather@icon.co.za) Lyrr Thurston (lyrr.thurston@wits.ac.za) Ufrieda Ho (ufrieda@gmail.com) Graphic Design Jignasa Diar (jignasa.diar@wits.ac.za) Printing: Remata Circle of Excellence Award 2017 (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) Best External Magazine 2017, 2016, 2015, 2012 & 2010 (MACE) Best External Magazine 2014, 2013, 2012 & 2011 (SA Publication Forum) Published by the Office of Alumni Relations, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Address: Private Bag 3, Wits, 2050, South Africa T +27 (0)11 717 1090 E alumni@wits.ac.za www.wits.ac.za/alumni UPDATE CONTACT DETAILS: www.wits.ac.za/alumni/updateyourdetails SUBSCRIPTIONS per copy: South Africa R25 (incl. VAT & postage) International R50 (incl. postage) PAYMENT OPTIONS: Online payment using a Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Diners Club credit card at: www.wits.ac.za/alumni/payment or by electronic transfer or bank deposit to: First National Bank, Account No. 62077141580, Branch Code 255-005, Ref.No. 29613 (+ your name) or by cash or credit card payment at the Alumni Office. WITSReview is published twice a year. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the editor, the Office of Alumni Relations or of the University of the Witwatersrand. ŠCopyright of all material in this publication is vested in the authors thereof. Requests to reproduce any of the material should be directed to the editor.

Cover: Time of reckoning: fragment of Dutch East India Company cash book, late 1600s Left: Sketch map of the Transvaal territory,1878 Story on page 35 Documents from Wits Historical Papers Archive





consider the WITSReview to be a credible source of information about Wits



believe the WITSReview strengthens their connection to Wits


typically keep an issue of the magazine for more than a month

read most or all of the magazine on average


consider the WITSReview’s content to be good/excellent


spend more than an hour reading the magazine/32.5% spend up to an hour reading it


say the WITSReview increases the likelihood they will give back to Wits


of respondents were male


of respondents were female

1 858 respondents 2 WITS REVIEW MAGAZINE

Editor’s note

Your views and opinions matter Peter Maher

Director: Alumni Relations


hank you very much to the 1 858 readers who participated in our recent reader survey. In addition to letters to the editor, surveys help hold us accountable to readers and help us identify areas needing improvement. The survey also generated hundreds of comments and I was grateful for the candid remarks and observations, the bouquets and brickbats. It was also gratifying to read so many encouraging comments which paid tribute to the dedicated work of colleagues and freelance contributors who produce the magazine. The initial “wordle” I constructed using all the comments received had “Keep” as the most prominent word. This looked odd in isolation, so I removed the large number of comments that said, “Keep up the good work”. The resultant wordle and overview of results appear on the facing page. Most of the critical comments we received made fair observations but they also reinforced my experience that it is not realistic for one publication to appeal equally to the entire spectrum of our alumni community, from “Millennials” (1981 – 1996) to “The Silent Generation” (1925 – 1945). We even have a few readers from “The Greatest Generation” (1910 – 1924) and of course a great many “Baby Boomers” (1946 to 1964). For some readers, the first port of call and most appreciated section of the magazine is the sadly ever-expanding obituary section, while others may barely glance at it. Many alumni appreciate stories that evoke nostalgia for long-gone student days, while others would prefer to be inspired by stories of young alumni achievements. Still others would prefer the magazine to focus more on research and topical socio-political

issues. One person’s “dull and uninspiring” is another person’s “rich source of information which makes me feel I am still on campus”. To be effective, communication needs to be relevant to, and resonate with, its audience. The comments we received reinforced this truth. It is not feasible, or good practice, to try to produce a one-size-fits-all magazine or aim content at the lowest common denominator in the hope of not alienating any reader. In recognition of this, the alumni office tries to meet the varied interests and needs of a diverse alumni community through a range of publications in addition to those produced by Wits Communications such as the world-class research magazine Curiosity. Most of these are available to alumni on our website at www.wits.ac.za/alumni, where we also regularly publish new stories about Wits and Witsies. Lastly, to be effective, our communication needs to reach alumni and this remains our biggest challenge. Being a quick and cheap delivery method, email has become ubiquitous and overwhelming. Currently we email a link to each issue of the WITSReview to about 50 000 alumni, but only about 15 000 of these emails are ever opened. We also produce a WITSReview app for Android and iOS devices which is available at the Play and App stores. For many alumni, a print copy in the post remains the preferred method of receiving the magazine. Those who receive a print copy will continue to do so and alumni can also subscribe to receive a print copy through our website or by contacting us directly. Thank you for helping us ensure that WITSReview keeps you connected to Wits. Please continue to keep us on our toes and let us know about your story ideas.




Image: YouTube

Proud of Witsies in the arts

John Kani

Below: Mines Rescue Brigade member with breathing apparatus and radio transmitterreceiver

Congratulations on another excellent edition of WITSReview (April 2018). Going through the magazine, I couldn’t help but feel proud of the incredible achievements Witsies in a diversity of fields are making. I would like to single out the arts and entertainment field, where I noticed quite a number of BADA graduates are making an indelible mark. It is also pleasing to see people who do not hold formal qualifications from the University yet fly the Wits flag through their affiliation with Wits. Take for example Wits Council member Dr John Kani, who was a co-star alongside his son [Atandwa] in Black Panther; or author, actor and musician Nakhane Mavuso, who did two years of African Literature at Wits and was the co-lead with Niza Jay in the multiple award-winning Inxeba (The Wound). Speaking of Inxeba, in the controversy that followed the nationwide screening of the film and its subsequent banning, I would have you know that two Wits law graduates, Advocates Steven Budlender and Dali Mpofu SC, were leading on opposite ends of the legal battle you allude to in WITSReview. These are just a few of the examples of the Wits edge in action! Mbekezeli Benjamin (LLB 2014)

Long search for mine safety solution The article in your April issue on locating trapped miners highlights a significant technological problem which has a long research history in South Africa. In 1938, the medical superintendent of Rand Mines, Dr AJ Orenstein, asked Dr (later Sir) Basil Schonland, the Director of the Bernard Price Institute of Geophysical Research at Wits, whether it would be possible to communicate, by radio, directly


through rock underground. Orenstein was concerned by the possible complete lack of communication between members of a rescue team sent underground following a mining disaster. Schonland agreed to investigate. However, before he had anything substantial to report, the Second World War intervened and the resources of the BPI were handed over to the government for top-secret work: the development of South Africa’s own radar system. In 1948, after Schonland had established the CSIR, the problem was looked at by TL Wadley (DScEng 1959). He showed that it would indeed be possible to communicate over limited distances through rock if a low radio frequency was used. The Electronics Division of the Chamber of Mines Research Organisation (COMRO) then set out to design equipment suitable for use by the mines’ rescue brigades and for other mining-related tasks. Initially it was large and bulky (pictured) but developments in semiconductor technology eventually saw it reduced to the size of a walkie-talkie. In 1978, a large electronics company in Pretoria was contracted by the Chamber of Mines to manufacture the equipment. Many hundreds of the sets, known as the Substrata Communicator, went into service in South African mines as well as in mines overseas. Brian Austin (BScEng 1969, MScEng 1977, PhD 1985) West Kirby, UK

Prof Fred Cawood, Director of the Wits Mining Institute, replies: Dr Austin is absolutely correct. The low frequency required (coupled with high energy requirements) remains an issue. Recent developments in electronics are helping a lot and I believe it is just a matter of time (and more research) before we have a solution that works. Brian and his colleagues at the old COMRO were certainly ahead of their time.

How thrilled I was to read Doug Smollan’s reminiscences of when he was Rag chairman, as I was on his committee responsible for the record number of Wits Wits sales that year (1968). We certainly had a wonderful committee, as Doug says, and it was good to read of the successes of those he named. I wonder where everyone else is today!

Dickenson but I am not sure. We were all residents of Dalrymple House at the time and I have very pleasant recollections of our days at Dalrymple, then College House. I do enjoy your magazine, particularly the obituaries. Ted Nathan (MBBCh 1962)

Gareth Zimmerman (BA 1969, TTHD 1970) Stroud, UK

Bravo for April issue I felt compelled to write and congratulate everyone who was involved in putting together the April 2018 WITSReview. It is stunning: visually exciting, crammed full of varied, interesting articles. A real tour de force. Bravo! Heather Chapman (BA 1987, BA Hons 1999, PDipEd 1988)

Rag and revolt This photo (above) was taken at Rag 1958 or 1959. Left to right: Mike Davidson (BDS 1962), Ted Nathan (MBBCh 1962) and Jack Lozdan (BDS 1961). We were all at Dalrymple House, then College House, and were participants in the 1957 “F*** the Dean” revolt, commemorated by the plaque which sits on the lawn between the Houses. Mike Davidson (BDS 1962)

Dalrymple days I was interested in the photograph on page 52 of your April issue under the heading “John Buttress”. I took the photo (above) in 1957 during Rag Week. John Buttress (BSc Eng 1962) is at the back; Mike Levi (BCom 1961) kneeling to his right; Sid Fram to his left and seated in the chair I think

Editor’s note: Read more about the infamous revolt on the Men’s Res web pages: www.wits.ac.za/mens-res/monuments/

Chorus of angels Kudos on the latest WITSReview (April 2018) – a superb publication. I was particularly interested to read of Prof John Gear’s progress and laudable activities.

29 November 2018 – Library Lawns

A committee to remember



Letters Phineas and other friends

Above: Rag 1958

Below: Phineas

I knew him as a medical student in the late 1960s, and was quite tickled to see how much he has grown to resemble his father! I read with interest, and not a little nostalgia, Fred Bihl’s look-back on Rag 1958, and I would like to fill out the story with another photo taken on the same day. In 1958 the Choral Society staged one of Gilbert and Sullivan’s lesser-known and rarely-performed operettas, Utopia Limited. Inspired by this, we named our float “Next Stop Paradise”. We built the float outside the Bozzoli residence, and what you see in the photo taken at 6.30am, as noted on the back, is the following: The late Professor Bozzoli in his dressing gown, casting a benevolent gaze over the assembled “angels”. The girl with her back to us is Clarissa (Bozzoli) Bihl, and the three girls in a row, from left to right, are: ElsaLou (Bozzoli) Anderson, Belinda (Bozzoli) van Onselen – in Parktown Girls’ High School uniform, who went on to serve as Deputy Vice-Chancellor at Wits and then became a Member of Parliament – and myself, Jenni (Soussi) Tsafrir. The boys who walked alongside were “fallen angels”, but I’m afraid I can’t identify any of them. Maybe they will come forth? Jenni (Soussi) Tsafrir (PhD 1969)


I have just read the April edition of WITSReview and it brought back a number of memories. I was in the same Civil Engineering class as Rob Jarman (letter on page 5) and so many of his statements brought back memories for me as well. The photo of Phineas in the top left hand corner of page 7 told me that he was still around after all these years. I was in residence at College House for four years. A roommate of mine, Percy Jacobsen, and myself “looked after” Phineas during 1953/54 (I think) to ensure he was not “captured” by Tuks students. Percy died tragically while we were in England in about 1960. On page 6, Prof Bruce Murray states that Eddie Barlow was the first Wits student cricket Springbok. I thought it might have been Clive Ulyate, who represented the then Transvaal at both cricket and rugby. He also played Springbok rugby with Joe Kaminer (also Wits) and so might have played Springbok cricket as well. Please keep up the good work. Thanking you for your enthusiastic editorials. David Borland (BSc Eng 1956)

Editor’s note: See page 79 for Clive Ulyate’s obituary.

Tireless force for Wits Business School Reading the article “Wits Business School celebrates 50 years” (WITSReview April 2018), I was very surprised and disappointed in not seeing any mention of the true innovator and driving force for the establishment of the Wits Business School, my Uncle, Professor Leonard

Harold Samuels, who worked tirelessly for and in the creation of the School in 1968. Having lectured at numerous international business schools, including Harvard, he made the establishment of WBS his career mission to create a world class business facility at Wits. Unfortunately his untimely death in 1971, at a very young age, did not allow him to see the first graduates of the school and the fruits of his labour. Barry Bloch, CA(SA) 1971, HDip Tax Law 1974 Toronto, Canada

Editor’s note: Prof Samuels is mentioned in the book WBS produced 10 years ago to celebrate its 40th anniversary. The School has an online timeline and memory wall: http://www.50yearsofwbs.co.za where alumni can share their stories.

Long-lived huts Many thanks for printing the most interesting picture of campus accompanying Robin Jarman’s letter in the April 2018 WITSReview. I arrived at Wits as a first-year in 1967, and am quite certain that most if not all of the huts in the picture were still there then. The one in the U of the Biology building disappeared only when the phytotrons were built, and the one on the north side of that building survived even longer. In about 1968 Dr Mogg pointed out to me that one of the oaks south-west of the Biology building came into leaf a couple of weeks before the others, and kept its leaves longer in autumn – it was tapping into a leaky pipe, I believe. The huts alongside disappeared (unmourned) with the excavations for the Wartenweiler Library. The oaks died at the same time, but were mourned by at least some of us.

Editor’s note: The aerial photo that appeared with Mr Jarman’s letter was apparently taken in April 1960.

Rocking that regalia When I earned my PhD at Wits I was unable to attend the convocation ceremony because, at Anglo American’s behest, I was studying at Harvard Business School in the USA at that time. Many years later when I took up the position of Chair and was named Professor at the University of Missouri I was advised that I would be expected to wear my PhD regalia at the twice-yearly commencement events at our University. Since I had no idea what the Wits PhD in Mining Engineering looked like, I bought the attire directly from South Africa. This red gown, pink hood and “Henry VIII” hat impressed the heck out of the campus Administration, faculty, graduating students and parents who attended each ceremony! Here are a few old photos from my days as Chairman and Professor at MST (Missouri University of Science and Technology) – formerly University of Missouri-Rolla and Missouri School of Mines. MST is highly focused on science, engineering and technology and is relatively small by USA standards, that is, between 5500 and 8500 students.

Stay in touch

Please share your news and remember to update your contact details. We’d especially love to hear of Witsie families and Witsies who share a birthday with the University (1922). Please help us to keep in touch with all our older alumni if they don’t have email addresses or social media accounts. Please email letters to peter.maher@ wits.ac.za.

Below: John Wilson

John W Wilson, PhD 1972, Texas, USA

Hugh Glen (BSc 1970, BSc Hons 1972)



Wits Spaces

The Old Rembrandt Art Centre on West Campus, now re-opened as the new Commerce, Law and Management (CLM) Postgraduate Student and Resource Centre.



Images: Peter Maher


ew life has been breathed into the old Rembrandt Art Centre on West Campus now that it’s re-opened as the new Commerce, Law and Management (CLM) Postgraduate Student and Resource Centre. CLM Dean Professor Imraan Valodia explains that there were previously no dedicated facilities for postgraduate students on West Campus. Now, though, the refurbished building will be a space conducive to work in and to host functions for the Faculty. Originally designed by Jan van Wyk, it was completed in 1963 on what was then the Milner Park showground. The space was once a venue for art exhibitions and was named the Rembrandt Art Centre in 1980 in recognition of the Rembrandt van Rijn Art Foundation’s donations to Wits. For some time the centre was also used to store the rock art that had been moved from the Johannesburg Zoo for safekeeping. In 2016, the Origins Centre got a new wing for the rock art and the renovation of the Rembrandt space could begin. nnnnnnnnnnnnn It’s a beautiful solution to the competing needs of safeguarding heritage and improving campus facilities – in particular to attract postgraduates to Wits. “It is fun and a privilege to breathe life into old buildings that were once considered ideal candidates for demolition,” says Emannuel Prinsloo, Director of Campus Planning and Development. Project architect Craig McClenaghan says: “The building was designed fairly early in Van Wyk’s professional career. He later gained recognition and respect for his inventive interest in the organic. “The old ‘Rembrandt Gallery’ was in a poor state of disrepair. A lot of time was spent clearing, tidying and revealing, in order to develop a clear intervention methodology. nnnn “The implementation became a kind of imaginary design conversation between us and the original architect – in which we tried to say as little as possible. But we have added just enough for whoever works on it next, so the design narrative can continue.” He says “an unusual building like this commands respect for its honesty, courage and delight. It forces us to interrogate how to ‘intervene’ in a consumerist pop culture that demands ‘new’ at every opportunity. Hopefully in the end, this little building will demonstrate that doing very little can go a long way.”



Wits Spaces


Images: Peter Maher

More student accommodation has been added to Barnato Hall (top left) and David Webster Hall (above) on West Campus. The road alongside Alumni House has been named Alumni Lane (left). The University gateways on Jan Smuts Avenue (below) and Jorissen Street have been upgraded.

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Wits’ first female chancellor The Wits Convocation has elected Dr Judy Dlamini (MBA 1999) to succeed Justice Dikgang Moseneke as Chancellor of the University. Her six-year term begins on 1 November 2018 and her installation ceremony will take place on 1 December. “The University is privileged to have Dr Judy Dlamini serve as the Chancellor,” said Professor Tawana Kupe, Acting ViceChancellor and Principal. “She is a public figure of distinction and [her election] reflects the University’s

commitment to intellectual integrity and academic excellence.” Dr Dlamini said it was an honour to be elected as Chancellor of Wits and she looked forward to working with all sectors of the University community. She qualified as a medical doctor at the University of Natal in 1985, then obtained her MBA from the Wits Business School in 1999 and a Doctorate in Business Leadership from UNISA in 2014. She is an accomplished business woman, author and philanthropist.

The future of the connected human Almost 200 Wits alumni across the generations attended a networking event at Wits Business School on 10 May, themed “The Future of the Connected Human”. A panel of alumni discussed the implications of advances in machine learning, robotics, artificial intelligence and the digital economy.

They were: master of ceremonies Vukosi Marivate (BSc Eng 2007, MSc Eng 2009) (not pictured here); facilitator Arthur Goldstuck (BA 1984) (below right); and (below from left) panellists Dr Benjamin Rosman (BSc 2007, BSc Hons 2008, BSc Hons 2009); Adam Pantanowitz (BSc Eng 2007, BSc Eng 2008); Vimbai Muzofa (MCom 2015); and Sunil Geness (MM 2006).

Image: Peter Maher

Image: Mbekani Group





Back to class for Civils ’73 Back row: Chris James, Ric Snowden, Carlos Mendes Middle row: Doug Jardine, Daniel Reinecke, Dave Monro, Mike Fotopoulos Front row: Graham Cross, Lee Harding, Ian Fitz

Image: Peter Maher

FHS Gala Dinner

Image: Vivid Images

Getting his classmates’ contact details became a hobby for Carlos Mendes (BSc Eng 1973). Eight years of persistence paid off when the stalwarts of the Civil Engineering Class of 1973 finally met at the Michelangelo Hotel in Sandton on 18 July 2018 to celebrate their 45th anniversary. Soon the memories were flowing and bonhomie mounted. The next day the class toured the campus, including their fourth-year lecture room, where fellow classmate Professor Emeritus Chris James shared some nostalgic class memories and a snapshot of currentday Wits. After a convivial lunch at the Wits Club, the class parted, resolving to find more classmates for their 50th anniversary reunion.

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The annual Faculty of Health Sciences Alumni Week ran from 5-8 September 2018. The programme included the AJ Orenstein Lecture, presented this year by Prof Tshilidzi Marwala on “Intelligent machines, ethics and health in the 21st century”, and talks by alumni. The Health Graduates Association reunion dinner was held at the Wits Club (below).

Research Experimental archaeology

A taste of the Stone Age


Image: Conception Torres, UAM

Spear throwing at the Science Stadium on West Campus

Zimbabwean furnace for glass beads Images: Tania Olsson

ould you eat a pigeon wrapped in strelitzia leaves – with the bird’s feathers still attached? Doesn’t sound exactly delicious, but Dr Aurore Val (PhD 2013) had a taste, all in the name of science. Studying the pigeon bones after her meal proved the birds were in the diet of Middle Stone Age people living at Sibudu Cave (an important archaeological site in KwaZulu-Natal). Experimental archaeology tests ideas about early human behaviour. It helps answer questions about the meaning of markings on bones, how tools and weapons were made and what were they used for, how structures were built and how food was prepared. The first African Conference on Experimental Archaeology, which took place at the Wits Club in March, turned parts of the campus into a laboratory of spear-throwing and bone-crushing. Among the presentations, Dr Silje Bentsen (PhD 2014) showed how quartzite changes colour when exposed to fire. This can tell an archaeologist whether the rock was used in cooking – which in turn contributes to our understanding of diet in the past. Dr Jerome Reynard (MSc 2012, PhD 2016) led an experiment to study the effects of trampling on bone. This can indicate the number of people who lived at a specific site and for how long. Dr Tanya Hattingh (MSc 2014, PhD 2018) has literally broken ground in her experimental work on precolonial indigenous crops and agricultural practices in southern Africa. She and other researchers grew three crops (sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet) and examined the phytoliths in them. Phytoliths are the microscopic mineral particles that form inside plants. They can shed light on the environmental conditions of the distant past.

Making bone tools




Wits researchers and students are contributing to upgrading the electronics of the ATLAS particle detector (pictured), situated in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. The upgrade will increase the LHC’s sensitivity.

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Nuclear physics

Zooming in on creation


Image: CERN

loser to the origins of matter: that’s where physicists would like to go, and they are getting there by smashing up protons. The research requires an enormously powerful microscope, or particle accelerator – much bigger even than the existing Large Hadron Collider at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Switzerland. Meanwhile, dozens of Wits students are contributing to upgrading the Large Hadron Collider, and in doing so are learning skills for research or for work in high-tech industries. Dingane Hlaluku (BSc 2015, BSc Hons 2016, MSc 2018) is working on the software that will make sense of the huge amounts of data to be generated by the particle detector. Joyful Mdhluli (BSc 2014, BSc Hons 2015, MSc 2017) is looking for materials that can withstand high levels of radiation, for use in parts of the detector. This is essential for obtaining accurate data.



Research Palaeoanthropology

Rising Star Cave  comes to Lone Star state

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Image: © Wits University


its has a new partner in the Perot Museum of Nature and Science in Dallas, Texas. The two institutions have agreed to collaborate on palaeoanthropology research and exhibitions. Already, the museum has a new Being Human Hall which features an innovative virtual reality exploration of the Rising Star Cave in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, where Wits’ Professor Lee Berger (PhD 1994, DSc 2014) identified fossils of the species Homo naledi in 2013. Prof Berger is the Phillip Tobias Chair in Palaeoanthropology at Wits and an Explorer at Large for National Geographic. He is also the Division Director of Palaeoanthropology in the Evolutionary Studies Institute. A recent study named him South Africa’s most publicly visible scientist. The discovery of naledi was the largest fossil hominin find in Africa and stimulated much research and debate about the behaviour of this species. The Perot Museum has a new strategic focus on human origins, aiming to be a global centre of excellence in palaeoanthropology, according to its CEO, Dr Linda Silver. Its activities in the field will fall under the Center for the Exploration of the Human Journey. Archaeologist Dr Becca Peixotto, who was one of the “underground astronauts” on the Homo naledi excavation team in South Africa, will lead the centre. The collaboration with Wits is part of the museum’s plans to increase research, produce travelling exhibitions, cultivate scientific communication and make its work more accessible around the world. Wits Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib said the collaboration would contribute to raising awareness of our common humanity.

The discovery of Homo naledi raised questions about hominin behaviour

Image: Perot Museum of Nature and Science

Marvel Comics used the species Australopithecus sediba – discovered in the Cradle of Humankind – as a story line in its comic X-Men: Giant-Size. In the fantasy story, the hominins are exterminated by beings called the Evolutionaries so that Homo sapiens can evolve.

Images: © Marvel

Marvel at Sediba

Image: © Wits University

Professor Adam Habib, Wits University Vice Chancellor, and Dr Linda Silver, Perot Museum CEO

Rising Star expedition leader Professor Lee Berger with some of the cavers and explorers.




Coloured scanning electron micrograph of a cultured cancer cell from a human cervix. Cancer of the cervix (the neck of the uterus) is one of the most common cancers affecting women.

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Cancer’s complex trends laid out

Cervical cancer in South Africa

Gallo/Getty Images


1 in 35

Estimated lifetime risk

500 000 women worldwide are diagnosed with the disease every year.

Cervical cancer deaths in SA during study Women who develop cervical cancer in a year

5 000

ervical cancer is preventable but about 500 000 women worldwide are diagnosed with the disease every year. The cause is often infection with human papilloma virus (HPV), which flourishes when HIV infection reduces immunity. In South Africa, one woman in 35 is at risk of getting cervical cancer. Three public health schemes have been introduced over the years to reduce this risk. Free Pap smear screening has been in place since 2000, alerting patients to the need for treatment which can save lives. Free antiretroviral drugs (ART) were rolled out in 2004 and free HPV vaccination has been offered to public school girls aged 9-12 since 2014. These schemes were expected to have an impact on cervical cancer trends. But until recently, the data sets on risk factors, incidence and mortality rates had not been thoroughly combined and analysed. Dr Gbenga Olorunfemi (MSc 2017) and collaborators from School of Public Health and the National Cancer Registry studied the trends and determinants of the disease in South Africa for the period 1994 to 2012. They found that in an average year, about 5 000 South African women develop cervical cancer and 2 800 die. One in three black South African women accessing cancer care in Johannesburg had cervical cancer. The trends are influenced by a complex interplay of factors. The HPV screening seems to have helped slow the increase in cases of cervical cancer. But the risk of cervical cancer among HIV-positive women actually increased as ART became widely available. As HIV-positive women lived longer they also had a greater chance of developing cervical cancer at an older age. New cases and deaths also continued to increase among women aged 25-34, highlighting the need to invest in prevention programmes, especially among young women. Dr Olorunfemi’s research (which earned him a

2 800

Public health

Women who die of cervical cancer in a year


Cervical cancers

Other cancers


35-54 Age of women with the highest mortality rate

distinction for his Master’s degree) also showed that tobacco smoking and snuff use increased the likelihood of having the disease. He observed disparities in death rates according to race and province, which suggests that interventions might need to be tailored for the needs of each region. His PhD will look at approaches to preventing cervical cancer in Nigeria and South Africa.



Research Geoscience

Molten rock mystery solved


team of geoscientists has solved the long-standing mystery of how layers of pure chromite form from melted mantle rocks. The dark stripes of chromite in lightercoloured rock are clearly visible at the Dwars River heritage site in Limpopo, part of the world’s largest layered intrusion. This Bushveld Igneous Complex is the source of much of South Africa’s mineral wealth. Mantle rocks are rich in a different mineral, olivine, so that’s what you’d expect to find in the layers crystallised from mantle magmas. Professor Rais Latypov now suggests that the reason you find chromite instead lies in the decompression of some basaltic magmas as they rise from deep in the Earth and fill chambers about three to five kilometres

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below the surface, where they cool and crystallise. As they decompress, the magmas are converted into the ones that produce pure chromite on crystallisation. This contribution to fundamental science opens a new line of research for other magmatic deposits like massive magnetites that contain iron and vanadium.

Professor Rais Latypov at the Dwars River heritage site in Limpopo Image: Schalk Mouton

Gallo/Getty Images

Anthonomus santacruzi (black weevil) and Gargaphia decoris (lace bug) are insects that may help to control bugweed (above)

Plant Sciences

The art of war on weeds


ardeners, farmers and foresters know and loathe bugweed (Solanum mauritianum), the toxic, invasive tree that blights South Africa’s rural and urban landscapes. It produces seeds abundantly, grows almost anywhere, crowds out other plants, harbours pests and keeps coming back if chopped down. Efforts to control it biologically have to date not been very effective. But PhD candidate Blair Cowie, in the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences at Wits, has published a review of the use of a combination of methods for more effective control. Cowie is also working on a strategy for controlling famine weed (Parthenium

hysterophorus), a newer invader which is every bit as devastating as its common name suggests. Cowie and other postgraduate students in the School are using satellite images to locate certain species of plants as a first step in controlling them. PhD candidate Jeanne D’Arc Mukarugwiro, for example, uses satellite images to monitor water hyacinth in Rwanda, while MSc students Lerato Molekoa and Sipho Mbonani are focusing on plants that remove contaminants from mine water. Years ago, Wits helped control the invasive red water fern by posting boxes of weevils (Stenopelmus rufinasus) to farmers on request. Issue 4 of Wits’ research magazine, Curios.ty, has the story.

Images of insects: Blair Cowie




Public health

Study exposes endemic violence


lmost every young South African in the Birth to Twenty Plus (Bt20+) study had experienced violence before the age of 18. The study, which has been running since 1990, has found that 99% of the informants have been victims of or witnesses to aggression at home, at school or in their neighbourhoods. More than half have been exposed to violence at home. Close to half of preschool children have been victims, most often through physical punishment by their parents. The research article, published in the South

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African Medical Journal by principal investigator Professor Linda Richter and others, notes: “Violence against children is a significant cause of personal suffering and long-term ill health, poor psychological adjustment, and a range of social difficulties, including adverse effects intergenerationally.� Run by the Centre of Excellence in Human Development at the Wits School of Public Health, the study continues to follow more than 2 000 of the original 3 272 participants from Johannesburg and Soweto. It has been collecting information about their growth, health, personal and social functioning and educational achievement.

Children in Cape Town participated in an ‘Air Your Dirty Laundry’ project calling for an end to violence against women and children

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of South African parents report beating their 4-to-5-year-old children





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of primary school children report being victims of violence


of secondary school children report being victims of violence


Moving swiftly on


Dr Siphephile Ncube

he world can’t get enough of faster electrons, as we share and store more and more data. Siphephile Ncube (MSc 2014, PhD 2018) was part of a research team that has found a way to increase electrical conductivity by attaching particles of gadolinium to carbon nanotubes. Depending on the alignment of its magnetic poles, the gadolinium can boost the electrical current in the nanotubes. Dr Ncube is the first researcher in Africa to build an electronic device that can measure the electron transfer properties of the carbon nanotubes coupled to magnetic nanoparticles.



Witsies with the edge


Image: Ufrieda Ho


tatistically speaking you only need to influence about 16% of people in an organisation to replicate an idea or to diffuse it through the ecosystem to have momentum for change,” says Warren Hero, the chief information officer at Webber Wentzel. It’s a new role, created only in May at the legal firm, and a sign of how companies are starting to think about data and technology in a new way. Hero sees data and technology as a bridge between workplace silos, allowing employees to do their jobs better. And getting others to see this potential and to strengthen these webs starts with finding the “right 16%” of people. “Influencers are not necessarily the executives or those in senior management, so the trick is to identify the right people, motivate them and collaborate with them,” he says. At first glance, Hero’s qualifications don’t look quite right for his new role. Studying towards a BSc in anatomical sciences and statistics, he dreamed of becoming a palaeoanthropologist. He saw himself working in a cave somewhere, patiently sifting through soil to find fossils. But his bursary didn’t allow for further studies and after graduation in 1995 he realised he’d have to get a job. “Lecturers like Prof Phillip Tobias and Prof John Cameron Allan always impressed on me that meaning is the most important thing in life. Meaning mattered more than the fact that I could not study further in this field. I believe meaning is about improving your clarity, not your certainty, about what makes you valuable to your world,” he says. A young Hero landed his first job with what seemed

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an unlikely employer. It was the entertainment company MultiChoice, just when it was launching digital satellite television. He got a foot in the door, he says, because he convinced his prospective bosses with one line about good ideas. “I said something like, ‘there’s no chronology to a good idea’ and they gave me the job,” he says. Quickly, though, Hero realised he did in fact have the right combination of skills to help a TV entertainment company chart a new course. He also found he could draw on biology and palaeoanthropology for solutions. “Paleoanthropology is the science of our origins and it’s understanding that the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts.” What’s more, any company should be thinking about its own evolution and the “development jumps” that occur from time to time. Applying this lens to any organisation, Hero believes, shows how different elements in a business connect – or don’t – and where solutions might lie. Learning from patterns takes a business closer to predictive decision making and fitness for survival. It sounds like a fierce focus on corporate competition. But Hero also believes in the importance of empathy. This starts with knowing yourself deeply; understanding why you think, feel and act the way you do. For him, empathy is the key to being kinder to yourself and being kinder to every part of any ecosystem you find yourself in. It is also the root from which collective responsibility grows, he says. He also believes that efficiency as a goal is overrated. What counts more, he says, is effectiveness. Endless repetition of the same activities, expecting a different outcome, is absurd; it also slackens the creative tension necessary for new ideas that make businesses resilient and adaptable. Hero’s prepared to change too, and calls himself a lifelong learner. From MultiChoice he took up positions in banking and government, then at Microsoft (as chief technology officer for South Africa), before moving to Webber Wentzel. He’s always looked to understand the origin of things and to notice the detail while seeing the bigger picture.

Small push, big picture Sixteen percent is a magic number for Warren Hero By Ufrieda Ho



Witsies with the edge


(MSc Med 1991, PhD 1998)


She has been elected President of the World Federation of Public Health Associations – the first woman from Africa and only the third woman in 50 years to hold this position. 26 W I T S R E V I E W M A G A Z I N E

f Professor Laetitia Rispel (MSc Med 1991, PhD 1998) had a magic wand, she would get front-line health workers to lead the transformation of our health system. They are the people most likely to be committed to achieving a caring, quality and accountable health system, she says. She may not have a magic wand, but Professor Rispel, former head of the Wits School of Public Health, is in a position to advance this vision. Not only does she lead Wits research into the health workforce, she has been elected President of the World Federation of Public Health Associations – the first woman from Africa and only the third woman in 50 years to hold this position. Established in 1967, the World Federation is the only worldwide professional society representing and serving the broad field of public health. During her two-year tenure as president, she plans to prioritise the national public health associations in Africa, Asia and South America, build their capacity in governance, and initiate a global programme to reduce the unacceptable health inequities among and within countries. Professor Rispel holds a DST/NRF SARChI Chair at Wits entitled Research on the Health Workforce for Equity and Quality. She has over 30 years’ experience in research, teaching, public health, executive management and health leadership. Her research interests are human resources for health, quality of care, performance of the health care system, and the intersection of these with the social determinants of health. She is one of a few academics with intimate knowledge and experience of transforming health systems in sub-Saharan Africa. She has served as Head of the Gauteng Department of Health (2001-2006) and as


Image: University of Alberta

rofessor Emeritus Geoffrey Sperber (BSc 1954, BDS 1956, BSc Hons 1958, PhD 1963) was honoured by the University of Alberta, Canada, when the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry’s dental museum was named after him. The university also established a GH Sperber Annual Lectureship to be delivered on the theme of craniofacial development. Dr Sperber, pictured here with University of Alberta School of Dentistry chair Paul Major (right), lectured in the Department of Anatomy at Wits 60 years ago.

GEOFFREYSPERBER (BSc 1954, BDS 1956, BSc Hons 1958, PhD 1963)

the Executive Director of the HSRC’s Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Health research programme (2006-2008). She is a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa. Her qualifications span the areas of epidemiology, economics, management and leadership. Professor Rispel’s research chair is focused on producing the knowledge required to plan for, train and manage a health workforce. It includes an analysis of the health labour market and research on the health workforce’s accountability and performance. In 2017 the research team set in motion a new cohort study tracking the career choices and job location decisions of Wits University health

professional graduates over a period of 15 years. The study, named WISDOM, will also provide information on graduate perspectives on their curriculum and training, within the context of the transformation of the South African higher education system. All this may be brought to bear on the Faculty’s admission policies, selection criteria, curriculum reforms, institutional culture and transformation. In June 2018 Professor Rispel wrote an article about South Africa’s National Health Insurance Bill, raising concerns about its “inconsistencies and unanswered questions”. The Bill lacks detail about norms and standards for the health workforce, she says, calling this the “Achilles heel of health sector reform”.




TRUDI MAKHAYA (BCom 2000, BCom Hons 2001, MCom 2003) 28 W I T S R E V I E W M A G A Z I N E

hen President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a new investment drive earlier this year he turned to Trudi Makhaya (BCom 2000, BCom Hons 2001, MCom 2003), appointing her his economic adviser in April. Her immediate task, he said, would be to co-ordinate the work of his “special envoys on investment”. These four high-profile envoys – Trevor Manuel, Mcebisi Jonas, Phumzile Langeni and Jacko Maree – would be talking to domestic and foreign investors ahead of an investment conference that aimed to generate at least US$100-billion in new investments in South Africa over the next five years. The President likened this team to “a pack of hunting lions”. nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn Makhaya grew up in Hammanskraal and matriculated from St Barnabas College in Bosmont, Johannesburg. She has an MBA and MSc in development economics from Oxford in addition to her Wits degrees in law and economics. She worked as a corporate and management consultant and was a member of the executive committee of the Competition Commission before starting her own advisory firm. She writes regularly for the media, has published academic articles and has even turned her hand to fiction. Economic journalists have described Makhaya as “bold” and “measured” in her views. She supports the 2012 National Development Plan, greater competition and less onerous business regulation. “It will take some sacrifice from all role-players in the economy. Wages and margins are high in South Africa,” she told Business Insider. She has spoken of removing policy obstacles to investment and the need for business, labour, civil society and government to agree on priorities. “I think we are entering a pragmatic phase where economic policy is driven by evidence and the need to achieve measurable results,” she told BusinessLive. “The focus of policy should be on high-value activities that generate employment.” She has also spoken of smaller changes that can make a difference. “By creating an ecosystem that supports women you’re also boosting the economy.”



Braamfontein’s renewal got another boost on Women’s Day (9 August 2018) when a 10-storey mural was unveiled on the corner of Melle and Jorissen Streets. The Ndzundza/Nzunza Portrait was commissioned by City Property as a “gift to the people of Joburg to enjoy” and to show the company’s confidence in this vibrant part of town, said managing director and Witsie Jeffrey Wapnick (BCom 1985). The artist, Hannelie

Hannelie Coetzee

Coetzee (PGDA 1998), put a fresh new spin on Ndzundza Ndebele heritage which survived through pottery from the 17th century: she used more than 2000 plates to create the image of a woman. She also drew on the Architecture thesis of Tshilidzi Mavhunga (BAS Hons 2016, MArch 2017), “The Kink in My Hair: The Experience of Black Consciousness through the Sanctuary of Black Hair Salons”. This research showed that traditional hairstyles from various cultures are serving as inspiration for current, trendy hairstyles. Most of the technical experts and artists on the 5.7m x 30m mural project were women.



Profile M U RR AY N O S S E L

What’s your story? “Not only do we communicate most effectively through our personal stories, our wellbeing and professional success depend on it,” says psychologist, performer, documentary-maker and entrepreneur Murray Nossel (Wits BA 1982, BA Hons 1983, MA 1984). This is his story. By Heather Dugmore

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Murray Nossel teaches organisations to communicate better by telling and listening to stories


don’t think I realised the full power of storytelling until I arrived in New York in 1990, in the middle of the HIV/AIDS epidemic,” says Dr Murray Nossel from his apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, overlooking the Hudson River. “I wasn’t aware of the epidemic until I got here. I was simply running away from a failed relationship in South Africa.” Seeking to escape the hurt, Murray took up the invitation of a friend in New York to visit. “My intention was always to return home, but 28 years later I’m still here.” A clinical psychologist at the time of his move,

he decided to give this a break and try his hand as a playwright and performer. “I was influenced by the work of the poet and performance artist Laurie Anderson. In the army I would listen to her on cassette under my ‘boshoed’ (army bush hat), as she shared monologues about her life. I emulated these in my own way at open mic nights in New York bars. “People seemed to think I had an interesting voice and something unusual to say about my life in South Africa.” In telling his story, he spoke about the woman who’d helped to raise him in the Johannesburg suburb of Dewetshof, where he grew up. “She was a domestic worker, and also a sex worker,” he



Profile recounts. “She was unable to have children, which she found shameful. Because she felt unfit to be a mother, she did what she felt she was fit to do: use her body for money and raise other people’s children.” He also spoke about his grandparents, who came from East Prussia to South Africa in the early 1900s in search of a better life. bbbbbbbbb His paternal grandfather, Meyer Nossel, ran the butchery section of an eating-house for mineworkers at the bottom of Rosettenville Road and spoke all the South African languages. “The eatery smelled of offal and stew and his fingers were red from chopping meat all day. As a young boy, I wanted to run away from the smells and the flies and the dead cows hanging from hooks. I regret not paying greater attention to all this now, as I see it as the beginning of my politicisation. Poor, uneducated Jews like my grandfather were regarded as low lives. Everything he did was to ensure his children received a good education so that they did not have to work as he did. “My late father, Norman, a businessman who had studied pharmacy at Wits, always stressed that people can take everything away from you

but no one can ever take away what you know. Knowledge is power and they are inseparable.” Murray’s mother, Pauline Nossel (80), originally a concert pianist, still teaches music at Wits after 60 years. “Growing up, I didn’t like having a working mother when my friends’ mothers were at home. But later I understood and deeply appreciated her need to create. My mother taught me that listening and storytelling go together.” At the open mic sessions in New York, Murray also told his story about being gay. “This story starts in 1974 when I was at school. The teacher told the class to turn to their neighbours and tell one another a story. I was sitting next to a boy named Paul Browde, who told me a story and then asked me to share mine. I told him I didn’t have a story. “Paul wasn’t like most of the guys who teased me for being a ‘pansy’ and ‘moffie’. Then one day one our teachers, Miss Elsbet Smit, was battling to control our class and ordered us to line up. She said ‘boys on the left and girls on the right’, at which point Paul added ‘and Murray in the middle’. I blushed from top to toe and the class laughed. It felt like a total betrayal.”

“Everyone needs to communicate well to succeed in leadership and business. And everyone has a story to tell.” Murray Nossel

32 W I T S R E V I E W M A G A Z I N E

“I compare listening to a bowl and telling to liquid. Just as the bowl gives the liquid its shape, so does listening shape the telling.” Murray Nossel

The story of Murray Nossel’s life, told through personal connections

Murray says his life changed at Wits. “I transformed from the sissie boy to the cool person, with bleached blonde hair, smoking Camel cigarettes on the library lawns. “At Wits my mind was opened for me as there was a very active political movement on campus. My studies in psychology, English literature and law also gave me the tools to see the link between the personal and the political and to take action by finding a personal connection with others who shared the same ideals and aspirations.” As it happens, Paul Browde (MBBCh 1984) was studying medicine at Wits at the same time but the personal connection between the two had never been repaired since “the betrayal”. “He passed me on the library steps one day and tried to say hello, but I ignored him,” Murray recalls. The triumphant cameos in our lives are essential to our stories, and this cameo took an interesting turn. “Leap ahead to 1990 New York and my first play. Knowing I was South African, the director asked whether I knew his boyfriend, Paul Browde! On opening night, Paul came to congratulate me and also to apologise. He too had remembered the betrayal and it had plagued him all those years. “Paul and I began talking every day, revisiting our lives in South Africa and sharing what had brought us to New York. Six weeks later he revealed to me that he was HIV positive. “It was the height of the AIDS epidemic and people were dying. I told Paul, who had become a psychiatrist, how I had started recording the stories of HIV positive people on video and had discovered that telling their stories



Profile had a visible, positive effect on their wellbeing. “Sharing these stories was also helping to transform the social and political landscape. It became harder for the authorities to ignore what was going on,” says Murray, who worked in an AIDS programme from 1994 to 1996 as part of a social work PhD he completed at Columbia University. “Through this process, I realised I needed to teach people not only to tell their stories but to listen deeply to other people’s stories. I compare listening to a bowl and telling to liquid. Just as the bowl gives the liquid its shape, so does listening shape the telling.” Paul started telling his story about being HIV positive. Courageously for the time, he even told it to the Annual Convention of the American Psychiatric Association in 1994. “Telling his story and having people listen released a tremendous burden of suffering and gave him the will to keep going,” says Murray. In speaking out about their status, Paul and his husband Dr David Hoos encouraged other professionals to talk about HIV, and this openness contributed to making treatment more widely available. For the past 15 years Murray and Paul have performed a piece about their friendship, called Two Men Talking. It’s been seen at the Edinburgh Festival, on London’s West End, Off Broadway in New York and in South Africa. They are business partners in a storytelling business, Narativ, which draws on the method developed over 25 years to train individuals, groups and organisations in the skills of listening and storytelling. They have led this training in more than 50 countries. Today, Murray is on the teaching staff of the Programme of Narrative Medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. The programme addresses the need of patients and caregivers to voice their experience and acknowledges the power of narrative to improve health care. In April this year, Murray published his book Powered by Storytelling: Excavate, Craft and Present Stories to Transform Business Communication.

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BA graduation, 1981: From left: Maternal grandmother Anne Schaffer; Murray Nossel; paternal grandmother Rose Nossel

“Everyone needs to communicate well to succeed in leadership and business. And everyone has a story to tell,” says Murray. “Stories aren’t about who is the boss or who is right or wrong. Stories are about the ability to listen to someone without reacting emotionallly, and, in turn, to tell your story. “Rage and violence are often a cry out for someone to listen, but it’s hard to listen to people when they are screaming at you or behaving destructively. So one of the first steps in storytelling is to shift the emphasis to listening. When we do group training, we first get everyone to agree that for a while, all they are going to do is to exchange the gift of listening and telling. “People need to be taught to be very disciplined about this as strong emotions are easily triggered. They need to learn to contain these and share their stories in as factual a manner as possible. “I ask people to talk about their parents, their grandparents, their childhood, their current circumstances and their personal lives, the good things and the bad, because this is where people connect. This is what improves collaboration, helps to resolve conflicts and boosts creativity and innovation. “There is a lot of talk about transformation today, but it does not begin with policies, it begins with our personal stories and our listening ears. I hope that as Wits heads towards its centenary in 2022, the university’s story can be told through the many different personal stories of Witsies.”


Still centre Risen from a fire through the efforts of an explosives expert, the William Cullen Library had a dramatic start. But it’s come to feel like the quiet centre of campus life for many Witsies over the years. Like many a home, it’s a place where challenge and change can happen safely.

Image: Peter Maher

By Lyrr Thurston



William Cullen Library

For many Witsies, it’s known as the library where students get down to serious, focused study. Many love its hushed, “Harry Potter” atmosphere of stone, wooden floors and balustrades, big tables, leather-bound volumes, old Africana prints and maps. Image: Peter Maher

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William Cullen Library

Top: Fire, University library 2nd: Laying the foundation, Cullen Library 3rd: Opening of the new Cullen Library 4th: Cullen with murals, 1936 5th: Black students’ reading room

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he first Wits library burnt down in 1931 and a new building soon replaced it. Dr William Cullen, a Scottish chemist and metallurgist who worked at the Modderfontein dynamite factory, organised an appeal to stock the new library, which opened in 1934 with 32 000 volumes. It was named after him in 1974. Recently, the decolonisation discussion has raised important questions and reaffirmed the library’s value. It’s a deep store of heritage and new knowledge for everyone to explore and interpret: early Africana, Judaica, books on Portuguese studies, incunabula (pre-1501 books), early maps, government publications, African academic journals, South African theses, newspapers and the constantly growing Historical Papers Archive. All this is valuable material for academics rethinking curricula and students who need to understand the past. For many Witsies, it’s known as the library where students get down to serious, focused study. Many love its hushed, “Harry Potter” atmosphere of stone, wooden floors and balustrades, big tables, leather-bound volumes, old Africana prints and maps. Some have their favourite corner to read in or have discovered the newly brightened-up basement space and digitisation services. Many graduates owe a lot to

the passionate, knowledgable and helpful staff. Even the resident ghost is polite, knocking occasionally on a door. The librarians have a theory about who it is, but the story is a sad and private one. The library is a Wits hallmark. Scholars from other countries visit to use resources they don’t have back home. Wits alumni also have access to the reading room, though electronic access from off campus is limited. Less welcome visitors once arrived through the roof: a 2001 break-in resulted in the loss of African maps and a phone call from Scotland Yard when some of the maps turned up at a dealer’s in London. Unlikely to be lifted from the library is its resident national monument: the original stone Dias Cross. This was erected in 1488 on the coast of what is now the Eastern Cape and discovered in fragments in the 1930s. Colonial incursions are the subject of the big murals in the library. They were painted by Colin Gill (The Colonists 1826, painted in 1925), John Henry Amschewitz (Vasco da Gama Leaving Portugal, painted in 1936) and – in a more critical vein – Cyril Coetzee (T’Kama Adamastor, 1999) (p 41). Whichever emotion the William Cullen Library evokes and whatever debates it stimulates, it needs support to be the kind of resource that Wits – and Africa – will always need. It is there for tomorrow, not just for yesterday.

18th century astronomy notebook of AbbĂŠ de la Caille

Sol Plaatje’s handwritten Siege of Mafikeng diary

Slave register, 1874

Breviary, 13th century

Collection of pass books, oldest dating to 1905



William Cullen Library

Senior Librarian Margaret Atsango: Ethiopian medieval illuminated manuscripts. Client Services Manager Janet Zambri: The Barbara Tyrrell prints of traditional South African costume. Librarian Peter Duncan: The Nuremberg Chronicle (a medieval book with woodcut illustrations, dated 1492).

Images: Peter Maher

What would you save in a fire?

Above: Woodcut illustrations from the Nuremberg Chronicle Left: Ethiopian medieval manuscript Right: Cover of the Ethiopian manuscript Below: Maps and illustrations from the Africana collection

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Political history

Pamphlets related to the Rivonia Trial; the Historical Papers Archive Room; Rivonia Trial indictment, charge sheet, aerial photograph of Liliesleaf Farm 1963; letter from Albert Luthuli to ZK Mathews

T’Kama Adamastor Cyril Coetzee’s oil painting T’Kama Adamastor (above) was commissioned to mark South Africa’s transition to democracy and to show the arrival of Vasco da Gama in the Cape from another point of view. Coetzee, who had been an art history lecturer at Wits, said he wanted the work to be a “parody of the colonial grand narrative around the myth of what Africa was in the minds of Europeans at that time—and the reality known by the indigenous people—the painful conjunction of Africa and Europe.” He used the writer Andre Brink’s interpretation of Camoes’ poem about Adamastor, a mythological character symbolising the forces of nature. In the painting, Adamastor becomes the Khoi chieftain T’Kama, which means “big bird”. The late Professor Alan Crump said at the time the painting was completed: “We look forward to the debate that this painting will undoubtedly generate.” Professor Ivan Vladislavic edited a collection of essays about the painting, published by Wits in 2000. Source: Arena, March 1999



Image: Peter Maher

William Cullen Library

“There’s no point in putting material on shelves with no access to it” Zofia Sulej

Zofia Sulej (left) and Gabriele Mohale

Historical Papers Research Archive Senior archivists: Gabriele Mohale and Zofia Sulej


abriele Mohale’s desk looks out from the quiet William Cullen Library to the passing parade of people who give it life. Her job as archivist is about making that connection: ensuring that the wealth stored in the Historical Papers Research Archive is available to everyone. “There’s no point in putting material on shelves with no access to it,” says her colleague Zofia Sulej. The two have both been working in the archive for 11 years. Part of the satisfaction of the job, Zofia says, is giving a professional and friendly service to donors, researchers and students. Not only do they know a lot about the priceless material in their care,

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they enjoy showing people how to explore and use it. And they still come across surprises sometimes amid the thousands of documents, photos, videos and oral histories – like the gazetted register of “objectionable literature” that surfaced recently when Gabriele was looking for something else. The depth and searchability of the collection has recently received a huge boost through a new digitisation centre which replaces the old binding room in the library. The centre will allow the whole Wits community to keep adding to the digital store of knowledge. The period of transition to democracy in South Africa is one that some young students don’t know

well. The archive includes material from sources like unions, NGOs (such as the End Conscription Campaign), trial records and churches and even theatres. Some students do tap in to the records systematically through courses like architecture, law and history. Researchers also come from far and wide, many leaving words of appreciation in the visitor’s book. Though nothing is allowed to leave the building physically, more and more is available online. Some interesting examples are the 18th century astronomy notebook of Abbé de la Caille; a list of liberated slaves; colonial explorers’ accounts; Sol Plaatje’s handwritten Siege of Mafikeng diary; a letter from Albert Luthuli to ZK Mathews; vinyl recordings of Khoisan music; photos of early Johannesburg; oral accounts of Soweto gangs; lists of people detained under the Terrorism Act; articles about cannabis smoking in Shakespeare’s time; correspondence of the World War II fighter pilot “Sailor” Malan; and research on silicosis. They represent a rich seam of human experience. Organising all this variety in a way that makes it accessible requires a grasp of relationships, says Gabriele. Historical Papers is one of the largest archives in Southern Africa and one of the few that still accepts new material. Prospective donors are welcome to approach the library about the best ways to do this.

For more information about public and international access to Historical Papers, explore the website (www.historicalpapers.wits.ac.za) or contact the staff: call +27 11 717 1940 or email gabriele.mohale@wits.ac.za.

To use the library, Wits alumni need an alumni access card. For an extra fee, alumni can borrow books and use the SAGE Premier Online database (research journals). Alumni can use electronic resources on site with a guest password issued by a librarian. There are facilities at the library for users with disabilities. Read more about the building on the Heritage Portal: www.theheritageportal.co.za/article/ origins-and-architecture-william-cullen-library-wits Enquiries: + 27 11 717 1942

Zofia Sulej


hoever might have thought archives were dull hasn’t met Zofia Sulej. She loves people and she’s passionate about service, learning and teaching. Arriving in South Africa from Poland in 1982 with a Master’s in Russian language and literature but no English and not much money, she taught herself the language from tapes. “I’m not shy,” she says. “I’m not scared to ask questions.” She worked at the Wartenweiler Library for two years and then taught Russian Studies from 1990 to 1995. She had started her PhD when the department was closed down. Undaunted, she worked in Wits’ archives as an administrative assistant for 12 years and earned a postgraduate diploma in archives and heritage studies in 2005. In 2007 she joined Historical Papers, and has since published papers in accredited journals and attended international conferences. Zofia is due to retire in December this year but one can’t help feeling she isn’t done yet. And even when she’s no longer smiling her welcome in the reading room, the difference she made will still be felt there.



Mandela at 100 N E LSON MANDE L A AT WITS

By Bruce Murray



elson Mandela, whose birth centenary was celebrated this year, was a law student at Wits University from 1943 to 1949. But he did not graduate with a Wits LLB, failing the final examination on three occasions between 1947 and 1949. On the third occasion he applied to the Dean of Law, Professor HR Hahlo, for permission to write supplementary examinations in the three papers he failed, but this was denied him as the regulations allowed for a maximum of two supplementaries. Evidently, the advice Hahlo subsequently gave Mandela was to abandon the LLB, which was required to become an advocate, a career Hahlo deemed unsuited to Africans as they would get no business, and instead to qualify directly as an attorney. Mandela took the advice, passing the Attorney’s Admission examination at the end of 1951. There is a strong tradition that places the blame firmly on Hahlo for Mandela’s failure to qualify for a Wits LLB. Hahlo was a racist who gave Mandela, the first African law student at Wits, the gratuitous advice that Africans, and women, were unsuited to the study of law. “His view,” Mandela recounted in his autobiography, “was that law was a social science and that women and Africans were not

disciplined enough to master its intricacies.” Hahlo was unhelpful but Mandela ultimately passed all the courses he took from Hahlo—six out of 14—except Jurisprudence in 1947. Mandela had always struggled with examinations at Wits, but his performance in his final-year LLB exams is something of a puzzle. By 1947 he had completed his articles at Witkin, Sidelsky and Eidelman, the firm of Lazar Sidelsky (BA 1933, LLB 1936), and with the aid of a substantial loan from the Bantu Welfare Trust—a loan he never repaid—he was freed to study full-time. Yet, in 1947, he failed all six papers badly, followed by four failures the next year and three in 1949. A likely explanation is that his activities in the newly formed ANC Youth League had taken over much of his life, his having been made secretary in 1947, responsible for political organisation. After qualifying as an attorney, Mandela decided on another attempt at the LLB, enrolling again at Wits for the 1952 academic year, but he never really made a go of it, becoming deeply involved as volunteerin-chief in helping organise the Defiance Campaign. On 18 July his registration was cancelled for nonpayment of fees. A month later Mandela opened his own law practice, soon to be joined by Oliver Tambo.

“His [Hahlo’s] view was that law was a social science and that women and Africans were not disciplined enough to master its intricacies.” Nelson Mandela 44 W I T S R E V I E W M A G A Z I N E

Mandela still hankered after an LLB and at the end of the decade enrolled as an external student with London University. In 1964, he wrote and passed his first London LLB examinations while awaiting sentence in the Rivonia Trial, which many expected would be the death penalty. Sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island, he was permitted to continue with his LLB studies, the only prisoner allowed to study law. In 1967 he successfully completed Part 1 of the London University LLB examination, but at that point he again stalled, and his task became impossible when in 1970 the government put an end to his overseas supply of books through the British ambassador. Out of a sense that he was getting nowhere with his London University LLB Mandela wrote in October 1974 to the Dean of the Faculty of Law at Wits inquiring whether it would be possible for him to write the University’s final LLB examination in November of the next year. The response he received from the Registrar’s office was cautious and legalistic, but an application form was sent to him. He never received it. At this juncture the Department of Prisons blocked his correspondence with Wits and refused him permission to continue his LLB

studies, whether through London, Wits, or UNISA. Ultimately, in 1981, it was the Dean of Law at UNISA, Professor Willem Joubert, who persuaded the government it was ridiculous to continue blocking Mandela’s LLB, and he was enabled to enrol for the UNISA LLB, which he finally qualified for in 1989, 46 years after his first registration for the degree at Wits. He had finally proved Hahlo wrong, demonstrating his ability to attain an LLB. It was a remarkable feat of persistence, particularly as since his imprisonment there was no prospect Mandela would ever practise law again. Mandela never bore an enduring grudge against Wits, which he came to perceive as an important instrument of transformation. In 1982, while in Pollsmoor Prison, he ran for the post of Chancellor of Wits, and in 1991, after his release, he accepted the University’s honorary LLD. In the spirit of reconciliation, he requested a reunion of the law class of 1946, including those who had snubbed him as a student, which was held in November 1996. “Wits made me what I am today,” Mandela told the reunion. “I am what I am both as a result of people who respected me and helped me, and those who did not respect me and treated me badly.”

Above: Nelson Mandela receives his honorary doctorate from Wits in 1991

The original version of this article was published in Curios.ty, Issue 5, 2018



Mandela at 100

Class of 1949

Final Year Law

Abdul Kader Vahed

Henry Nathanson

Norbert Magzamen

(LLB 1951)

(BA 1947, LLB 1949)

(LLB 1950)

Abdul Kader Vahed grew up in KwaZuluNatal and matriculated from Sastri College in 1939. Indians were not allowed to move to the Transvaal but he went to Johannesburg, worked as a tailor and studied part-time at Wits. He was a member of the Progressive Forum, a group of Trotskyite intellectuals affiliated to the Non-European Unity Movement. He served his articles with the Natal Indian Congress activist Debbie Singh and opened a law practice in KZN. Two well-known political figures, Pat Poovalingam and DK Singh, joined him. Vahed died in 1976, at the age of 56. His son Rashid Vahed is a judge.

Henry Nathanson was born in 1927 and lives in Johannesburg. Having an older brother who was already a lawyer, he enrolled at Wits to study chemical engineering, but switched to law after a year. He was articled to Max Pinchuck at Wertheim & Becker, then started his own firm, Nathanson Bowman & Nathan. He practised as an attorney, notary and conveyancer for 50 years. Nathanson attended and enjoyed the Wits law class reunion in 1996 and greeted Mandela one year at the Killarney voting station.

Norbert Magzamen came to South Africa from his birthplace, Poland, after World War 2. He had already qualified in law at the University of Lwow and was reportedly a judge in Poland. After qualifying at Wits at the age of 50, he practised as an attorney in Johannesburg. He died in 1978.

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Mrs Stutzen No information found.

Exton Burchell Exton Burchell (19171982) came from Cambridge to teach law at Wits in 1947. In 1954 he moved to the University of Natal.

Julian Phillips (BCom 1947, LLB 1950)

Julian Phillips attended King Edward VII School, practised law in Johannesburg in the 1950s and later moved to Australia, where he lectured law at the University of Melbourne. In the 1960s he spoke out against South African sports tours to Australia. He chaired the state of Victoria’s Equal Opportunities Advisory Council in the 1970s and was described as “an outspoken advocate for social justice and active in reforming various social issues including industrial law, the status of women, equal opportunity, sentencing, and homosexuality and its decriminalisation”. Phillips died in 2006.

HR “Bobby” Hahlo

Johann Möller

Ellison Kahn

(LLB 1937, LLD 1963, LLD honoris causa 1973)

(BA 1957, LLB 1949)

(BCom 1941, LLB 1944, LLD honoris causa 1990)

Professor HR “Bobby” Hahlo (1905-1985) came to South Africa from Germany in 1934. He became Dean of the Faculty of Law and head of the department in 1947 and kept these positions until he moved to Canada in 1968.

Johann Möller was born in the Keetmanshoop district of Namibia, matriculated from Hoërskool Upington and practised law in Upington from 1951 to 2007. He was involved in agriculture as well as law. He attended the Mandela class reunion in 1996 and died in 2012.

Professor Ellison Kahn (1921-2007) was on the Wits staff from 1941 and served as Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Commerce Faculty as well as teaching law and editing the South African Law Journal. He took academic silk in 1989 and retired that year.

Dr JE Scholtens Dr JE Scholtens came from the Netherlands and taught Roman Dutch law at Wits from 1949 to 1970 (with a break from 1960 to 1966).

Unity Ann Victor (BA 1947, LLB 1951)

No further information has come to light.



Mandela at 100 Max Levenberg

Harry Schwarz

Ramlal Bhoolia

(BA 1947, LLB 1949, LLM 1985)

(BA 1947, LLB 1949)

(BA 1945, LLB 1951)

Born Heinz Schwarz in Germany, Harry Schwarz came to South Africa with his parents in 1933. He attended Jeppe High School for Boys and served in the Air Force in World War 2. After the war he co-founded the Torch Commando in protest against the disenfranchisement of Coloured people in South Africa, and he chaired the Law Students Council at Wits. He served in the Johannesburg city council, Transvaal provincial council and parliament, represented James Kantor in the Rivonia Trial, and broke away from the United Party to set up the Reform Party. He visited Nelson Mandela in prison in 1989 and was South Africa’s ambassador to Washington from 1991 to 1994, while US sanctions against South Africa were being lifted. He was known for his slogan “freedom is incomplete if it is exercised in poverty”. He died in 2010.

Ramlal Bhoolia was one of struggle stalwart Nana Sita’s seven children. He cycled daily from Hercules to the Pretoria station and then took a train to Johannesburg to attend night classes at Wits. In his third year he stayed with friends and relatives in Jeppe and Fordsburg, sleeping on the shop counters of tailor friends, until a family owning a café near the University offered him accommodation. He was imprisoned for a month for taking part in the passive resistance campaign of 1946. He became a member of the Transvaal Indian Congress and practised law for over 40 years, until the age of 80. On his deathbed in 2007 he asked to see Nelson Mandela, who was unable to visit him but wrote him a letter which read, in part: “It seems like a very long time since we last spent time together; and lifetimes that we were classmates at the University of the Witwatersrand. … I wish you comfort and strength.”

Max Levenberg became an attorney and practised law successfully in Johannesburg for more than 60 years. Through a process of amalgamations, he was the effective founder of the attorneys’ firm Moss Morris and its senior partner for a number of years. In the late 1990s he joined Werksmans, where he was a partner until he reached the age of 82. He practised commercial law. His son, Peter Levenberg SC, says: “He often talked about the experience of being in Madiba’s class. During those very turbulent times, Madiba was always calm, gracious and tactful. But one of the things that best typifies Madiba’s statesmanship and penchant for reconciliation is his actions at the class reunion that took place in 1996, while he was the President of South Africa. He treated every one of his classmates as an honoured guest. He remembered all of their names and something personal about each one of them.” 48 W I T S R E V I E W M A G A Z I N E

Honorary degree Wits honoured Nelson Mandela in 1991 with an LLD

Jan Adriaan Enslin de Klerk (BCom 1947, LLB 1951)

Daphne de Klerk (BCom 1947, LLB 1950)

Jan Adriaan Enslin (Balie) de Klerk and Daphne de Klerk were married and practised in partnership as attorneys in Johannesburg under the name De Klerk & Le Roux. Their daughters, Tonnie (HD) and Nakka (EA) de Klerk, are both practising attorneys at Couzyns Inc in Johannesburg.

If you have more information, please contact us: alumni@wits.ac.za. More at: www.wits.ac.za/news/sources/alumni-news/2018/lifetimes-in-law.html

Unsung heroes

Witsies in the UK and in Johannesburg were invited to a screening of Sir Nicholas Stadlen’s documentary Life is Wonderful: Mandela’s Unsung Heroes. The film features several alumni, including the lawyers who defended Mandela and his co-accused in the Rivonia Trial.

“I remember Nelson Mandela as tall, handsome and the best dressed student always” George Bizos

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” Nelson Mandela

Mandela wall of inspiration

The Alumni Relations Office erected a banner in Solomon Mahlangu House to inspire Witsies to “Be the Legacy”.

Mandela papers

Right: Note for statement from the dock, State vs Nelson Mandela and 9 Others, archived at Wits From the Legal Resources Centre’s Joffe-Mandela Papers Collection OCTOBER 2018


Mandela at 100

Memorial stone

In London, a stone (inset) was laid in memory of Nelson Mandela in Westminster Abbey. South African High Commissioner Nomatemba Tambo (LLB 2003), Wits alumna and daughter of Oliver and Adelaide Tambo, addressed the ceremony. The Ubunye Choir (pictured) performed.

UK pays tribute 50 W I T S R E V I E W M A G A Z I N E

Mandela 100 exhibition

Witsies and UCT alumni in London were treated to a private viewing of the Mandela 100 exhibition at the Southbank Centre on 24 July 2018 (opposite page). The exhibition highlighted aspects of Nelson Mandela’s life, career, and commitment to equality and justice. Wits UK representative Lynda Murray spoke about Mandela’s time at Wits and the parallels between his circumstances and those of some of our current students 75 years later. Though Wits is better now at supporting students who struggle with university life, there is still a great need for help. Images: Orde Eliason

Above: Alan Judes (BCom 1975, BCom Hons 1978, CTA 1977)

Above: Sisters Dr Jane Mueller (MBBCh 1969), left, and Ann-Christine Andersen (BA 1967) looking at letters that Nelson Mandela wrote from prison.

From left: Marc Deisenroth, Imperial College, guest of an alumnus; Shakir Mohamed (BSc Eng 2005, MSc Eng 2007); Victor Gelb (BSc 1965, BSc Hons 1967)

From left: Ursel Free (BSc 1953); Morgan Knight (BCom 2003); Lela Kogbara, Vice-Chair, Nelson Mandela Centenary London Organising Committee; and a UCT alumnus Below: Judith Stamper (PDM 1989)

Above: Geraldine Leong (BSc 1991, BSc Hons 1992, MSc Med 1996)

Above: Luan van Pletsen, son of Wits alumnus Dr Louis van Pletsen, HDip Co Law (1994) Right: Lynda Murray, Wits’ UK representative



Mandela at 100

Mandela Day at Wits

On Mandela Day (18 July), Wits staff and students donated items for the Wits Food Bank and laid them out on the Library Lawns in the shape of Madiba’s face. Dean of Students Jerome September urged Witsies to develop a habit of giving. The Wits Food Bank is managed by Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach, which gives hundreds of students a hot meal every day and runs a vegetable garden on campus.

Images: Wits Functions and Events

52 W I T S R E V I E W M A G A Z I N E

Thank you

1 570 individual donors have helped the Wits Annual Fund reach the R2-million mark!


Small, regular donations by alumni will give future generations a world-class education. Enhance the reputation of your Wits degree, change lives and show appreciation for the education you received. DONATE to the Wits Annual Fund at


Donations are tax deductible in SA, the UK and the USA. *about ÂŁ5.50; US$7; A$10; C$9


Tel: (011) 717O C1093 TOBER 2018




54 W I T S R E V I E W M A G A Z I N E

Silva Magaia Civil engineer (MSc Eng 2004) Location: Maputo


he most challenging part of my work is neither engineering nor commercially related; it is human,” says Maputo-based civil engineer Silva Magaia. “I have learned in my professional life that dealing properly with people is one of the most important aspects of any activity. Respect is key. The same applies to fitting into and leading a team. In my opinion, this skill should be incorporated in the curriculum as a compulsory subject in all tertiary education disciplines.” In 2016 a lifetime opportunity came Silva’s way when the government of Mozambique appointed him as CEO of the state-owned Maputo South Development Company (Empresa de Desenvolvimento de Maputo Sul, known as Maputo Sul), to lead the Maputo-KaTembe and South Link Roads construction project. “The contractor is China Road and Bridge Company. The project includes the construction of the MaputoKaTembe, the longest suspension bridge in Africa and the 53rd longest in the world; and three sections of road totalling 187km, linking Mozambique to South Africa and Swaziland.” It’s familiar terrain for Silva, who was born in 1964 and grew up in what was then Lourenço Marques, now Maputo. His family lived in what he describes as “the city’s slum areas”. His father worked for the Mozambique Ports and Railways Company and his mother was a fish market vendor, as was his stepmother, who raised him and his nine siblings when his parents divorced. A few months after Mozambique achieved independence from Portugal in 1975, Silva started secondary school. It was a time of Maputo-KaTembe bridge project: Silva (left), crossing the 680-metre bridge span through the flying catwalk used during the erection of the main suspension cables



Witsies around the world profound change. He joined the Mozambican Youth Organization, OJM, and became the leader of its science and engineering chapter when he enrolled at Eduardo Mondlane University in the early 1980s for his undergraduate degree. After qualifying, he worked as a project manager for some years. Wanting to do his Master’s at Wits, Silva headed for Johannesburg. His dissertation was on alternative building materials and techniques for low-cost housing, and he subsequently constructed a full-scale dome model using earth bricks at an experimental site in Maputo. Apart from the technical and conceptual expertise he gained through his Master’s, he adds that his time at Wits taught him to do be “a doer, not a talker”. A major challenge of the huge Maputo Sul bridge project was that much of the land in its path was occupied by homes, businesses, public facilities and services such as gas pipelines and underground cabling. Silva was expected

56 W I T S R E V I E W M A G A Z I N E

to manage this and get the project moving faster without compromising quality and safety. Eventually, 1 500 properties were relocated. This did not happen without a storm of criticism but Silva says they avoided major social disruption and legal cases. “The secret was empathy and clear communication in people’s own language,” he says, adding that he learned this from Nelson Mandela. He feels the relocated families gained something in the process: “For the first time in at least three generations, these households have a secure plot of land in areas covered by formal spatial plans.” The next big challenge is the sustainability of the project, which will depend on tolls, he explains. The personal toll of a responsibility this size is considerable. Silva recalls a particular moment when a ship arrived from China carrying the 57 segments of the steel box girder for the main deck of the bridge. “Everyone else was celebrating; I felt quite ill with anxiety.”

The works are approaching the end at an impressive pace and quality, reflected in the project being named one of the 2017 Fulton Awards winners in the infrastructure category. Silva is now giving presentations to banks, schools, companies and communities, locally and internationally, on what he has learnt about “balancing the technical and the conceptual, the formal and the human, including managing people’s expectations”. Home for Silva today is the suburb of Polana, where he lives with his wife Telma. They have two married daughters, a teenage son and a grandson. He plays soccer on weekends, writes short novels, paints and loves being the DJ at family parties. He enjoys visiting game reserves and is spoilt for choice in his part of the world. Life in Mozambique today, he says, has many faces. Maputo “feels secure and calm”. But life remains extremely hard for most people. There are many serious issues to address, but still,

“Moçambique é maningue nice”, as the popular song goes. The weather is great all year, the fish is fresh, the beer is cold, the beach is there, and there’s plenty to do and see, including the newest landmark: the Maputo-KaTembe bridge.

Opposite: Respecting local traditions during a ceremony marking the deactivation of an informal market to give right of way for the construction of access to the bridge

Above: Central Maputo Below: View of the MaputoKaTembe bridge project; Silva Magaia promoting dialogue with resettled families



Witsies around the world


Anna Barbosa

Image: Florianรณpolis, Brazil - Tiago Muraro/Unsplash

Specialist Portuguese-English translator and interpreter (BSc 1993) Location: Brazil

58 W I T S R E V I E W M A G A Z I N E


have had such a rich life and I thank my father and mother for this,” says Anna Barbosa, who was born in Curitiba, Brazil in 1970. Her father, Wander Moreira, was a footballer and was hired to coach the Malawian national team when she was four. The family moved to Malawi, where she attended a British school and learned to speak English. “As a child living there it was great. My father was well known and we had a luxurious post-colonial lifestyle. It was only later on that I realised how twisted it was.” Her father’s next football post was in Somalia in 1980, followed by Mozambique in 1986. Anna completed her schooling there. The family moved to Hillbrow in Johannesburg in 1988, when her father was appointed coach of one of South Africa’s legendary teams, Moroka Swallows. “It was so lively in Hillbrow, especially for us as we had just come from a socialist country. It was still mainly white but there were lots of foreigners, including a sizeable Brazilian community,” says Anna. She attended Damelin College to improve her English and was admitted to Wits in 1989. She met her Brazilian husband when she was a student and he was a chef for Nando’s in South Africa. They were married in 1992 and lived in Berea. To pay her student fees she worked in the chemistry lab helping with research and in hotels and curio shops, where her ability to speak Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and English was an asset. She graduated in 1993 and later became a tour guide, at a time when tourism to South Africa was on the rise. “I had a BSc but my only science-related job in South Africa was translating manuals for machinery

imported from Italy by Haggie Rand.” Her husband was then appointed the food and beverage manager at the Polana Hotel in Maputo, and she moved with him, working as a secretary and interpreter for Onumoz, the UN peacekeeping mission in Mozambique. From there they returned to Brazil. For many years Anna taught English and was an examiner for the Cambridge English language proficiency tests. She now specialises in translating scientific, pharmaceutical and medical texts from Portuguese to English for an international company and does selective work as an interpreter. She’s interested in alternative healing therapies too. “I’m a would-be doctor and ended up doing medical work through a different path. Part of healing is about seeing all people as souls, seeing something beautiful in everyone, and trying not to be judgmental,” Anna explains. She loves the easygoing, warm, generous character of Brazilians and lives with her children in Florianópolis, an island city in the south of Brazil with “great energy, great seafood and great beaches”. Southern right whales come to calve there and its beaches attract thousands of tourists in summer. “They say the island sinks in summer with all the people,” she says. “There is lots to do that’s free here, such as music concerts,” says Anna. Her son has just started university, which is free, with high standards for entrance. The Brazilian diet features a lot of rice and beans. But Anna still loves South African classics like milktart, Mrs Ball’s chutney, curry spices from the Oriental Plaza, rooibos tea and biltong, so her mother (who is still in South Africa) has to bring supplies when she visits.



Witsies around the world Joshua Jackson Public financial management adviser (BA 1998, BA Hons 1999) Location: Papua New Guinea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Indonesia, UK...



Top: Rare trip out with colleagues in Afghanistan. Above: Attending a wedding in Jakarta. Opposite: Snowy Kabul and Jakarta by night from Joshua’s dining room window

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oshua Jackson’s British father and South African mother went to Lesotho for a two-week holiday and stayed there for 15 years. That is where Joshua was born in 1977. He went to school in Johannesburg and majored in economics and international relations at Wits, where his passion for economic development was sparked. He started his working life in the National Treasury in Pretoria and subsequently obtained a Master’s degree at the University of Sussex, UK. Describing himself as “a travel junkie”, he has visited over 80 countries and lived in eight of them, ranging from Papua New Guinea to Iraq and Afghanistan. He was first sent out by the UK’s

Overseas Development Institute and then worked as an independent consultant to help governments prepare, allocate and spend their budgets. At times he lived in style, at other times not. In 2004 he lived in a converted container in a car park in Baghdad, along with other consultants helping the new Iraqi government to get its systems and processes running. Joshua is married to a Venezuelan ophthalmic nurse, Jhennie. They have two young children who were born in Indonesia, where he was a public expenditure management adviser to the Indonesian Finance and Home Affairs ministries. The couple met in Venezuela on one of Joshua’s trips. “I went down to reception at my hotel and there was this rather attractive Venezuelan woman who was on a work trip. At first, we communicated for hours using Google Translate!” Working in Papua New Guinea at the time, Joshua was subsequently posted to Afghanistan and Jhennie moved to Ireland. After a courtship conducted over the time zones, they were married in 2011 and went on a six-month honeymoon around the world. Joshua spent seven years in total in Papua New Guinea. “I was carjacked at gunpoint four times in three years as I lived a very local experience, which meant moving around in some dangerous locations in Port Moresby, the capital city. Aside from this, it is an absolutely beautiful, diverse country of mountains, rainforests and islands; home to a population of six million.” His next posting was to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. “I felt much safer there,” he smiles. His latest posting was to Indonesia’s capital city of Jakarta for five years. “The first two years were tough as foreigners are not allowed to work in the medical field, which meant Jhennie could not work.” His own work has brought the satisfaction of seeing Indonesia’s budget transparency score improve by 10%. (South Africa’s budget transparency is usually rated in the top three in the world.) In Jakarta the couple lived on the 43rd storey of a 55-storey apartment building, with extraordinary views but where they experienced an earthquake one night. “We woke up and the building was literally

swaying while cracks appeared in the walls,” he says. “Indonesia is in the ring of fire for earthquakes.” It was all part of life in Jakarta. “The city really grew on us and the people are friendly. Jakarta is considered by many to be the traffic capital of the world, so we never went out on a Friday evening; we would admire the city from our apartment. To get around we used an app called Gojek to book motorcycle taxis, which are far faster than cars. There’s a Go app for everything: GoDeliveries, GoClean, GoMassage.” They learned the Indonesian language and enjoyed local foods like nasi goreng (fried rice). They joined the international church and met people from all over the world as well as locals. The Jacksons are now based in the UK and Joshua is working for Crown Agents.




Image: Peter Maher

Image: Jeffrey Vock Photography

Stephen Matseoane Medical doctor (MBBCh 1959) Location: New York

D Top left: Stephen with Rachel Weg at a Wits Fund, Inc. dinner held in New York City in October 2014. Top right: Stephen with Joe Blumenthal at a medical graduates reunion held in San Antonio, Texas in October 2016. Above: Stephen Matseoane (left) at a colposcopy clinic session at Harlem Hospital.

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r Stephen Matseoane was born in 1929, and was one of five children growing up at number 66, Sixth Avenue, Alexandra, north of Johannesburg. He and his friends played in the streets, competing with traffic and pedestrians. “Life was precarious and risky but exciting in this oasis of gallantry and cultural support,” Stephen says. “Many of us attended the Lutheran Mission Elementary School. Our teachers were enthusiastic professionals who showed an interest in our education. Discipline was rigidly enforced and corporal punishment liberally prescribed.” It was no use complaining to your parents, he says; they assumed you deserved what you got. Stephen’s parents were hardworking people who routinely rose at 3am, when his father would catch the bus to Doornfontein. He rented a room there and made vetkoek, which he sold to commuters arriving at the Noord Street bus station. Stephen’s mother was a domestic worker and also ran their home, which did not have running water. When Stephen was a teenager, his parents became increasingly unhappy about the company he was keeping: “Drug trafficking, crime, gangsterism and poor policing were becoming rife, so they moved me to a boarding school in Tigerkloof in the Vryburg district of the Northern Cape, which was run by the London Missionary Society. I found it hard adjusting to the rural environment, and the school was run like a military camp as most of

the teachers were war veterans.” After matriculating, Stephen headed for Fort Hare College and majored in zoology and chemistry. He was accepted into Wits Medical School in 1954 and graduated in 1959. He did a year of internship at Baragwanath Hospital, and was there at the time of the Sharpeville massacre, when police opened fire on a crowd demonstrating against the pass laws. “I saw ambulances bringing in people shot mostly in the back. Our responsibility as junior members of staff was to distinguish the patients who were dead on arrival from those who were alive, and determine whether a living patient needed care in the emergency room, operating room or hospital ward. It was a harrowing experience.” Stephen was particularly interested in obstetrics and gynaecology and wanted to specialise in these, but was told by the hospital administrator at Bara that it was not possible. “Disappointed but not discouraged,” as he puts it, he answered an advertisement looking for medical graduates to work at Bronx Lebanon Hospital in New York. “The decision to leave South Africa was not easy for me. I was the eldest son and felt a need to set up in Alex, help my family, and advance the ambitions of my siblings, especially after all my parents had done for me. But given the state of our government, our security was not assured. I told my parents I could not build my future under the prevailing circumstances. They gave me their blessing and I left South Africa.” He set off from Durban in a cargo ship in 1960, and first did his residency training in the Bronx Lebanon and Mt Sinai hospitals. In 1965 he joined the staff of the Harlem Hospital Center for Obstetrics

and Gynaeology at Columbia University. In 1970 he was appointed associate professor and ultimately Clinical Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Director of Ob/Gyn. Along with his colleagues, he also started family planning clinics and a Pap smear and colposcopy clinic that has helped reduce death rates from cervical cancer in Central Harlem. Stephen married a social worker, Carol (who died in 2006), and they had three daughters; two are doctors and one is a speech therapist. “Children are like the stars; you don’t see them every day but you know they are there,” he says. Today, he is an emeritus professor at Columbia and a member of the New York Gynecologic Society and the New York Obstetrical Society. His home is a high-rise building on Riverside Drive, overlooking Riverside Park and the Hudson River in New York City. He loves the city but notes with concern the large number of homeless people and increasing poverty and drug addiction in the US. Another disturbing trend is the “rekindling of nationalism and tribalism” in a number of countries. “Democracies have been at the forefront of the humanities, science, mathematics, engineering and technological advances and have brought levels of prosperity, security and health to some but not to the majority of people,” says Stephen. “We need to work harder on the distribution of the benefits of democracy to all. What matters most to me are the successes and struggles of ordinary young folks finding their way in this world.” Looking back on his life, Stephen says: “I thank my parents for being my guiding star and giving me moral, social and financial support. I thank Wits University for giving me wings to soar and to make my dream come true. It has been an exhilarating journey.”



Image: Luke Stackpoole/Unsplash

Witsies around the world

Gallo/Getty Images

Obesity research

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Fads Feed Flab It’s a riddle and a big problem: the science of human nutrition and diet hasn’t changed much, yet the obesity epidemic of modern humans is ballooning. By Ufrieda Ho


hat has changed is the scale of modern food production, access to cheap fast foods, and corporate marketing machinery that throws mere mortals’ willpower into the fire. Obesity has hit a crisis point in South Africa: 26.8% of the population is classified as obese, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). These bulging middles represent a health burden for the country as well as increased health risks and diminished quality of life for individuals. And yet the research shows that eating a balanced diet to stay within a healthy weight range should be simple enough. Professor Shane Norris (BSc Hons 1997) says that from a population health point of view, the general rules are almost common sense: stick to all things in moderation; eat healthier whole foods; eat fewer processed, refined foods that are high in bad fats and sugars; exercise for at least 30 minutes

daily; get enough quality sleep; break up long periods of sedentary behaviour; and keep stress at bay. Norris, who is head of the African Centre for Obesity Prevention within the MRC/Wits Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit, says that what keeps changing is the information about dieting. And this creates a lot of “white noise” around the science of nutrition. The distractions come in the form of fads: from the keto diet to the paleo diet, the Mediterranean diet to various forms of vegetarianism. It adds to the confusion and frustration for those desperate to fit into their clothes from three summers ago. “Some numbers just don’t help – like counting calories or thinking about BMI (body mass index) only, or even trying to understand the information on a product label,” says Norris. The number he is most interested in is 1000. This is the number of days from when a foetus is conceived to when a child turns two. Norris says the general health and the nurturing care of a woman at the time she falls pregnant and the care a child gets in its first two years of life are critical in determining lifelong health. “The link is now well established between the health of the mother and the health of the infant in its first 1000 days determining the child’s risk of developing obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes,” says Norris. Focusing on maternal health and those first 1000 days is likely to be an effective prevention strategy for combating obesity, he says. Obesity afflicts just under 40% of women aged between 15 and 49 and about 8% of men in South Africa, according to the South African Demographic and Health Survey conducted by Statistics South Africa in 2016. That study also found that a further 30% of women are overweight. “The aim is to avoid putting on excessive weight in the first place, especially around the waist area, because we know losing weight is difficult,” Norris says. Belly fat is the dangerous fat that covers the important organs, including the liver, pancreas and intestines. Professor Karen Hofman (MBBCh 1978), head of the PRICELESS research unit in Wits’ School



Obesity research of Public Health, says it’s not just a case of encouraging people to change their lifestyle and behaviour based on scientific information. The real challenge, she says, is fighting the commercial interests of big corporates and the power of their marketing and advertising. Consumers are subjected constantly to misinformation and messaging that makes it difficult for them to make better choices. In particular, Hofman takes aim at the sugary drinks industry (which from April this year is subject to a special tax). She’s unequivocal about sugar as a massive contributor to the obesity epidemic. “We simply don’t need sugar in our diets. You may want it, but you don’t need it,” says Hofman. “The science about the danger of sugar in our diets has been known since the 1960s, but the power of industries that sell sugar has effectively shut out clear information for consumers. People are told they just need to burn off the calories they consume. But not all calories are the same. You’d have to do vigorous exercise for 30 minutes just to burn off one can of sugary cooldrink,” she says. Hofman says sugars lurk in a wide range of foods and product information is hidden in small print and without enough helpful context about the health risks. Sugar is in virtually every low-fat product. She talks about a “bliss point” – a salt/sugar/ fat ratio that food manufacturers rely on to satisfy palates. “When they remove one of the three they have to raise the quantity of one of the others to keep the consumer happy.” The WHO predicts that non-communicable diseases will be the leading cause of death in SubSaharan Africa by 2039. Productivity loss related to ill health will cost South Africa 7% of GDP by 2030. Hofman’s advice is to sort the science from the fads: choose a personal way of healthy eating that fits your lifestyle but is grounded in science. “Eat a lot of vegetables; get the balance of protein and carbohydrates. If you’re going to indulge, keep it as a small, rare treat. And if it’s something that your great-grandmother would not have recognised as food, don’t eat it,” she says. But just as gran might have been gobsmacked by the over-processed foods of 2018, she’d also

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Professor Shane Norris

Professor Karen Hofman

be floored by the lives modern people lead, with our screen addiction, fast-food drive-throughs and supermarket till-points that can only be reached via a maze of food temptations. It’s these changing socio-cultural environments and their impact on the upward obesity trends that interest Dr Nellie Myburgh. She has an academic background in agriculture, nutrition and anthropology and is a senior researcher at the Wits Health Consortium. She argues for a broader view of what is contributing to the fact that around 600-million people worldwide are now considered obese or overweight. These are factors like genetics, lifestyle, sleep deprivation and psychological problems. “Our bodies are perfect machines that know when we have had too much of something or when we don’t have enough of something else. But somehow we have lost this balance. “Our modern lifestyles have changed faster than our evolutionary ability to adapt and it’s messed up our internal switch,” says Myburgh. She also knows that the old wisdom of body, mind and spirit balance is not as easy to achieve as it sounds. Myburgh says: “We tell people to exercise by walking, but they may be too fearful to walk on the streets where they live because of high crime rates. We don’t consider happiness and a sense of wellbeing for people who may feel isolated or overburdened in their daily lives and then eat to fill a void. There are also people who can’t afford healthier foods,” she says. Studies show that around 85% of modern people worldwide don’t get enough sleep. It can affect hormone regulation, which in turn affects things like healthy weight management, she says.

OBESITY – THE HARD FACTS SUGAR Sugar is a massive contributor to the obesity epidemic. Sugar is in virtually every low-fat product. Food manufacturers rely on a “bliss point” – a salt/sugar/fat ratio to satisfy palates.


600m people worldwide are now considered obese or overweight.


Obesity has hit a crisis point in South Africa

The real challenge is fighting the commercial interests of big corporates and the power of their marketing and advertising.

You’d have to do vigorous exercise for 30 minutes just to burn off one can of sugary cooldrink. From April this year the sugary drinks industry is subject to a special tax.

Belly fat is the dangerous fat that covers the important organs, including the liver, pancreas and intestines.

85% Of modern people worldwide don’t get enough sleep. It can affect hormone regulation, which in turn affects things like healthy weight management. Sources: PRICELESS, Shane Norris, Nellie Myburgh, WHO, Stats SA

Even the changing ideas about ideal body image are confusing. Social media is filled with the extremes of “fat-shaming” on the one hand and “body positivity” on the other. Myburgh points out that in some communities being slim is considered a sign of being HIV positive. As a result people may seek to pile on the kilos to


40% Obese women (aged 15 - 49)



of population in SA obese

30% Obese men




The number of days from when a foetus is conceived to when a child turns two. Focusing on those first 1000 days is likely to be an effective prevention strategy for combating obesity.

avoid being stigmatised. These mixed messages, she says, can compromise people’s health as they internalise the wrong messages about what is healthy. It’s clear there’s no quick or easy way to defuse the public health time bomb of obesity. But it’s even more obvious that there’s no time to waste. It’s a fact: too much fat is not fabulous.



Honorary Doctorates Wits conferred two honorary degrees at graduation ceremonies on 5 July 2018

Yacoob’s wish: “the achievement of a truly nonracial, non-sexist, equal society based on the values of dignity, equality and freedom” Chancellor Dikgang Moseneke and Justice Zak Yacoob

Zak Yacoob

Doctor of Laws for retired Constitutional Court Justice


ustice Zak Yacoob is one of South Africa’s finest legal minds and played a key role at the Constitutional Court in advancing socio-economic rights. He also has a long history of legal activism in KwaZulu-Natal. He was instrumental in the transition to South Africa’s democracy through developing the country’s world-renowned Constitution and as a commissioner on the Independent Electoral Commission. And he has done much to advance the cause of the blind. He attended the Arthur Blaxall School for the Blind in Durban from 1956 to 1966, read for a BA at University College Durban from 1967 to 1969, completed his LLB at the University of Durban-Westville in 1972 and was admitted as an advocate the following year. While at the Durban bar, he represented and advised many people

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prosecuted for contravening oppressive legislation. He was part of the defence team in the Delmas Treason Trial. He also ran a commercial and general legal practice and was appointed senior counsel in 1991. He served on the panel of independent experts of the Constitutional Assembly and several committees working on the new Constitution. As a Constitutional Court justice from 1998 to 2013, he sat on many of South Africa’s seminal cases. He is particularly well known for the Grootboom judgment he wrote, which enforced the state’s obligation to provide reasonable access to adequate housing. The concept of “reasonableness” has been an important part of human rights jurisprudence. The University honoured Justice Zakeria Mohammed Yacoob for his lifetime of service to the poor and marginalised and for the values he embodies.

The next revolution In his acceptance speech, Justice Yacoob spoke of a new phase of struggle in South Africa. It starts with internalising the founding values of the Constitution, living these values and persuading others to do the same.

Images: Gordon Harris

Vundla’s wish: a country where “basic education is not basic but has world best practice as a benchmark”

Professor Conrad Mueller and Peter Vundla

Peter Vundla

Doctor of Commerce for advertising industry leader


unguza Peter Vundla founded HerdBuoys, the first advertising, marketing and branding agency in South Africa to be owned and led by black people. It marked a turning point in the industry’s history. Under his leadership, advertising changed from merely reflecting the lives of South Africans at the time towards creating aspirations for ordinary people. He was Managing Director until 2000 and chaired HerdBuoys McCann-Erickson until 2005. First a marketing pioneer and now a veteran of business in several industries, he serves on the boards of numerous companies, trusts, industry associations and foundations. Vundla was born in Western Native Township, one of his parents’ 16 children. The family was relocated to Soweto under the Group Areas Act. He attended school in Soweto and the Eastern Cape, was excluded from the University of Fort Hare for an anti-apartheid protest, and

later earned a BA from Unisa. In 1971 he won a scholarship to study at Columbia University in New York. On his return to South Africa he joined the marketing industry – and prepared to shake it up. He was an account director at the advertising firm Ogilvy & Mather, Rightford, Searle-Tripp Makin before founding HerdBuoys, which merged with McCann-Erickson in 1997. Vundla is renowned for his ability to build relationships and is respected for his professionalism and entrepreneurial spirit. He is a public intellectual and an activist for social justice, empowering South Africans by changing the way they are seen and see themselves. In his autobiography, Doing Time, he speaks of achieving success through hard work, integrity, entrepreneurship and leading by example. The University recognised these attributes in its award of this honorary degree.

A 70yearold’s wish list At his honorary graduation ceremony, Peter Vundla spoke about the kind of world he would like new graduates to enter. His wish list began with appointments to the public sector being based on professionalism, skills and readiness to serve.



Beverly Rycroft

Image: Tatyana Levana

Image: Shawn Benjamin

Book Reviews

Michèle Betty

A Private Audience By Beverly Rycroft Dryad Press, 2017


n her latest collection of poems, Beverly Rycroft (BEd 1986, MEd 1988) revisits her difficult relationship with her father, her childhood in the Eastern Cape, thoughts on her country and the lifethreatening illness she’s had to confront. “I wrote myself to a place of love for my father where I can rest and laugh and grieve,” she says, adding Yeats’ words: “Out of the quarrel with ourselves we make poetry.” Although this process goes deeply and courageously into difficult places, it is not self-absorbed. Rycroft aims to strike a chord with readers experiencing similar things, such as the death of a parent. She says of her father, who died in 2008: “He was complex but never afraid to own up to that and to try to make it right.” Rycroft believes poetry connects people, regardless of time and identity. The rhythm and richness of Shakespeare, for instance,

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she says, resonates across cultures. The former teacher has seen poetry’s value in classrooms. “When you’re growing up, the world can be a challenging and cruel place. Poetry is a way to contain the confusion and see the beauty of the world. And as a teacher, you want your student to feel the ‘shock of the familiar’ – when they recognise and relate to something that’s expressed in a new way.” Rycroft’s first collection, Missing, won the Ingrid Jonker prize in 2012, and she has also published a novel, A Slim, Green Silence (Umuzi 2015). Dryad Press was started by another Wits graduate and poet, Michèle Betty (BA 1993, LLB 1995). Formerly a corporate lawyer, she now edits New Contrast: The South African Literary Journal. Betty’s debut poetry collection, Metaphysical Balm (2017), was shortlisted for the 2018 Ingrid Jonker prize.

How Many Ways Can You Say Hello? By Refiloe Moahloli

Penguin Random House, 2017


ow Many Ways Can You Say Hello? was a bestseller in 2017 and has changed the career path of Refiloe Moahloli (BCom 2009) for the second time. “I initially had a very clear plan of becoming a business analyst at a big firm,” she says wryly. In her final year of studying Information Systems, her exposure to marketing sent her in a new direction. “I received a bursary from Vodacom in my third year and ended up working there the following year. I am currently writing and marketing books part time. My hopes for the future include a very successful animation company,” she says of what now lies on the horizon. It was while she was on a work assignment in Mumbai that she decided to answer the writing urge. “Living and working in another country was one of the most challenging experiences of my life. It also highlighted the things that are most important to me. I realised that there would probably not be a better time to take a leap towards pursuing my dreams. It was incredibly inconvenient and even more difficult, but having spent two years

Image: Tshepo Leshomo

Refiloe Moahloli

away from home and completely out of my comfort zone, I was feeling a little brave. At least brave enough to give it a try.” How Many Ways Can You Say Hello? is the story of a girl who travels around South Africa in a hot air balloon, learning to greet people in their own languages. It’s illustrated by Anja Stoeckigt and comes with a CD to help with pronunciation. It’s been included in the Gauteng Department of Education’s books catalogue. Moahloli’s second book, Tullula, illustrated by Simon Mahlo, was included in Exclusive Books’ HomeBru campaign, which highlights the best in local literature. “In writing anything I think it’s important to learn the rules,” Moahloli says. “Storytelling is an art; people have been doing it for years, so it makes sense to learn from those who have done it before you. I did a writing course, and it was one of the best things I did for my career. It helps to structure your creativity. Writing for children has changed my life, as I am doing something I am absolutely certain I should be doing. There is indescribable joy and peace in that.” Moahloli also enjoys watching cricket and playing hockey – “it’s the fun balance I need when things start to get a little bit too serious at work.”



Book Reviews Mpumi’s Magic Beads By Lebohang Masango

Image: Themba Mbuyisa

David Philip Publishers, 2018

Lebohang Masango


arents and grandparents have a fresh source of delight in Mpumi’s Magic Beads. Social anthropology Master’s student Lebohang Masango (BA 2015, BA Hons 2016) has written and published a story especially for urban kids, making the city a place full of interest and adventure. It’s also a book about friendship and self-esteem. Young readers aged 5-10 can recognise themselves and Johannesburg in the book, which is illustrated by Masego Morulane. The author, who matriculated from the National School of the Arts, went on her own “fun and challenging” publishing journey before signing with David Philip Publishers. The book is expected to be published in all official South African

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languages and can be pre-ordered from orders@newafricabooks.co.za. Many parents worry about children’s addiction to screens. Masango advises: “Meet them where they are. They will see that the world is made up of images and words, whether they are on an iPad or in a book. We have to find a way to emphasise that reading is important to everyone who wants to excel, regardless of their path.” She is currently part of a team of Wits researchers, funded by Wellcome Trust, studying perceptions of sexuality in South Africa and how this influences the way people respond to sexual health interventions. It’s hoped the study will inform public health policy.

The Knock on the Door: The Story of the Detainees’ Parents Support Committee By Terry Shakinovsky and Sharon Cort Picador Africa, 2018


his book tells the story of how ordinary people stood up to the abuse of power when the apartheid state detained their activist family members. The Detainees’ Parents Support Committee (DPSC), formed in 1981, organised food, clothing and legal representation for detainees across the country, and supported the detainees’ families. The organisation gathered evidence of atrocities and lay some of the groundwork for South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In the foreword, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu writes: “It is not a story of the past, but a story of the noblest part of ourselves.” The book draws on material lodged with the Historical Papers Archive at Wits. The DPSC united people of all backgrounds, politically active and otherwise, all over the country. The first meetings were held at Wits after students had been detained by the security police. The organisation shared information about legal rights, generated publicity and helped families to understand what to expect from the Security Branch, which tried to create mistrust and fear, and which was known to be mistreating detainees. When some families’ own friends withdrew their support, the DPSC was there for them. When attempts to negotiate with the government to release detainees came to nothing, the DPSC used the media, and became known for its reliability as a source of information. It was one of the 565 diverse organisations that formed the United Democratic Front, launched in 1983 to oppose apartheid. With greater exposure and nationwide linkages came greater demands and challenges. In just three weeks of the second State of Emergency (in 1986), more than 10 000 people were detained. In five months, 8000 children were detained and some were tortured. Publishing their

names, calling for their release and even showing tokens of solidarity were illegal. The book builds up the picture of these times of mounting repression through personal recollections and statements. It shows how doctors, lawyers, counsellors and others contributed to finding ways of responding to and challenging the state’s assault on human rights. It is not easy to be reminded of this time or to read some of the appalling details. But there will always be a need for an active civil society. People are still living with the aftermath of the violence they suffered then. Keith Coleman (BA 1981, BA Hons 1983, MBA 1991), whose parents Max and Audrey Coleman were founders of the DPSC when he was detained in 1981, says: “This book tells an important story about how people can make a difference. About how a small band of determined people stood up to the might of a security state – and won. For me, it is also a personal story: about how my family banded around me when I was detained and stood up and fought for my release. Then, when they achieved that, carried on fighting for the release of others. I have nothing but great admiration for my parents and all those who fought with them for the freedom of others.” Co-author Terry Shakinovsky (BA Social Work Hons 1982, BA 1983, BA Hons 1984) is a former United Democratic Front activist who works as a writer and is the publications coordinator at the Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection in Johannesburg. Sharon Cort (BA 1978, PDipEd 1979) has worked as a researcher, curator and writer for museums and heritage sites. Lauren Segal (BA Ed 1988, BA Hons 1990) was also part of the team on this book project.



Book Reviews Yes, Really! A Life By Kate Turkington Tafelberg, 2018

S Robert Mugabe By Martin Plaut and Sue Onslow Ohio University Press, 2018


artin Plaut (BA Hons 1977), Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies at the University of London, has published a biography of Zimbabwe’s former president. Intended for a general readership, Robert Mugabe is part of the Ohio Short Histories of Africa series. The book covers Mugabe’s childhood influences as well as the experiences that shaped him as a young man who would become a fighter against white settler rule. It extends to examining his 37 years in power until 2017. “Western misunderstanding of the importance of political cultures and structures of power in Zimbabwe has oversimplified the picture. As a man and a leader, Mugabe proved a deeply complex and contradictory individual,” the authors write of a man who continues to be both revered and demonised.

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ome might call it oversharing – the first line of this book will clear the room of certain readers. Even so, this memoir leaves a lot out, as it must when a long life has been so packed with adventure, interesting people and personal challenges. But Kate Turkington (MA 1976) shares because she’s a teacher, and her lessons include this one: “you don’t have to be oppressed”. Many Wits alumni will have been taught English literature or television production by Turkington the academic. Many more know her from her travel writing, book reviewing, broadcasting (including the radio talk show Believe It Or Not) and media training. She’s the author of 12 books, including textbooks and others that are “part autobiographical, part travelogue, part spiritual journey”. “Well-travelled” doesn’t begin to describe her. She took her first journey at the age of four when she was evacuated from wartime London. She travelled solo to France as a teenager, moved to Nigeria as a newlywed aged 21, and hasn’t stopped exploring the world since. The book is a life story interspersed with descriptions of places she’s been to and reflections on what matters most to her. Though she’s a confident, self-accepting person who doesn’t dwell on what she might have done differently, she also bares her vulnerability and some deep hurts. “Life is not one continuous planned journey from cradle to grave, planned by you or by some obscure divinity, and that, in my mind, is how it should be,” she writes. “It should be a series of adventures, of taking risks, of the possibility of everything or anything happening. My advice is: don’t stay stuck in the past, cherish the present, and don’t allow yourself to get locked into a carefully planned future.”

Knucklebone By NR Brodie

Image: Sarah de Pina

Pan Macmillan, 2018


hen driving along Beyers Naude, do you ever get the feeling there’s a tokoloshe following you? The author of The Joburg Book, Nechama Brodie (BADA 2000), has taken a turn down some of the city’s darker streets into thriller fiction. Knucklebone is the story of a former cop, now Wits political studies Master’s student, Ian Jack, and his former colleague, Captain Reshma Patel. While investigating a housebreaking they uncover links to animal poaching, magic and the spirit world. It’s about a “fight against evil in a supernatural sense”, says Brodie. Short chapters and plenty of dialogue propel the action along, over suburban walls, through warehouses, township yards and hospital wards, to the botanical gardens, the zoo and the Wits library, along the blood vessels of the Internet, out to the East Rand plots and up the Northcliff ridge. Good witches and spiritual healers join forces to combat the forces unleashed by greed. As a journalism PhD candidate and professional fact-checker, Brodie researched her subject and got people to offer their critiques of what she’d written, in her effort

Nechama Brodie

to avoid stereotypes and mistakes. But she says her interest in magic, superstition, sci-fi, fantasy and myths came before her career in fact-checking. “I can’t prove magic exists, but I believe that it might. And I like the fact that magic and even faith allow for those non-empirical possibilities.” Readers should put aside their own prejudices and remember that, as Brodie says, “writing allows you to inhabit lots of different headspaces” and that “fiction plays an important role in making us occasionally look at things differently; it’s a way of exploring why we behave the way we do”. Notwithstanding its respectful approach to people’s beliefs and experiences, the novel doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s plenty for readers to think about if they choose to, though. The character of Ian is a student and ex-cop because Brodie wanted him to know violence but to break the cycle by understanding it. “Also I think everyone should be a student. Of something. We never run out of things to learn.” She has worked as a journalist for 20 years and has published several nonfiction works, including former prosecutor Glynnis Breytenbach’s memoir, Rule of Law.



Book Reviews The Sculpture of Laurence Anthony Chait: An Autobiographical Journey By Laurence Anthony Chait

Printed by Jetline, Johannesburg, 2017

Image: Ufrieda Ho


Laurence Chait

Reconciliation, Wits Medical School

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lastic surgeon Professor Laurence Chait (MBBCh 1968) has published a book about his life and his art, which he started exploring seriously while at medical school. His work includes famous sculptures of Jock of the Bushveld and Max the Gorilla (both located at the Johannesburg Zoo), as well as busts of Witsies such as Dr AJ Orenstein, Dr Cyril Adler, Esther Adler, Professor Bert Myburgh and Professor Phillip Tobias. He also created a sculpture for the Faculty of Health Sciences that expresses the pain and shame of the apartheid era and the hope for reconciliation. (See WITSReview April 2012 for more about Wits sculpture.) Reviewer and historian Kathy Munro wrote: “It is interesting to read of the Chait family’s background. His father Benjamin was a doctor who worked at the Zonderwater prisoner of war camp near Cullinan during the Second World War. Zonderwater opened in 1941 and by the end of 1943 held 63000 prisoners of war. One Italian artist inmate was Eduardo Villa, who later made his career as a prominent and successful artist in South Africa.” She also found the chapter on the casting of bronze works at the Renzo Vignali Foundry in Pretoria North particularly useful as it documents how a bronze is made and what part this foundry has played in South African art. “It is a fine tribute to the Gamberini family, Luigi, Carlo and Lorenzo. The Gamberini grandfather was brought to South Africa in the mid-1930s to cast the bronze wagons made for the Voortrekker Monument. The son, Luigi, returned to a Florence foundry to learn his trade and so came to be conscripted into the Italian Army and by strange fate ended his war as an internee at Zonderwater not far from his own home.” For more about Prof Chait and his book, see the Alumni Relations website news section. To enquire about the book, please call +27 11 484-3703.

Healthy Outrage: A Lucky Life in Community Health and Politics By Trudy Thomas Franz Krüger, 2017

Trudy Thomas


r Trudy Thomas (MBBCh 1958) writes in the introduction to this memoir that it is “a story of South Africa seen through the many windows that were opened for me, the things that happened to me, the people I met along on the way.” In it, she also reflects on what she felt went wrong in the country after the euphoria and high hopes of 1994. Thomas was born in 1936 to a workingclass family on the conservative West Rand. She enrolled at Wits in 1953, one of only two female medical students in her class, and eventually married a classmate, Ian Harris (MBBCh 1958). They did their housemanship at Baragwanath Hospital: a rough but rewarding apprenticeship. “When I think back on it, I am flooded with pride and pleasure,” she writes. However, it was also in these years that she started to awaken to the reality of life for black urban South Africans under apartheid. The couple decided to work in a mission hospital and spent 13 years at St Matthews in what became the Ciskei “homeland”. There they dealt every day with the terrible consequences of the Bantustan policy. In 1974 the couple moved to East London to be closer to schools for their children. Thomas worked at Frere Hospital and later headed the community health department at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital. She also became a health and civic activist and anti-conscription campaigner. When democracy finally came, she was appointed Eastern Cape Health MEC and played an important role in building the provincial department out of the

“homeland” and Cape administrations. She writes about “polmentation” – her word for “implementation to make policy work”. But then policies changed and the health budget became a “klipsop, stone soup” budget, then a “nyamezela, endurance” budget, and eventually in 2000 she resigned from the legislature. “I could no longer be part of this charade.” The book continues with chapters about her life after politics, when she involved herself once more in community activities and writing. It concludes: “For the time that we have consciousness, there can be no greater gift than that of living a useful life.” Dr Trudy Thomas died in June 2018, aged 82. She received the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights in 1996, and an honorary doctorate from Rhodes University in 2003. She was divorced, and leaves four children and six grandchildren. The book is available from Professor Franz Krüger: healthyoutrage@gmail.com




Image: © flickr/GovernmentZA

Wits University fondly remembers those who have passed away

Winnie Madikizela-Mandela (1936-2018)


o other woman occupies the place that Winnie MadikizelaMandela does in South African politics. A stalwart of the African National Congress (ANC), she nevertheless stands above, and at times outside, the party. Her iconic status transcends political parties and geographical boundaries, generations and genders. Her life was overburdened by tragedies and dramas, and by the expectations of a world hungry for godlike heroes on whom to pin all its dreams, and one-dimensional villains on whom to pour its rage. Yet perhaps it is in the smaller and more intimate stories of our stumbling to make a better world that we are best able to recognise and appreciate the meaning of the life of Madikizela-Mandela. In her particular life, we may see more clearly the violence wrought by colonialism and apartheid, the profound

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consequences of fraternal political movements to whom women were primarily ornamental and, yes, the tragic mistakes made in the crucible of civil war. Nomzamo Winifred Madikizela was born in a rural Eastern Cape village called Bizana in 1936. Her parents, Columbus Madikizela and Nomathamsanqa Mzaidume (Gertrude), were teachers and her childhood was marked by the stern Methodism of her mother and the radical Africanist orientation of her father. Rural life, with its entrenched gender roles, shaped her childhood. It also made her aware of land dispossession as a central question of freedom. By her own account, she learnt about the racialised system of power early in her life. She completed school in the Eastern Cape and in 1953 moved to Johannesburg to study

at the Jan Hofmeyr School of Social Work. Once qualified, she was employed at Baragwanath Hospital – the first qualified black social worker there. Winnie Madikizela married Nelson Mandela in 1958. After six short years together, he was sentenced to life imprisonment. By this stage, she too was inextricably involved in the national liberation movement – more as an empathic leader than a theorist or tactician. Her mode of work was not that of painstaking organisationbuilding; she was more capable as a public speaker and as someone who could connect with people in the harsh conditions of life in apartheid’s townships. She offered a form of intimate political leadership, instinctively aligning herself with people in distress. She was fearless in the face of the state’s attempts to silence her. Her home was repeatedly

Sources: Shireen Hassim, The Conversation; Vashna Jagarnath; SAHistory.org

Clive Ulyate (1933-2018)


live Ulyate, who has died aged 84, was not the greatest Springbok rugby flyhalf – he played only seven tests – but he might have been the most gifted. And his selection for the national team in 1955, while still a student at Wits, remains one of the most romantic in the game. A precocious sportsman at St John’s and Hilton colleges, Ulyate first played provincial rugby as a 19-year-old undergraduate, selected by Transvaal in 1953 against Western Province in Cape Town. It rained on the day and Transvaal’s wise scrumhalf, Fonnie du Toit, a veteran of the Springboks’ 4-0 annihilation of the All Blacks in 1949, told his rookie backline, who included Ulyate and fellow Wits student Wilf Rosenberg, he would give them the ball in the muddy conditions only when he was certain they would not be sitting ducks for the WP’s loose forwards, especially Hennie Muller, known as “Die Windhond”. Deep into the match Du Toit finally passed to Ulyate, who sent the ball to Rosenberg, but was then late-tackled and had his face shoved into the mud. Ulyate looked up at his tackler, the inevitable Muller, who briefly apologised – “Sorry, ou Clive” – before chasing after Rosenberg. Many years later, Ulyate recalled the incident. “I wasn’t surprised

Image: Archie Henderson

invaded and searched, and she was arrested, assaulted, imprisoned and banished. But although the state did not break Winnie, by her own account it did brutalise her. Talking about her long period of solitary confinement and torture in 1969, she told a journalist that it “did actually change me … I then believed in the language of violence”. This period in her life, and in South African politics generally, is one that will not only occupy our moral energies, but also shape the ways in which narratives of violence in the 1980s are written. The exaggerated quality of Madikizela-Mandela’s life had to bear, too, the nightmares of our nation’s struggles to free itself. The ANC could barely contain the nature of leadership that Madikizela-Mandela represented. Stepping outside the official party line was a form of asserting her independence. It also allowed her to build alliances with the new voices emerging after 1994. It accounts for the affection for her among young activists who are equally wary of the sedimented power structures in politics. To present her simply as wife, mostly as mother, is to erase the many struggles she waged to be defined in her own terms. • Nomzamo Winifred MadikizelaMandela graduated from Wits with a BA in 2005. This obituary first appeared on The Conversation in a longer form.

Clive Ulyate

by the late tackle,” he said. “I was surprised he knew my name.” In 1955 Ulyate became a household name. He was unexpectedly picked to be the Springbok flyhalf against the formidable British and Irish Lions. In the week of the trials, he had been focused on another ball game – his favourite, he said – across the street from campus when he was summoned to fill in for an injured triallist. He first used up his shilling on the pinball machine before responding to the nation’s call. In 1983 Ulyate coached a rugby team made up of Afrikaner and Xhosa miners from the Free State on a tour of the US. A scratch golfer and a first-class cricketer for Transvaal and Eastern Province, he taught at Kingswood College in Grahamstown, then worked at Potchefstroom University and for Anglo American in Welkom, where he died. His wife Sally predeceased him by 10 years. Source: Archie Henderson




Photograph by David Goldblatt Going home: MarabastadWaterval route: for most of the people in this bus, the cycle will start again tomorrow at between 2 and 3 am,1984

David Goldblatt (1930-2018)


David 2, by Heather Gourlay-Conyngham (Courtesy of Sanlam Art Collection)

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avid Goldblatt (BCom 1957, DLitt honoris causa 2008) was one of South Africa’s most influential photographers. His work focused on South African society, with all its divisions, inequalities and arresting juxtapositions. He was born in Randfontein and, after matriculating at Krugersdorp High School, worked in his father’s men’s clothing store while studying part-time at Wits. “I found university extremely valuable,” he said. “It wasn’t simply the content of the courses. It was the demand made on one to think and express oneself coherently and in a reasonably directed sort of way.” After his father died in 1962, Goldblatt sold the store and

started working full time as a professional photographer. He took on corporate and media assignments but was personally most interested in social commentary through portraiture, landscapes, public art and other images that captured the times. In 1989, he founded the Market Photography Workshop, which has trained hundreds of disadvantaged photographers. He was generous and honest with other photographers. His many awards included the most prestigious photography prize in the world, the Hasselblad Photography Award (2006), and he was represented in galleries around the world. The honorary

Keith Kaye (1942-2018)

J Photograph by David Goldblatt Seated in Martjie Marais’s kitchen: her husband’s brother, Johannes, and her nephew Derick. Gamkaskloof, Cape Province (Western Cape), 1967

degree which Wits conferred on him recognised that “every aspect of his exemplary career has been associated with artistic excellence and innovation: in the manner of his social commentary; in his composition and darkroom technique; in his attention to the aesthetic qualities of the print; in his complex use of metaphors, landscape and architecture reference; and in the use of accompanying text.” For a major exhibition in 2015, The Pursuit of Values, the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg described him as “a critic of exploitative labour practices, a powerful documenter of systemic poverty and structural inequality” and “a protestor against censorship and limitations on freedom of speech”. Goodman Gallery owner Liza Essers and Josh Ginsburg produced a documentary film, Goldblatt, in which he is recorded

as saying: “I am particularly interested in values. The values that we hold and how we express those values. These to me are the vital questions. My work was political … but … I gradually realised that events themselves were to me much less interesting than the conditions that led to the events. I was looking obliquely at things. In my opinion a photographer is responsible for critically observing. If we want to preserve the values for which there was this great struggle, we have to be very vigilant. And the price of liberty is vigilance.” A digital archive of his work will be created in South Africa and made available to the public for free. His negatives have been given to Yale University Art Gallery. Goldblatt leaves his wife, Lily, and children Steven, Brenda and Ronnie. ;lxhzC: Sources: SA History Online; Wits University; Standard Bank Gallery; Goodman Gallery

ust months before his death from cancer, Dr Keith Kaye (BSc 1964, BSc Hons 1965, MBBCh 1967) published the Wits MBBCh Class of 1967 50th anniversary yearbook. “How grateful I am that he had the foresight and energy,” said classmate Gladwyn Leiman. In the class yearbook, Dr Kaye wrote that he felt he’d been born lucky. He specialised in urology at Wits and then moved to the US in 1979. He published the first textbook on outpatient urologic surgery and developed an interest in prostate ultrasound, brachytherapy and prostate cancer. In 1993 he took up the new post of Professor of Urology at the University of Western Australia. He later returned to the USA and retired to Florida and Minneapolis. He and his wife Valda (Goldberg) (MBBCh 1972) travelled to Belize regularly as medical volunteers. He was an adventurous traveller and enjoyed kayaking, water-skiing, sailing, running and driving his 1911 Model T. He also raised funds to restore the Jewish cemetery in Panevezys, Lithuania. He died at home in Sarasota, Florida, leaving Valda and their three daughters. Sources: Prof John Gear; Prof Gladwyn Leiman; Class of ’67 Yearbook



Obituaries Dan Robinson

Lionel Miles




aniel Hilyard “Hagar” Robinson (BArch 1950) was still rowing in regattas in his 80s. “Most of your rowing men are useless at ball games,” he told Wits Review in December 2015, “and rowing is a sport you do sitting down, so you can do it all your life.” After graduating, he and other ex-Wits University Boat Club members started the Viking Rowing Club – and kept at it for the next 70-odd years. He was a great and longstanding supporter of the WUBC and of University Rowing in general. It was only one of the varied activities he enjoyed over his long life, which started at the old Hills House hostel of King Edward VII School (KES), where his father Frank G Robinson was the housemaster and then headmaster. Playing the Great Highland Bagpipe was another great passion. He played right up until a few months before his death. Robinson served in North Africa and Italy in World War II, and for decades collected military uniforms, artefacts, books and other records. He was able to lay his hand on a source or authority, within minutes, to back up his recollections of incidents and

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stories recorded by a very wide range of authors. Some of his meticulously painted lead soldiers and pipers are on display at the museum at KES. He also made an accurate model of the HMS Swiftsure, the ship which a Robinson forebear had captained in 1804. His father had served in World War I. His work as an architect included houses for the rich and famous, office buildings such as SA Breweries’ across Jan Smuts Avenue from Wits, and buildings such as the DJ du Plessis Centre on the West Campus of the University. Though he had been sent to Hilton College when his father died, Robinson remained devoted to KES and attended every Service of Remembrance there from the end of WWII until 2017. Likeable, considerate, full of humour and gusto, he was a scholar and a gentleman who fulfilled the KES cenotaph exhortation: “Sons of this place, let this of you be said, that you who live are worthy of your dead.” He leaves his wife Moyra (who studied Quantity Surveying at Wits), daughters Lucy and Sally, stepsons Craig and Dudley Levieux (both Witsies) and their families. Source: Alan Munro


r Lionel Palmer Miles (BDS 1951) was born in Molteno in the Eastern Cape. His education began in a one-roomed farm school and he matriculated from Queen’s College in Queenstown. He enrolled at Wits at the age of 16, qualified as a dentist and then opened a practice in Worcester. After working in the United Kingdom in the early 1960s, he returned to South Africa with his wife Marion (a Canadian nurse) and became the first maxillofacial surgery specialist at Groote Schuur Hospital. He joined the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of the Western Cape in 1983 and became Dean in 1987. His obituary in the South African Medical Journal says: “A deeply religious person, Lionel believed in fairness, justice and equality for all, and showed a deep compassion for humanity. … Lionel, in his inimitable way, worked with his quiet diplomacy and was able to transcend the many political, cultural and social barriers that were suffocating the university and teaching hospitals at that time.” He is also remembered for his deep love for music and his desire to use his musical talents in the service of his faith. He is survived by his wife, children Jane and Gordon, and grandchildren. Source: Peter Gordon, South African Medical Journal

Basil Cooke (1915-2018)


Basil Cooke

Ronald Anderson (1931-2018)


onald George Anderson (BA 1952) was a former news editor and deputy editor-inchief of The Star newspaper in Johannesburg. He attended St John’s College and, after graduating from Wits, started work at the South African Press Association. He moved to The Star in 1960 and one of the highlights of his time there was covering the Rivonia Trial. Colleagues remember him as having upheld high standards of professional work and ethics. He retired in 1994 and enjoyed hiking, trout fishing, golf, woodwork and painting. Source: Winnie Graham, The Star

erbert Basil Sutton Cooke, a geoscientist of international repute, passed away peacefully on 3 May at 102 years of age. He was the last surviving member of a group of pioneering African palaeontologists that included Robert Broom, Raymond Dart, John Robinson and Phillip Tobias in South Africa, as well as Louis Leakey in East Africa. Educated at King Edward VII School in Johannesburg, Cambridge University and Wits (MSc 1940, DSc 1947), he taught Geology at Wits from 1938 to 1947. From 1941 to 1945 he was also a Captain in the South African Air Force, serving as observer and meteorologist in South Africa, North Africa and Italy. In 1953, following a stint as a private consulting geologist, he returned to Wits. Between 1958 and 1961 he held the title of Reader in Stratigraphic Geology and was responsible for the administration of the Geology Department and the organisation of research. In 1961 he moved to Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, where he was professor of Geology at Dalhousie University. He retired in 1981 and, with his wife Dorette, moved to White Rock, British Columbia. Though his formal education was as a geologist, academic communities knew him best as one of the pioneering African palaeontologists. He took a keen

interest in hominid evolution and played a significant role in understanding the geology of the Sterkfontein Caves site (Maropeng), rich in hominid and animal fossils. His personal speciality was with Quaternary Geology and he made notable contributions in papers on the alluvial terraces of the lower Vaal River, famous for the Stone Age artefacts and vertebrate fossils revealed in pits excavated by diamond diggers. He also made major research contributions working on fossil African pigs. His many publications included a university text book (Geology for South African Students: An lntroductory Textbook) and, with Vincent Maglio, a benchmark volume (Evolution of African Mammals). He was a regular broadcaster of scientific talks and from time to time took part in a popular SABC radio programme, Test The Team, on Springbok Radio. This year he celebrated the 68th anniversary of his election to Fellowship of the Royal Society of South Africa, of which he was subsequently made a Life Fellow. He was honoured by several societies and associations, and Wits conferred an honorary DSc degree on him in 1998. Professor Cooke leaves his sons Christopher and Patrick and three grandsons. Source: Carl Anhauesser, Geobulletin of the Geological Society of South Africa



Obituaries Rachel Saunders





ne of South Africa’s business titans, Mike Rosholt, died in February at the age of 97. He was the former CEO and then Chairman of Barlow Rand and Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand from 1983 to 1997. Rosholt retired from Barlows in January 1991, but continued to work for social change as chairman of the National Business Initiative, the Joint Education Trust and the Claude Leon Foundation, among others. He is remembered as a pioneer of non-racialism in the workplace. In recognition of this contribution, he was awarded the Order of the Baobab (Silver) in 2009. Mike Rosholt lived a long, rich and colourful life. Born in Johannesburg, he spent his early years in Beira, Mozambique, where his father was a ship’s agent. There being no schools in Beira in the 1920s, he was sent at the age of seven to Parktown School (PTS) as a boarder, travelling by sea and train with his tickets on a string around his neck. From PTS, he went on to Michaelhouse, where he excelled academically and in sports. From school he was articled to what would become Cooper Brothers, but joined up when war broke out, in the 2nd Field Regiment of the SA Artillery. He was wounded in the Libyan desert and captured by Field Marshall Erwin Rommel himself.

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Painting: William Ashton

Mike Rosholt

Mike Rosholt

During his time as a POW, many lifelong friendships were formed, and his studies towards his CA continued, tutored by men who would later become his colleagues and mentors in the profession. Mike came out top student in South Africa in his final exams. He joined Goldby, Panchaud & Webber, eventually becoming senior partner. In 1963 he became an executive director of Thomas Barlow & Sons. He married Beatrice Ash and they had three sons. Bea died in 2010. During his long career, Mike sat on the boards of, among others, SA Breweries, Standard Bank, the Old Mutual and ASA Ltd. He was chair of the Urban Foundation, the Michaelhouse Trust, the IDT, the SA Foundation, the Stellenbosch Community Development Programme and many other bodies. Mike’s life and career was an example of integrity, decency, modesty and compassion. He received an honorary LLD degree from Wits in 1996. Source: Alec Hogg, Biznews

r Rachel Saunders (née Politzer) (BSc 1975, BSc Hons 1975, PhD 1982) majored in chemistry and botany at Wits. She and her horticulturist husband Rod ran a professional indigenous seed merchant business, Silverhill Seeds. Travelling throughout Southern Africa, they collected and procured a vast range of plant seed. The company’s large catalogue speaks of their collecting dedication and depth of knowledge. Seed was sold to plant enthusiasts, collectors, breeders and commercial businesses worldwide. Rod and Rachel were also enthusiastic mountaineers and hill walkers, an activity that took them to remote parts. Often these trips would yield new plant discoveries and uncover the rarest of species. In the last few years both were dedicated to a project to locate and image all known Gladioli species in Southern Africa. They were visiting the Ngoye forest reserve in northern KwaZulu-Natal when they were abducted and murdered. They touched many people’s lives with their kind, generous natures. Their contribution to the botanical and horticultural world is and will be missed greatly. Source: Dr Andrew Hackland; Margie Owen-Smith

Philip Hare (1933-2018)


hilip Joseph Hare (BCom 1954 LLB 1959) was born in Parys to Shimon Mendel and Rochel Hare, immigrants from Lithuania and general store owners. After graduation from Wits he joined the Johannesburg Bar. In this early stage of his law career, he defended several members of the African National Congress. In the “Little Rivonia” trial he saved Mac Maharaj from the death penalty; Maharaj later served as Minister of Transport under the presidency of Nelson Mandela. Hare also conducted many other high-profile criminal and civil trials. In 1960 he married Isadora

Finn (BA 1958, MA 1974), who was on the staff of the School of Social Work at Wits from 1966 to 1974. The couple moved to the United States, where Hare was required to begin his legal career anew. He started as an adjunct professor at Catholic University Law School and later joined the firm of Baskin & Sears, practising immigration law. While at Baskin & Sears, he advised the government of South Africa to commute the death sentences of the “Sharpeville Six”, who were later released. Hare later set up his own law firm, and continued

to represent the government of South Africa through the transition to democracy. He helped the Mandela government unravel some of the vestiges of apartheid in the United States. Hare was the consummate family man throughout his 58-year marriage and a strong believer in his Jewish faith and traditions. He was a talented chef and a lover of music, literature, sports, and a good political debate. He is survived by Isadora, their children Joshua Hare, Melissa Landa, Neil Hare and Rachel Bork, and nine grandchildren.

university and becoming a member of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He started his practice midway through university and built up a client base so quickly he debated whether he needed to qualify. But he always saw things through. His pride and joy was to be a five-storey office block called Corporate Place that he put up as his own development on Fredman Drive in Sandton. His firm had various partners over the years. He was also involved in the design of a centre for children in Mathibestad near Hammanskraal, served on the board of Alexandra Motswedi skills training centre,

and was a member of the Pat Francis Trust in Canada. He received the Rotary Club’s Paul Harris Award for his outstanding service and humanitarian work. He officially retired in 2012 at the age of 84 but continued doing pro bono work and mentoring young architects. His mindset was that “old is for old people” and he didn’t consider himself one of those. As well as music, cars and fine dining, he enjoyed his golf and tennis. Leslie leaves his children Ashley, Lesley and Michael and their families.

Source: Isadora Finn Hare

Leslie du Toit (1928-2018)


eslie John du Toit (BArch 1955) started life in a humble home in Rosettenville. He was gifted musically, taught himself the piano and played in a band with his brother Charles. He loved Big Band and jazz, and was always a keen concert-goer. At the age of 19 he met Carla Langness and they married after five years of courtship – a happy union that was to last almost 64 years, until her death last year. His work was more of a hobby to him than a job. He loved being an architect, a dream he had had as a young boy and which he fulfilled by putting himself through

Source: Michael du Toit



Obituaries Gerald Nestadt (1921-2018)


erald Nestadt (BA 1940) died at home in Benoni (where he was born and grew up) on 1 March, aged 96. He was the elder brother of Allan (who died a few months earlier; see WITSReview April 2018) and Stanley (whom he survived by a matter of weeks). Gerald matriculated from KES, where he was a boarder. One of his majors in his BA was the then available course of Ethics. Perhaps influenced by its moral precepts, his was a principled life. On completion of his degree, he enlisted in the SAAF, in which he served as a technical instructor, attaining the rank of lieutenant. His discharge in 1945 saw the commencement

of his successful career in the corporate world, during the course of which he served as a director of numerous private and listed public companies. His wife, Selma Tolkin, to whom he was married for 52 years, predeceased him. They were justifiably proud of their two sons, Larry and Jonathon, and their daughter Barbara Garber. He also leaves numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He and Selma travelled extensively. He had a passion for cars and was a single handicap golfer. Extremely philanthropic, he commanded respect and admiration. He aged with elegance and stoicism, and was dapper until the end.

Stanley Nestadt (1924-2018)


n 1942, Stanley Nestadt, having, with his identical twin brother, Allan, matriculated at Benoni High, registered as a part-time accountancy student at Wits. However, his studies were interrupted by his enlisting in the SAAF. He served in Bulawayo in the meteorological section. After the war, he continued his chosen career and qualified as a CA(SA) in 1948, having excelled as a student. But he opted not to stay in the profession. Instead he used his entrepreneurial skills to pursue over the years numerous

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successful business ventures. In 1988 he, with his wife, the former Natalie Tucker (they were married in 1949) emigrated to the US and made their home in San Diego. He lived there in retirement until, after a short illness, his death on 17 January, aged 93. He is survived by Natalie, five married daughters and their families. At school he was a good athlete; later in life, a keen golfer. Devoted to his family, he had a steadfast integrity. He was a quality person who had the affection of all who knew him.

Errol Tyobeka

Errol Tyobeka (1953-2018)


r Errol Mandla Tyobeka (PhD 1983) was educated at schools in KwaZulu-Natal and was the first black candidate in South Africa to obtain an MSc and PhD in Biochemistry. He worked at the University of Fort Hare, Wits and the University of the North, where he headed the Biochemistry Department and became Deputy Dean of the Mathematics and Natural Sciences Faculty. He received a number of prestigious scholarships, research grants and awards, including the 1981 Mellor Prize for Research from Wits. He was Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the Tshwane University of Technology from 2005 to 2010 and more recently Special Adviser to the Vice-Chancellor at the Namibia University of Science and Technology. His experience made him a valued member of the National Research Foundation Board from 2011. He leaves his wife Palesa Tyobeka, son Silumko and daughter Anathi. Source: National Research Foundation

Desmond Cole

William Eplett





rofessor Emeritus Desmond Thorne Cole (BA 1949, BA Hons 1950, MA 1952, DLitt honoris causa 1988) had a long and remarkable life of diverse achievements. He was the oldest of six children whose parents kept a store and traded cattle in the Bechuanaland Protectorate. His first language was Setswana and he was schooled at home and then at Christian Brothers College in Kimberley. After matriculating aged 16, he lied about his age so that he could join up for World War II, and was sent to North Africa to rebuild damaged infrastructure. He was in charge of a team of black volunteers because of his ability to converse in African languages. After six years, he was able to enrol at Wits on General Smuts’ grant for ex-servicemen. He studied the Bantu language family and was appointed as a full-time lecturer in 1949. His MA thesis was published as An Introduction to Tswana Grammar. By 1954 he was the youngest professor at Wits, aged 31. In the late 1950s and 1960s he visited the USA to lecture in comparative African language studies. From 1971 to 1973 Prof Cole served as Dean of the Faculty of Arts and over the years he acted as head of several departments and served on Senate and Council. He was director of the Wits University Press and published the Journal of Bantu

Desmond Cole

Studies (later African Studies) and the Bantu Treasury Series (fiction and nonfiction books in African languages). For his service to the University, he was awarded an honorary degree. His students and colleagues included Tony Traill, who would become a professor of linguistics at Wits and expert in Khoisan languages; the musician Mzilikazi James Khumalo, who succeeded Prof Cole as Head of African Languages; and PAC leader Robert Sobukwe. He and his wife Naureen became self-taught world authorities on lithops, the stonelike plants found in arid parts of southern Africe, and published Lithops – Flowering Stones. Prof Cole retired in 1982 and published a book on Setswana words for animals and plants in 1995. Many of these words and names had been forgotten by Setswana speakers. In 2012, with Lally MonchoWarren, the Coles produced a comprehensive and innovative Setswana and English Illustrated Dictionary. Like all his work, it is a testament to his studious, meticulous approach to ordering knowledge, and to his respectful collaboration with other people.

its benefactor and academic statistician Dr William John Rowland Eplett (BSc 1975, BSc Hons 1977, PhD 1978) passed away in the UK on 14 November 2017, a few months after the death of his wife, Adele. His PhD in Applied Mathematics at Wits, awarded just one year after his Honours degree, was entitled “Contributions to the Theory of Two-Sample Rank Tests”. From 1978 to 1980 he was a lecturer in the Department of Mathematical Statistics at the University of Birmingham. He was a Fellow and Tutor in Mathematical Statistics at Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford from 1980 to 1985. In addition to his teaching and research work there, he helped with admissions and pastoral care for the students. He left Oxford to take up a position in the USA. Dr Eplett published extensively. At the time of his death, he was retired. Source: Dr Gabrielle Stoy; Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford; Dr David Stirzaker

Professor Cole died in May after a short illness. He leaves Naureen and his son Des, who lives in Australia. Sources: Naureen Cole; Des Cole Jnr; Kevin Wakely-Smith; Lally Moncho-Warren; David Crawford; Noel Garson; Eleanor-Mary Cadell



Obituaries Laurence Bam (1944-2018)


arl Laurence Bam (BA 1966, BA Hons 1981, MA 1993), or simply Bam as he was known to nearly everyone who knew him, died after a long struggle with failing health. One of the first things for which he will be remembered was his loyalty to old friends. It says a great deal about his relationships that many of his friendships went back over 60 years. His consistency, integrity, lack of pretension and sardonic humour were valued by all who knew him. Bam was a powerful presence, larger than life. He was always prepared to challenge accepted authority, whether it was intellectual, moral or bureaucratic. This sometimes brought him into direct conflict with the world. But whatever the outcome, he never compromised his integrity. He

had a capacity to cut through anything that sought to mystify, muddy or confuse, and get to the heart of an issue. Bam saw himself first and foremost as a teacher. He devoted the years he spent in the English department at JCE to enthusing his students with his reverence for the critical role of language in education. Without accumulating the usual academic plaudits, he was one of South Africa’s foremost researchers in applied linguistics. Material rewards meant little to him. His rewards were to be found in the disinterested pursuit of knowledge and imbuing young lives with intellectual curiosity. The huge impact he had is borne out by messages paying tribute to him from former Bryanston High pupils. The following give a flavour of the

Laurence Bam

regard in which he was held as a mentor and teacher: “Very occasionally someone comes into and through our lives and influences us so greatly, and so positively, that they are never forgotten. Laurence was one such man.” “Thank God for the greatest teacher ever. Inspirational and dedicated to his vocation. He taught me the beauty of the English language as well as how to stand up for myself with dignity and not to give in to bullies.” He leaves his wife Heather, daughters Billy and George, and granddaughter Carly. Source: Michael Rice

Liz Chase (1950-2018)


lizabeth Muriel (Liz) Chase was a Johannesburg College of Education and Wits staff member from 1983 until her retirement in July 2015. She was a member of the Zimbabwean hockey team that won the country’s first gold medal at the Olympic Games, in 1980 in Moscow, and had also played for Wits and Southern Transvaal. She joined Wits in 2000 when the JCE merged with the

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University. One of her legacies as a sports administrator at Wits is the hockey turf that was opened in 2014, for which she helped raise funds. It has made a great difference to the sport locally; the World Hockey League semi-finals were hosted at this facility in 2017. She also organised the USSA squash tournament in 2015 despite her illness. She has been described as “great fun to be with,

a larger than life character, helpful, kind, passionate, professional and respectful”. In addition to her skills as a player, she contributed stability, continuity, mentorship and guidance to students on the field and in the lecture hall. Liz is survived by her partner, Clare Digby. Source: Adrian Carter, Wits Sport; The Times


Image: David Benn

Derek Keys

Bruce Davidson (1950-2018)


erek Lyle Keys (BCom 1951) was born in Johannesburg and matriculated at King Edward VII School. At Wits, he was an outstanding student, achieving 22 first class passes in 25 courses and earning the Alexander Aiken Medal. He completed his articles at Deloitte, Haskins & Sells, qualified as a chartered accountant in 1954 and began his career at the Industrial Development Corporation. In 1965 he went on his own as a financial consultant and during the successive decades became an officer and director of many companies. Most notably he served as CEO and MD of Malbak, National Discount House, ASEA, Gencor and BHP Billiton. He is often credited with unbundling corporations in ways which allowed their component companies to emerge as major businesses in their own right. Known for his leadership, financial and management skills, formidable intellectual powers and integrity, he was appointed to the Iscor board and then to Cabinet in 1991 as Minister of Trade and Industry and of Economic Co-ordination. As the country approached transition the portfolio of Finance was added to his responsibility. He was the first African finance minister to raise a tax to pay for an election and had a seminal role in the negotiations. Former President FW de Klerk described him as

P Derek Keys

“a remarkable man who served South Africa in an exemplary manner. He deserves special respect regarding his work during the Constitutional negotiations.” “It fell to him and to his open style of dealing with people and issues to persuade the ANC in the run-up to the 1994 elections that a market economy based on fiscal and monetary discipline was the best model for a democratic South Africa,” wrote Business Live. “His legacy in the government lingered throughout the Mandela and Thabo Mbeki presidencies, particularly in his tough and thoroughly principled approach to public finances.” He also established the Katz tax commission, which led to the rejuvenation of the revenue service. Keys was the only Cabinet Minister to retain his post and serve for some months in the new Government of National Unity. When Wits awarded him an honorary Doctor of Economic Science degree in 1995, the citation read: “Derek Keys contributed greatly to the attainment of fiscal discipline and stability in this country at a time of heightened political differences

rofessor Bruce Clement Davidson (PhD 1986) was an academic staff member in Wits’ Department of Biochemistry, which merged with the Department of Physiology to become the School of Physiology. He retired from Wits at the end of 2009 and took up teaching posts at the St James School of Medicine in the Caribbean, first in Bonaires and subsequently in Anguilla. He was a committed teacher and his research interests included the lipid biochemistry of sharks, an animal he revered in his non-research life too. Professor Davidson retired from teaching in Anguilla at the end of 2017 and a few months later moved to Belize, where tragically he was murdered. Source: Professor Martin Veller

and economic expectations. He did this through his acute awareness of the political and economic forces at work here and abroad, a capacity heightened by the universal confidence in his probity and ability to persuade those belonging to the most diverse political constituencies of the soundness of his views.” He leaves his wife Silma (a portrait artist), son Martin, daughter Jessica and their families. Source: Wits University; Business Day; FW de Klerk Foundation



Obituaries Painting by Delyse de Kock

Oliver Kerfoot (1923-2017)

Noreen Kerfoot (1924-2018)


Delyse de Kock (1937-2017)


elyse de Kock (BA FA 1971) grew up in Springs. She had a difficult home life and left school and home before matriculating. After working as a secretary for years, she decided to pursue her dream of a career in art. First she completed her matric at Damelin, where she was tutored by Cecil Skotnes. She then studied at Wits from 1967 to 1970. Her teachers included Erica Berry, Cecily Sash, Robert Hodgins and Judith Mason. As a student she displayed a notable maturity and talent, and much was expected of her. She completed her teacher’s diploma and later became a senior lecturer at the Teachers Training College. She was well loved by her

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pupils for her innovation, passion for art, deep interest in the human condition – and her eccentricity! Much of her drawing and painting reflects her interest in sculpture, for which she lacked a suitable working space. She was also interested in Greek mythology. For her, art was a private endeavour and she preferred not to show or talk about her work. In her lifetime she exhibited only once, in 1979 at the Trevor Coleman Gallery in Norwood. (Her friends held an exhibition in her memory in June 2018.) Yet she was a joyous individual with a great passion for life – a remarkable friend who left an indelible mark on those around her. Source: Willem Vogel

liver Kerfoot, who died aged 93 on New Year’s Day 2017, graduated from Wits with a BSc in Botany and Geology in 1951. After doing an MA at Oxford he worked in forestry research for many years in Zambia, Kenya and South Africa before joining the Wits Department of Botany in 1968 as a senior lecturer, where he remained until his retirement in 1988. His special contribution was in the field of Ecology. At Wits he met Noreen McHardy (BA 1946), who was then working in the library. They were married in 1950. She qualified as a teacher at Oxford, then worked as a librarian, teacher and lecturer in Kenya and at Stellenbosch, where she later graduated with an MA, as well as lecturing in the English Department and working in the library at Wits after their return to Johannesburg. Noreen Kerfoot died on 8 January 2018 after nobly and cheerfully enduring many years of illness. They leave their son William Kerfoot (BA 1975, BA Hons 1976, LLB 1978). Source: William Kerfoot

Oskar Steffen (1940-2018)


Henk Lantermans

Henk Lantermans (1938-2017)


enk Lantermans (BSc Eng 1965) was born in Holland and came to South Africa with his family in 1953. From an early age he wanted to be an engineer. He enjoyed his time at Wits and had many memories of professors and student activities. Though his university education was important for his professional career, it was the friends he made during those years that mattered to him. They remained his life-long comrades and he always looked forward to reunions. He was a member of the Engineering Council of South Africa, the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers and the Institute of Lighting Engineers of South Africa. He began his career at the South African Railways and went on to work as a senior electrical engineer at a number of engineering firms, as well as doing some consulting work. Projects he was involved in included

skar Steffen (BSc Eng 1961, MSc Eng 1963, PhD 1978) was born in Swaziland and arrived in Johannesburg in 1956 to study civil engineering at Wits. He spent the next seven years working for Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines in Zambia, initially in a geotechnical role and later in production. In 1969 he took up an appointment as Senior Lecturer in Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering at Wits, and remained at the University until late 1973, lecturing in soil mechanics and consulting for civil and mining clients. In 1974, Andy Robertson (BSc Eng 1966, PhD 1977), Hendrik Kirsten (BSc Eng 1963, MSc Eng 1966, PhD 1986) and Steffen set up a consulting partnership, SRK, which over the years grew into a firm employing 1400 professionals in over 45 offices on six continents. Steffen’s personal values and reputation had a big influence on the firm’s culture and brand. He believed that ownership opportunities for strong

Carnival City casino, the Apartheid Museum, a uranium enrichment plant, mines, stadiums, highway lights and water schemes. He travelled widely as a young man and worked until the age of 75. He passed away suddenly on

contributors were essential in securing their long-term commitment to the business. He served as President of the South African Institution of Mining and Metallurgy from 1989 to 1990 and was awarded the Brigadier Stokes Memorial Award in 1995 and the SAICE Geotechnical Gold Medal in 2001. He was also awarded the Mining Journal’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 in recognition of his technical contribution to the international mining industry. SRK recalls his strong interest in supporting and growing people, his belief that problem-solving approaches and technologies should continue to evolve, his commitment to his clients, and his sense of humour. He retired from SRK in 2005 but continued on a full-time basis as an associate. Dr Steffen is survived by Marge, his wife of 53 years; his daughters Helen, Linda and Heidi and their families; and his niece Ilse and nephew Oskar junior and their families. Source: SRK

29 July 2017, leaving his son Shaun (BCom 2001, BCom Hons 2002) and Shaun’s family. His wife, Bernice, died in 2014. His sister, Dr Elizabeth Lantermans (MBBCh 1965), is also a Wits graduate. Source: Shaun Lantermans




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Alumni House, Wits Club & Barns Complex, Alumni Lane, West Campus Tel +27 11 717 1090 Fax 086 406 4146 Email alumni@wits.ac.za

Stephen Hulbert (1949-2017)


tephen Arthur Hulbert (BA 1973) was born and grew up in Germiston, an only child. At Wits, he switched from a BCom to a BA and was active in NUSAS and student politics. After graduation he became a financial journalist at the Financial Mail and later went into public relations and scriptwriting. Leaving Barry Goldman Studio, he and his wife, Vanda, went to Kosi Bay, where he was involved in community development, initially with a craft project. Working with the University of Zululand he helped create a farmer’s co-operative and a cattle development project owned and

run by the community. Liaising with international funders, other NGOs and the KwaZulu conservation body was also part of his work. His community development expertise and understanding of conservation and land issues were essential contributions to the Shongweni Dam Conservancy, which was created with the involvement of the surrounding communities and the unions at a politically fraught period in KwaZulu Natal (1992-1995). The family (by then with two adopted daughters) moved to Cape Town next, where Stephen became Director of the Surplus People’s Project,

an NGO concerned with land reclamation and redistribution. On completion of his contract he joined the Table Mountain National Park, and then SANParks, in their marketing divisions. At SANParks he created the Wild Card and the first edition of the Wild magazine. He retired as Director of AFRA, a land rights NGO based in Pietermaritzburg, in 2014. Stephen had a deep passion for social justice and democracy. He had a keen, analytical intellect and authored several seminal papers on land and development. He passed away in June last year after a long battle with illness.

Engineering in SA and the UK. He married Susan Herbert in the UK and returned to South Africa, where he joined the family business, Pearson Manufacturing Company, specialising in heavy drop forging. He introduced a number of his own innovations into the company, starting with an apprenticeship school, one of the first self-elected in-house works committees, a morning soup kitchen and a company soccer team. After a horrific motor accident and heroic recovery in 2008, Graham semi-retired but remained

active doing consulting work. He became keenly involved in opposition politics at the ward level and was instrumental in obtaining heritage status for the Norscot Manor Community Centre. He will be remembered for his engineering and design expertise, his integrity, his big heart and generosity of spirit, his huge sense of fun and enthusiasm for life in everything he tackled. He suffered a severe stroke on 27 March 2018 and died on 4 April. His wife survives him.

Source: Vanda van Speyk

Graham Pearson (1939-2018)


arry Graham Pearson (BSc Eng 1962) was born in Johannesburg. He represented his Faculty on the Wits SRC and gained work experience in Welkom on a gold mine and in Zambia on the copper belt during vacations. After graduating, he was offered a two-year Commonwealth bursary with GEC in the UK, where he gained practical engineering experience at their turbine plant near London, at Hunterston nuclear power station in Scotland and coal mines in Wales. He was Pr Eng and a member of the Institutes of Mechanical

Source: Susan Pearson



Obituaries Claire Penn (1951-2018)


rofessor Emeritus Claire Penn (BA Sp&HTh 1973, PhD 1983) passed away in July after a long illness. She had dedicated much of her life to the University, having worked at Wits for 44 years. Born in Kenya, where her family lived until she was 12, she matriculated from Springs High School and then qualified in logopaedics (speech and hearing therapy) cum laude at Wits. Prof Penn held the endowed chair of Speech Pathology and Audiology and was Director of the Health Communication Research Unit in the School of Human and Community Development at the University. She was the first A-rated scientist in the Humanities Faculty at Wits. She had a strong international profile in her field, publishing over 100 papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals, 25 chapters and four books (including an extensive dictionary of Southern African Signs). She was instrumental in the development of health communication in South Africa. Ahead of her time in many ways, she taught contextually relevant ways of doing therapy and research, and pushed the boundaries of her primary discipline of speech pathology. She was a fierce defender of ethical principles and patient rights, especially those marginalised by communication disorders and language barriers.

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She taught her students to be advocates and activists, not just therapists, and she cared deeply about student causes. Penn’s awards included the Order of Mapungubwe (Silver) in 2007 for her “excellent contribution to the field of speech and language pathology, especially in the area of linguistics, sign language, child language, aphasia and head injury”. She was also recognised as a Department of Science and Technology Distinguished Woman Scientist in 2010. She will be remembered as an outstanding teacher, supervisor, researcher and mentor. Many of her students went on to become leaders in research and clinical practice. But she also advised students to “get a life”; to find meaning beyond their career. Described as punctual, driven, messy and “incapable of following instructions”, she loved travel, hiking and nature. “Life with Claire was interesting. Delightful; challenging; often maddening and frustrating. But never, ever dull,” said her partner Martin Templer. “She was somebody who would rather ‘make’ a mountain, move it, then bundu-bash her way up to the top rather than go around a molehill,” said her son Adam Penn-Nicholson. “She never shied away.” Sources: Jennifer Watermeyer, Martin Templer, Adam Penn-Nicholson

Malcolm Turner

Malcolm Turner (1947-2018)


its Rugby stalwart Malcolm “Bonzo” Turner died in April after a long battle with cancer. He was involved with Wits Rugby for about 40 years, initially as a first team lock in the 1970s, and continuing to play for WOBS throughout the 1980s glory years. Thereafter he helped with club administration for many years, serving as a committee member, arranging 100 Club gatherings and building up the old boy database. Up until the last couple of years he was a regular supporter “on the fence” at Wits home matches, close to the bar, for easy access to his favoured Bitterly Cold Castles. Wits and Pirates will play for a floating trophy – the Turner Cup – in his honour every year. Source: Neil Stokes

Hannah Weintroub

David Whiting




annah Weintroub was born Hannah Ida Shapiro in Oudtshoorn on 23 July 1920 and grew up in King William’s Town, in the Eastern Cape. She learnt “the three R’s” from a Miss Duckles at the age of five, before spending the rest of her school years at Kaffrarian High School for Girls. “I hated school,” wrote Hannah in her reminiscences. “I was no good at sport, very introverted, and at loggerheads with most of the teachers. But from the age of six I never wavered in my determination to be a teacher.” She graduated with a BA from Rhodes and a teaching degree from the University of Cape Town before starting her first job at the Emgwali Training School, a Presbyterian mission station

started by Tiyo Soga. During World War II she taught at Dale College and then returned to the Kaffrarian, but had to leave after three years when she married. Ten years later the family moved to Johannesburg. Hannah taught at Mayfair High School and then at Highlands North High School. She was active in the Black Sash and Progressive Party. Hannah studied part-time at Wits. She graduated with a BEd in 1974 and specialised in teaching children with learning difficulties. In 1981 she moved to Israel, where she died on 15 May 2017, “a young 96-year-old”, still relatively independent. She leaves two children and three grandchildren. Source: Etienne Weintroub; Hannah Weintroub memoirs

Russell Joffe (1954-2017)


rofessor Russell Trevor Joffe (MBBCh 1977) was the former Dean and Vice-President of the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University in Ontario, former Dean of the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and Chair of Psychiatry and Behavioural Science at Staten Island University Hospital in New York. His field was the biology of mood disorders and he published several books

on the subject. He was highly regarded as a researcher, clinician and academic leader, and is remembered for his intelligence, compassion, wisdom and sense of humour. He helped establish the McMaster Mood Disorders Program, which won the 1998 American Psychiatric Association’s Psychiatric Services Achievement Gold Award. His wife Jennifer and children Ben, Claire, Robyn and Sharyn survive him.


r David Ashby Whiting (MBBCh 1953, PhD 1977), renowned dermatologist and expert in alopecia, died in Dallas, Texas in February, aged 86. He was born in Johannesburg and enrolled at Wits at the age of 16. He thrived in the intellectually stimulating environment and also spent many happy hours on the squash court. David became Principal Dermatologist and Chair of the Section of Dermatology at the Johannesburg General Hospital and Wits from 1973 until his departure in 1977 to the USA. He became a Clinical Professor of Dermatology and Paediatrics at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas and also worked in private practice. In 1987 he became the Medical Director of Baylor Hair Research and Treatment Center in Dallas. He loved to diagnose rare pathologies or disorders and was an active member of the medical and academic community well into his 80s. He was married to Harriet for 45 years and they shared three children from his prior marriage and two from hers. David was generous, gregarious, witty, and quick with a pun. Jazz, dancing, theatre, classical music, fine wine and bridge filled his free hours. Source: Claire Bourne

Source: McMaster University



Obituaries Stanley Glasser (1926-2018)


he composer Stanley “Spike” Glasser (BCom 1950) died in August after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for a number of years. He had been in exile since 1963, when he left South Africa under threat of arrest. Glasser was the elder son of immigrants to South Africa from Lithuania. He majored in economics at Wits, where he also dabbled in composition – and played rugby. In 1950 he left for England, where he read music at Cambridge from 1955 to 1958. The next year he returned to South Africa and lectured in music at UCT, but had to leave after he and the

singer Maud Damons had been charged under the Immorality Act. Glasser wrote dramatic works, orchestral music and vocal music, as well as chamber and solo instrumental music – and an advertising jingle for Lucky Star pilchards! He was an early exponent of infusing Western compositions with African music, the knowledge of which he cultivated in the ethnomusicological study of the Pedi and Xhosa peoples. His important field research is now held in the British Library. Unusually for South African white academic composers of the time, he was also at home in

writing popular music. His works include a full-length musical, Mr Paljas, and arrangements for Todd Matshikiza’s King Kong (1959), for which he was music director. Glasser also composed tonally based, neo-classical works for acoustic instruments. He was an eager collaborative artist, and eschewed the restrictions of the apartheid colour bar when he composed the first full-length South African ballet, The Square. His incidental music to Eugene O’Neill’s play Emperor Jones makes him South Africa’s first electronic music composer.

Force and flew as a navigator in defence of the new state of Israel. Studying medicine at Wits, he met Fine Arts student and Rag queen Barbara Kaplan and they were married in 1953. Not long after that they left South Africa for the UK. He was appointed a consultant at Hillingdon Hospital in 1965 and had a private practice in Harley Street. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in London and in Edinburgh and a Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and served as Senior Treasurer of

the Royal Society of Medicine. Known for his rapport with children, he worked a sevenday week and had 20 000 private patients on his files. On Christmas Day he would be at the hospital, distributing gifts. His own recreation was football: he represented South Africa in the Maccabi Games and was a long-time Chelsea FC supporter. He leaves his wife Barbara; their children Dana (Cukier), Mark and Trevor; nine grandchildren; and his brother Percy (BCom 1950), the founder of Computicket.

Source: Stephanus Muller, The Conversation

Sam Tucker (1927-2018)


istinguished paediatrician Dr Sam Michael Tucker (MBBCh 1952) died in Mill Hill in the UK in June, aged 91. He saved many children from more serious impairment by developing a hearing test for newborn babies, and was also a specialist in children’s heart conditions and attention deficit problems. Another of his legacies was a children’s charity in Russia, where he trained local doctors in paediatrics. Sam Tucker was born in Benoni to Harry and Rae Tucker and educated at Benoni High School. After school he joined the Air

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Source: Tucker family

Adler Museum of Medicine

Wits Medical School, 7 York Road, Parktown. T +27 (0) 11 717 2081 E adler.museum@wits.ac.za Hours: Monday to Friday 09:00 – 16:00. Saturdays on request. Cost free but venue hire tariffs on request.

Wits Theatre Complex

www.wits.ac.za/witstheatre. East Campus, Wits University, Performing Arts Administration, 24 Station Street, Braamfontein. T +27 (0) 11 717 1376 E bridget.vanoerle@wits.ac.za Reception hours: Monday to Friday 08:00 – 16:00. Theatre costs vary according to programme. Tickets: www.webtickets.co.za

The Wits Club

www.olivesandplates.co.za Wits Club Complex, West Campus, Wits University. T +27 (0) 11 717 9365 E info@olivesandplates.co.za Hours: Monday to Friday 07:00 – 17:00. Saturday 08:00 - 15:00 for breakfast and lunch. Booking is essential.

Wits Rural Facility

T +27 (0) 15 793 7508 E olga.hartman@wits.ac.za Refer to website for public rates.


www.planetarium.co.za East Campus, Wits University, Yale Road off Empire Road, Entrance 10, Milner Park, Braamfontein. T +27 (0) 11 717 1390 E planet@planetarium.co.za Hours: Kiddies’ show (5 – 8 years), Saturdays 10:30.

Maropeng, The Cradle of Humankind & The Sterkfontein Caves

www.maropeng.co.za. Directions: Off R563 Hekpoort Road, Sterkfontein, Gauteng. T +27 (0) 14 577 9000 E website@maropeng.co.za. Hours: 09:00 – 17:00 daily. Refer to website for rates.

Wits Art Museum | WAM

www.wits.ac.za/wam. University Corner, Corner Jorissen & Bertha Streets, Braamfontein. T + 27 (0) 11 717 1365/58 E info.wam@wits.ac.za. Hours: Wednesdays to Sundays 10:00 – 16:00. WAM has a café and hosts regular events and exhibitions. Admission free. Donations encouraged.

Places to visit The Origins Centre

www.wits.ac.za/origins. West Campus, Wits University, Corner Yale Road & Enoch Sontonga Avenue, Braamfontein. T +27 (0) 11 717 4700 E bookings.origins@wits.ac.za. Hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00 – 17:00. Closed on Sundays. Public holidays 10:00 – 17:00 (please call ahead to check opening times). Refer to website for rates. Please book online (www.webtickets.co.za). Details accurate at time of publishing. Please contact facilities directly.

Above: Beyond the Readymade: a WAM exhibition of artworks created from found objects



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Enquiries: Purvi Purohit, Senior Liaison Officer, purvi.purohit@wits.ac.za

Tel +27(11) 717 1093 or annualfund@wits.ac.za

The Wits Annual Fund is a discretionary endowment fund to support teaching and research excellence, campus improvements and bursaries and scholarships