Wits Review July 2015

Page 1

July 2015 Volume 32



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

Kgethi Phakeng

Representing graduates and inspiring the youth





Health Sciences


7 1


researchers at Wits





119 700

101 142










86 981

Institutions that cite Wits most

Source: www.wits.ac.za/researchandlibrary


Beyond the darkness, the power is in our hands

Many South Africans are feeling let down. Load-shedding of the electricity supply has continued into winter, confidence in many of our public institutions and entities is severely strained, and social and economic disparities are fuelling frustration and anger.

It is especially easy to get despondent if one’s outlook

promoting freedom and democracy, and being a

is influenced by news headlines. Whenever this hap-

platform for raising issues and expressing opinions.

pens to me I remind myself that “news” is not a true reflection of daily reality. “News” by definition is not regular mundane life. It is the unusual, the remarkable and the controversial. A typical example given to journalism students is that “dog bites man” is not news but “man bites dog” is. This makes newsworthy

Universities play a similar crucial role and it is vital that we support them as they are one of the cornerstones of a vibrant democracy; strengthening civil society, promoting economic growth and facilitating the progressive transformation of society.

sense, but it is also a characteristic of the media that

As citizens, we should also play our part to improve

can be exploited by individuals and politicians.

our society by doing good deeds and contributing to

A case in point would be the media frenzy that sur-

our communities. We should all act with kindness,

rounded the “I love Hitler” and other racially offensive

treat each other with dignity and respect and help

comments of then SRC President, Mcebo Dlamini in

others achieve their potential, especially through

April this year. Virtually everyone distanced themselves

supporting education.

from his provocative comments but the media

Every day I am privileged to meet or hear about

lavished attention on him and his views. As with other controversial issues on campus, some alumni overreact to negative news or fail to make a distinction between the views of individuals or groups on campus and those of the “University”.

Witsies from all walks of life who are making a difference to society and improving lives. They are not attention-seeking or controversial. Beyond the “noise” of political and extremist rhetoric there is a regular world of humble, inspirational people who

Having said this, I’m not advocating burying our heads

are generous and charitable, who make a personal

in the sand. More than ever, it is critical that we be

contribution to building a better society for all. Many

vigilant, informed and active citizens.

are featured in WITSReview.

Our society, economy and democracy are going through challenging times and the media play a critical role as watchdogs, exposing wrongdoing,

Thank you and I hope you enjoy this issue! Peter Maher | Director: Alumni Relations

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Best External Magazine 2014 (SA Publication Forum) Best External Magazine 2013 (SA Publication Forum) Best External Magazine 2012 (SA Publication Forum) Best External Magazine 2012 (MACE) Best External Magazine 2011 (SA Publication Forum) Best External Magazine 2010 (MACE)

Cover: WITSReview interviews Convocation President, Mamokgethi Phakeng on pages 30-37. Image credit: EYEscape

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Editor: Peter Maher | peter.maher@wits.ac.za Contributors: Heather Dugmore | heather@icon.co.za Deborah Minors | deborah.minors@wits.ac.za Kathy Munro | katherine.munro@wits.ac.za Keyan G Tomaselli | kenyant@uj.ac.za Design & Layout: Nicole Sterling nicole.sterling@wits.ac.za Printing: Colorpress (Pty) Limited WITSReview is published three times 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. © Copyright 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.


Published by the Office of Alumni Relations, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg Tel: +27 (0)11 717 1090 Fax: +27 (0)11 717 1099 Address: Private Bag 3, Wits, 2050, South Africa E-mail: alumni@wits.ac.za | Website: www.wits.ac.za/alumni Update contact details: www.wits.ac.za/alumni/update SUBSCRIPTIONS: International subscribers: R100 per annum Local subscribers: R80 per annum PAYMENT OPTIONS: Online payment using a Visa, Mastercard, A merican Express or Diners Club credit card at: www.wits.ac.za/alumni/payment or by electronic transfer or bank deposit to: F irst National Bank, Account No. 62077141580, Branch Code 255-005, Ref.No. 1142 (+ your name) or by cash or credit card payment at the Alumni Office.

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Disowning Wits Dear Sir, After being made aware of the fact that the Wits SRC had been closely associated with the invitation to a “rabid Holocaust denier as their guest speaker” at “Palestine Solidarity Week”, I hereby wish to inform you that I am now officially denying and rejecting my Bachelor of Dental Science (BDS) degree from Wits (1961) as, in view of current events, I particularly do not wish to have the letters BDS near my name, and I do not wish to have my name publicly associated with Witwatersrand University. I am also sorely disappointed in the comments of Prof. Adam Habib and his half-hearted attempt at political correctness. I request that this letter be published in the next issue of WITSReview. Dr FN Sanders (1961) Sea Point Editor replies: I receive a number of letters that express similar concerns from time to time but we need to be mindful of the distinction between “Wits University” as an institution and what any particular group or individual at Wits does or says. There is also a distinction between someone officially invited to speak on the campus by the University authorities, and speakers who are invited by particular constituencies. Without interrogating the veracity of the allegation made against the speaker mentioned in the letter, I can say that an immense diversity of views have always been expressed on campus and the University cannot necessarily be accused of aligning itself with those views. Whilst we might disagree or take offence at some things that are done or said on campus, the Wits community reflects a diverse range of members and does not belong to any particular group, individual or constituency.

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Kudos to Wits Sport Dear Editor, Firstly, congrats on the latest WITSReview (March 2015) – superb mag.

We left the campus around 18:30 absolutely amazed by what we had just witnessed. Georgie was extremely excited and impressed, and I had a newfound cultural link to my Alma Mater. Georgie has entered Wits, studying for a Bio-Medical

Just a quick story aligning with your Editor’s Letter:

Engineering degree. She lives at the Junction Res in

My daughter, Georgie, finished matric last year, loves

a wonderful flat with three other like-minded girls,

her sport and is extremely strong academically. She

studying Physio/Medicine while playing water polo

had made the decision to do either Engineering or

and other sports.

Medicine and was investigating which university to go to when she received an invitation from Wits Sports to come with her parents and attend a presentation and view the campus. Both Georgie’s parents, Victoria Hyland (née Blades) (BA 1988) and I, are Witsies but, to be frank, the good times of Wits had receded into the memory, and it was not really at the forefront of where we thought Georgie would go to university. I joined Georgie and we headed off to Wits in September 2014. At the session, I bumped into a number of parents I knew who had come along because their children played some good sport and

Not one of these girls, along with many other students she has met, would have gone to Wits until they discovered how Wits is changing; the revitalisation of sport and the ethos and credo that goes with it, the building of educational excellence, together with the general encouragement and support towards good potential candidates. Thanks very much to Wits, to Vice-Chancellor Adam Habib, to Adrian Carter and his team, and to you – greatly appreciated for what you have already done for Georgie.

were academically strong. Few were enthused by

Malcolm Hyland (BSc Eng 1985)

Wits, although many commented that they had heard


the Vice-Chancellor was doing really great things. We met at Wits Sports on West Campus and soon we were being entertained and enthralled by Adrian Carter, some of his staff and, importantly, some of his students. They spoke passionately, cleverly and with real spark about what Wits had done for them, and what Wits was busy doing as an educational institute. It was impressive and real. We then boarded a bus and headed for a wonderful tour of the campus, visiting all those places we had treasured so many years ago that moulded us as great South Africans. We visited the Junction Residence and thoroughly enjoyed our trip.

UPDATE FROM GEORGIE TO THE ALUMNI OFFICE ON 17 JUNE: “So far I am absolutely loving Wits! Whilst the course itself is challenging, that somehow makes it all the more rewarding and weirdly enjoyable! I feel like I am the perfect distance away from home; it’s close enough to go to when I need time out, and Junction is just far enough when I feel I need to escape. I honestly don’t think I could be any luckier with regards to the people doing Bio-Med; every single person is truly genuine and down to earth. Overall, I would definitely say that I am enjoying the Wits experience.” – Georgie Hyland

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HISTORIC ASSEMBLY OF FORMER STUDENT LEADERS Seventeen former student Presidents spanning five generations met at the Wits Club complex on Thursday, 28 May 2015 to discuss transformation at Wits. Past Presidents of the Black Students’ Society (BSS) and Students’ Representative Council (SRC) from 1965 through 2014 attended the inaugural BSS/SRC Presidents’ Forum. The impetus for the meeting came after 34 former Presidents endorsed a statement on 17 May condemning the controversial “I love Adolf Hitler” comments made by then SRC President Mcebo Dlamini and affirming a commitment to non-racialism and an inclusive, diverse and welcoming learning environment for all students. Former Presidents then established the Forum to facilitate engagement with the University and student leadership.

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A succession of Presidents: (L-R) Kenneth Creamer (SRC 1991); Shaeera Kalla, current acting SRC President; Mark Orkin (SRC 1968); Linda Vilakazi (SRC 1993); Shafee Verachia (SRC 2014); Morris Masutha (SRC 2011); Richard Goldstone (SRC 1959); Dr Grant Rex (SRC 1984); Tiegeo Moseneke (BSS 1983); Terry Tselane (BSS 1987); Rose Hunter (SRC 1988); Jeremy Clark (SRC 1982); Bafana Nhlapho (SRC 2010); Themba Maseko (BSS 1986); James Donald (SRC 2001); Dali Mpofu (BSS 1985); Firoz Cachalia (BSS 1982); Floyd Shivambu (SRC 2005).


MR BLACK ILLUMINATED Wits honoured legal luminary Bram Fischer during #MrBlack Week from 23-25 March 2015. Fischer (a.k.a “Mr Black”, a pseudonym he used during covert operations) led the legal team in defence of Nelson Mandela and other accused in the Treason and Rivonia Trials in 1956 and 1963-64. Fischer was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1966 for anti-apartheid activities. This year marks 50 years since Fischer’s arrest and 40 years since his death in 1975. #MrBlack Week included a colloquium and an exhibition by the Law Students Council. On 26 March Wits awarded Fischer an honorary degree posthumously, which his daughter, Ruth Rice, accepted at a ceremony held in the Great Hall. Mr Black Illuminati: (Back L-R) Dr Lorraine Chaskalson, Ruth Rice (née Fischer), Max Sisulu, Ilse Wilson (née Fischer), Portrait of Bram Fischer by Johan Engels and donated by Dame Janet Suzman, Sir Nicholas Stadlen, Prof. Stephen Clingman, Dr Sholto Cross. (Front L-R) Ahmed Kathrada, Lord Joel Joffe, Andrew Mlangeni, Prof. Denis Goldberg, Lesley Shermbrucker, and George Bizos SC

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DOLPHINS DUMBED DOWN There is a popular conception that dolphins are as intelligent as humans, if not more so, because of the



Dolphin “intelligence” was popularised by a US researcher, John Lilly (1915–2001), who tried to develop interspecies communication. His dolphin research in the 1960s – which included giving the psychedelic drug LSD to dolphins – to “prove” dolphins’ communication ability and intelligence has not since been validated or verified.

size of the dolphin’s brain. However, there is nothing

“Many people say that dolphins can recognise

that distinguishes the brain capacity of dolphins from

themselves in a mirror but, in reality, their eyesight is

other animals, says Professor Paul Manger in the

20 times worse than ours, making this a difficult task

School of Anatomical Sciences at Wits.

for them to accomplish,” explains Manger. “Many

Manger researched the behavioural capacities of cetaceans (mammals that live in water). His findings, published in the peer-reviewed journal Neuroscience in 2013, indicate that there is no scientific evidence to support the populist take on cetacean intelligence.

other animals learn as quickly and show behaviours equivalent to that of dolphins, but they have never been treated as being exceptionally intelligent. Dolphin behaviour, in a broad comparative sense, is not special.”

Rather, cetaceans’ large brains appear to have

Manger delivered his inaugural lecture, Just how

evolved in response to thermal challenges in their

smart are dolphins and whales in reality? at Wits on


Monday 22 September 2014.

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“WHITE ZULU” CHIVALRY AWARDED Musician Johnny Clegg has been honoured as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). The OBE is the order of chivalry of British democracy. Clegg (BA 1976, BA Hons 1977, honorary DMus 2007) was named in Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s Birthday Honours on 13 June. The OBE recognises Clegg’s “unique services to the arts, vulnerable people and children and to democracy in South Africa.” The UK-born Clegg, 62, a.k.a “the white Zulu”, is an icon of South African music and one of the country’s greatest musical exports. He is a dancer, anthropologist, singer, songwriter, academic, activist and French knight. In a career spanning 30 years, he has campaigned against apartheid and become a cultural ambassador for the new South Africa. The Wits Anthropology alumnus has packed venues worldwide. His trademark energetic stage performances include hits such as “Cruel, Crazy Beautiful World”, “Scatterlings of Africa”, “I Call Your Name”, “Impi”, “Great Heart” and “African Sky Blue”.

Musician Johnny Clegg at the Cradle of Humankind, Sterkfontein, Gauteng, April 2010. Photo by Adrian Steirn/ www.21Icons.com via Getty Images

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he 1million1month campaign at Wits, launched in February 2015, raised over R2.3-million by 28 May. The Student Representative Council (SRC) mobilised the


of millions

campaign to bolster its Humanitarian Aid Fund, which provides emergency financial aid for indigent students’ accommodation,

meals and fees. The 1million1month collaboration between the SRC, Wits, and public and private sectors enabled academic support to reach 219 students, almost 60% of whom are young women. The biggest share of funds went to the upfront payment of fees (29%) and accommodation costs (21%). The majority of beneficiaries were students in the Faculties of Humanities (35%) and Engineering &


the Built Environment (24%), followed by the Faculty of Commerce, Law & Management (21%). Almost 60% of these students have since secured full bursaries. These students previously qualified academically and financially but were declined funding from the National Students’ Financial Aid Scheme because of a delay and deficit.

Half-a-million and a whole lot of hope One donor proved to be the tipping point for the 1million1month campaign. Basetsana Thokoane donated R553 000, the amount required to reach the R1-million target before the upfront payment registration deadline. Her motivation to donate was driven by empathy. She was born in Soweto and was herself no stranger to socio-economic hardships. As a teenager, Thokoane didn’t finish high school; South Africa was volatile and Thokoane’s prospects bleak – circumstances similar to those faced by her beneficiaries today for whom poverty seems inescapable. “I was like all poor, black teenage girls in the streets of South Africa. I was a dropout with no matric; the country was at the height of instability. All looked doom and gloom in the townships,” says Thokoane.

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She went into exile with the African National Congress (ANC) in Tanzania – an experience, she says, which made her who she is today. It was her education by the ANC’s education committee that set her on the path to success. An “alternative education to Bantu education” was part of the pillars of the liberation struggle. Thokoane rose to the challenge and prospered. “My saviour was the ANC in exile. I was educated through ANC scholarships and support,” she says. “I’m a proud graduate of the ANC’s Solomon Mahlangu Freedom College in Tanzania, and universities and colleges in the UK.” Thokoane brought her skills back to South Africa and took senior posts in the post-1994 government. She served as Special Advisor to the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, as Special Advisor to the Premier of Gauteng, and in the Private Office of former President Thabo Mbeki. Today she represents a company based in France and Abu Dhabi. Thokoane’s donation to the Wits students is both a tribute to her benefactors in exile, and an acknowledgement of her roots. She says she cannot live amidst the poverty in South Africa simply because she herself has achieved. “If it were not for the ANC, I would not be what I am today,” she concludes. “It was the ANC that exposed me to the world. The benevolence of others taught me that one cannot be an island in a sea of poverty.” Valuable investment: Wits benefactor Basestana Thokoane at an antique shop in Pretoria in December 2013

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the art of anatomy Dr Ashley Davidoff is a physician, artist, dancer, and gardener. He combines medical imagery with nature and biology to create art that educates and inspires BY DEBORAH MINORS


r Davidoff (MBBCh 1975)

brought perfection; parts making the whole, and

was born in Johannesburg

the whole bigger than the parts. This philosophy has

and educated at King David

remained with me all my life.”

School. A creative child, he was an accomplished Flamenco and tap dancer by the age of 14. His decision

As a creative student in a more analytical medical environment, Davidoff struggled to make sense of the bits as they related to the whole.

to study medicine at Wits

“Medicine didn’t make sense to me until I dissected

seemed a departure from

out the principles that governed the detail. I had to

creativity, but his artistic impulse would re-emerge

draw to aid the learning process,” he explains. “The

later – inspired by the late Phillip Tobias, renowned

Common Vein [his website, thecommonvein.com]

anatomist and palaeoanthropologist.

began as the path that helped me study medicine.”

Davidoff remembers his first Anatomy lecture when

Davidoff graduated from Wits and completed

Prof. Tobias introduced a pair of black belt judoka and

fellowships in paediatric cardiology at the Hospital

ballerinas, prior to the students taking the Hippocratic

for Sick Children in Toronto, and cardiac pathology

Oath and dissecting cadavers.

at Boston Children’s Hospital. Here part of his job

“He wanted us to understand that the Hippocratic Oath was a promise to respect human dignity,” recalls

was to photograph heart specimens, which honed his appreciation of the beauty of structure.

Davidoff. “We were going to dissect the body into

“The diagnostic aspect of medicine really inspired me

all its parts over the year. The judoka and ballerinas

and I decided to enter the field of diagnostic imag-

were to remind us how these parts working together

ing,” says Davidoff.

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He subsequently completed a radiology residency and

For a year he delves into the medical, historical and

fellowship in cardiac and interventional radiology at

cultural world of the organ; an intense experience

the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical

that often compels him to write poetry and artistically

School. Radiology uses imaging to diagnose and

render the part. The cultural component lends a

treat disease seen inside the body. Then he took two

philosophical basis to Davidoff’s art. His immersion

years off medicine to indulge his creativity and “find

in studying an organ often reveals ancient historical

himself”. Davidoff, then 32, went back-packing in

attitudes steeped in mythology. Cell to Society is a

Europe to advance his interest in art and photography.

series that reveals the parallels of biology with an

He resumed medicine in 1985 at the Department of

efficient and cooperative society.

Radiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical

Davidoff became a Clinical Professor of Radiology at

School. Davidoff’s early interests in biology and cre-

the University of Massachusetts, where he remained

ative arts converged and The Common Vein evolved

until 2002. Today he lives in suburban Boston and

into an educational project. Using conventionally

divides his time between clinical radiology at St

medical images (X-rays, MRIs, CAT scans) augmented

Elizabeth’s Medical Center and advancing his creative

to display the beauty of form and function, The

interests in the arts and nature.

Common Vein methodically advances the student from simplicity to complexity. It demonstrates how the whole is bigger than the parts. Since 1998, Davidoff has presented award-winning demonstrations of The Common Vein. Annually he presents one organ at a national radiology meeting.

“Looking for the common thread that runs through the arts, medicine and nature is what drives me,” concludes Davidoff. “Finding out who you are and expressing it is fundamental to life.” Image: A blog in parts: Art and science converge at Dr Ashley Davidoff’s www.artinanatomy.com

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“When one has had quite a lot of money and adulation, and it is then taken away, it is truly frightening. Add to this public humiliation, which psychologists say is worse


than death. I lost everything and the whole slut-shaming thing destroyed me to a cellular level. I had to find a job and because I didn’t have a green card I became a waitress. I don’t even really like food, unless it’s chocolate and champagne, which I regard as food.”

BA Fine Arts 1975, Postgraduate Diploma in Education 1977, Wits

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JANI ALLAN its alumna and former Sunday Times columnist Jani Allan, rose to fame and fortune in South Africa in the 1980s.

A waitress in a fine-dining restaurant Home for Jani today is a small flat

In April this year she flew to South Africa from her home in the United States for the launch of her memoir, Jani Confidential.

overlooking a parking lot in the village of Lambertville, New Jersey,

The person from whom she most wanted to hear these words was the late Sunday Times Editor, Tertius Myburgh, a giant of a newspaper man who made her great and made her go

where she is a waitress in a fine-

away with equal ease.

dining restaurant. She prefers not

“I lived in this need-to-please mode

to name it, explaining that it would

but what I didn’t know then, which I

restrict her from writing about her

well know now, is that fame is a fickle

life “as a mule” in her blog.

food on a shifting plate,” Jani explains.

Today she serves the champagne.

It is probable that her need to please

Thirty years ago she was the one

had roots in her childhood as the

being served buckets of it, enough

adopted daughter of her demanding

to backstroke in.

mother, Janet, whose dizzying

As she puts it: “I happened, for a

expectations left Jani afloat. It was

while, to be at the top of a layer cake with icing decorated with

inevitable that she would look to a mainland like Myburgh for approval.


He held the power to make her feel like a goddess or

But the layer cake collapsed and the star fell from

three little words.

heaven, hitting the cement sidewalk with a godless

a castaway in the utterance or non-utterance of those

thud, triggered by a fatal flaw.

Through the 1980s she was fed a lavish diet of those

Jani’s fatal flaw was that she became the Ferrari-

wrote about Eugene Terre’Blanche, the leader of the

driving, champagne-quaffing mirage that she believed

Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging at the time.

words until that fatal day in 1988 when she met and

she ought to be. She was seduced by fragile fame in a society where, more than anything, she thrived on hearing three little words: “Nice story, Jani”.

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The cover photo of Jani Allan’s memoir Jani Confidential with an iconic image of her as a columnist in the 1980s.

JANI CONFIDENTIAL Eyes and underpants From then on, South Africa and the world gorged on a diet of “blowtorch blue eyes” and scandalous sex seen through a keyhole. Jani was indelibly inked as the tart who was said to have slept with the racist buffoon in ragged green underpants. Nice Story Jani was sent packing as a result of Terre’Blanche, and subsequently rendered destitute when she sued Channel 4 in London for defamation after a documentary they broadcast alluded to her

I suspect the answer is that she remains a mirage; a different mirage from the 1980s version, but a mirage nevertheless. Today she is the everywoman who shifts between the humble waitress in the fine-dining restaurant and the eloquent by-line queen who once had a spectacular fall.

Swallow adoration with circumspection During the two weeks she spent in South Africa for her book launch, Jani was consummately re-famed, courted, wined and dined, offered jobs and asked to return.

relationship with the right-winger. Channel 4’s lawyer,

“I swallow adoration with circumspection these days,”

George Carman QC, binned her with yesterday’s

she says. “I used to rely on people for my nourish-

newspaper and she retreated into obscurity.

ment, now I rely on myself and my little Pomeranian girls, who are really spirit guides in fur coats, whom I rescued from the show ring.


“Who I am now has nothing to do with fame or wealth. Far from it, I live in a tiny rented flat, I drive a little yellow VW that is so old it has a cassette tape recorder, and I work very hard as a waitress.” She carries buckets of ice and buckets of memories, and she does so with such sardonic amusement it makes graft seems glamorous.

Jack the Marine Jani Confidential In Jani Confidential she lays it all out, explaining why and how she didn’t “do it”. She hopes that people will now finally stop asking her, and that instead they will buy her book to read the details.

She tells me about Jack the Marine, her boss at the “resto” (restaurant), who says: “I know you’ve written a book but now go and clean the lavatory.” They have a lot in common: “He did two tours of Iraq but America is not a good place to find a job when you return. The reward you get for serving

Whether people believe her is another issue, but she

your country as a Marine is a discount voucher from

says it no longer matters. She is an older, wiser person

Banana Republic and Gap,” she quips.

who learnt the hard way about the disposability of media darlings and about the treachery of certain friends.

Jani also recognises parts of her old self in the women who dine at the restaurant. “They’re Hyde Parkish with big teeth, beautiful boobs and R40 000 Burberry

Terre’Blanche (who was murdered in 2010) is but a

bags. These days I think they would be far better

short bit in Jani’s book but what interests me is why

served donating them to charity and rather buying

people are still interested in her all these years later.

bags for R200.”

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Opposite page: Jani in Lambertville, New Jersey, where she works as a waitress in a fine-dining restaurant. She is carrying one of her beloved Pomeranians, whom she describes as “spirit guides in fur coats”.

Old haunts like Hyde Park During her time in South Africa she revisited her old haunts, like Hyde Park. The depths of adornment and delusion in which people indulge bemused her. “I saw people living postmodern Gatsby lives in Sandton, which has grown so much I thought I was in Dubai. They talk about their art collections and the different levels of security they have at their homes, and how everything in South Africa is just wonderful.” Reflecting on her own past, she says: “Each one of us is a tapestry, the threads of which are one’s experiences, so I do reference things that happened in the past but I am in such a different world now. My spectacular fall forced me to make an inward journey that is all about my soul’s growth.” Jani’s modelling zed card in 1976

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Lives can be put together again “I have discovered there is a point of wisdom beyond the conflicts of illusions and truths by which lives can be put together again. I am at that point. And while the storms are still in my life, now they’re in bain-maries.” Where this journey might lead her next, she does not know. For now she is happy in Lambertville, which, mind you, Forbes magazine rates as one of the prettiest towns in America.

Getting older As for getting older … Jani, at the age of 62, says: “It’s like being fined for something you didn’t do.” She adds that the nice part about it is the camaraderie because everyone eventually gets old. What would she have done differently in her life so far, given the chance? “Pretty much everything,” she laughs, but then repeats that it was out of her hands; it was her soul’s calling. She certainly hasn’t missed out on life. She’s experienced fame, success, travel, love, romance; she’s had two marriages, one to a South African, one to an American from whose abuse she says she had to flee. All of which is discussed in her book.

A brain in a bell jar Would she get into a relationship again? “God no, unless he’s a billionaire paralysed from the neck down with a great sense of humour or a brain in a bell jar. God no, relationships are like eating lobster – too much effort for too little reward. I’ve learnt to be good on my own.”

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“There were drawing, painting

“There were many discussions about politics

and design classes. Social

and student activism and the crowds were

Anthropology, English and

very mixed. The name Steve Biko was one

History of Art. I loved going

that was frequently heard. Everyone seemed

into the violin-cased dark

to be tuned in to what was going on in the

auditorium and watching

country and I began to realise just how naïve

the slide shows presented by

I was and what a sheltered life I had led.”

Professor Elizabeth Rankin. They were visual capsules of

“Wits University in the 1970s shines like a diamond in the dust-bunnies of my memory. I loved being a student. I loved being at Wits,” Jani says in her book.


Helen Zille, talking to a gathering in the open-air auditorium outside the canteen

She describes outings to Pop’s

about the draconian measures taken against

Café in Braamfontein with

those who took a stand against apartheid.

her friend Gedinka Bak, the

I had gone along mainly because the object

reigning Rag Queen, where

of my biggest crush at the time would be

they would sit and drink

there. He was a denim-clad boy with nine-


inch hips. His nickname was Zapper. He rode

“Wilson, the short-order chef, would scold us if we ate sandwiches brought from home. ‘This place you buy the food. You don’t bring the food.’ “Sometimes we would go to Mangles in Braamfontein, a tiny health food restaurant,

Graduation night at Wits with her mother Janet Allan

She talks about “a slight, blonde girl named

a Harley-Davidson.” Jani also discusses her art and art lecturers: “I used to paint late at night on a makeshift table in my bedroom with a single, naked light bulb above. Painting music was T. Rex, the Beatles and Pink Floyd.” A favourite lecturer of hers was Robert Hodgins:

so-called because of an

“Robert used to tell us that painting was ‘a

old-fashioned mangle in its

bit like surfing’ in that a good deal of the

window. For R2.50 we could

time is spent bobbing about, waiting for

get bowls of Greek yoghurt,

the right wave to come along. He would

heavy with honey and studded

explain that there are paintings that stem

with nuts.

from memory and from a sombre look at

“Pleasures crowded in my life every day. There were parties at communes in Parktown, Melville or Houghton. ‘Tassies’, the red wine that stained your lips black, would flow and the air would be filled with the smell of pot and joss sticks. Indian kurtas

the human condition. There are paintings about the construction and confusion of contemporary urban life, but there are also paintings about the pleasures of being alive, pleasures that crowd in upon the pessimism everywhere and refuse to be ignored.

and Afghan sheepskin waistcoats were the

“A painting of my life at Wits would be such

preferred code of dress.

a painting.”

20 | WITSReview | July 2015


Places to visit at Wits ADLER MUSEUM OF MEDICINE


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

East Campus, Wits, Yale Road off Empire Road, Entrance 10, Milner Park, Braamfontein | Tel +27 (0) 11 717 1390 | planet@planetarium.co.za | www.planetarium.co.za Hours: Kiddies’ show (5 – 8 years), Saturdays 10:30, R27



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

Directions: From JHB, N14 and from PTA, N4 to Witbank (eMalahleni) to Belfast (eMakhazeni) to R540 to Lydenburg (Mashishing) to R36 to Abel Erasmus Pass to R531 to Klaserie then Orpen Road turn-off 2km past Klaserie, Limpopo | Tel +27 (0) 15 793 7500 | wrfmanager@tiscali.co.za | www.wits.ac.za/wrf Cost*: Terminalia and Vaalboom en-suite units: R684 for two, R278/extra person | Lodge: pps R254, single R382 | Anselia self-catering unit: pps R321, single R435 | Aerocamp: pps R285, single R399 | Bushcamp/4-person dormitory: R124 pp. * Wits rates quoted. Refer to website for public rates.

THE ORIGINS CENTRE West Campus, Wits, cnr. Yale Road & Enoch Sontonga Avenue, Braamfontein | Tel +27 (0) 11 717 4700 | ask.origins@wits.ac.za | www.origins.org.za Hours: Daily and public holidays 09:00 – 17:00 | Costs: Adults R80, children (u/12 with adult) R40, guide fee (minimum 10) R200, learners R45, teachers (with school groups) R55, lectures, temporary exhibitions/walkabouts and films R50, Giving Back ticket R40 + 4 non-perishable food/toiletry items

WITS THEATRE COMPLEX East Campus, Wits University, Performing Arts Administration, 24 Station Street, Braamfontein | Tel +27 (0) 11 717 1376 | catherine.pisanti@wits.ac.za | www.wits.ac.za/witstheatre | PAA reception hours, 08:00 – 16:00, Monday to Friday | Theatre costs vary according to programme | Tickets: www.webtickets.co.za

MAROPENG, THE CRADLE OF HUMANKIND AND THE STERKFONTEIN CAVES Directions: Off R563 Hekpoort Road, Sterkfontein, Gauteng | Tel +27 (0) 14 577 9000 | website@maropeng.co.za | www.maropeng.co.za | Hours: 09:00 – 17:00 daily | Costs: Maropeng: Pensioner R77, student, R90, adult R144, child (4 – 14 years) R80 | Sterkfontein Caves: Pensioner R77, child (4 – 14 years) R87, student R90, adult R149 | Combination ticket: Child (4 – 14 years) R129, adult R194


July 2015 | WITSReview | 21













Every Sunday morning you will find labour lawyer Richard Mayer (BA 1988, BA Hons 1989, LLB 1991, MA 1997, HDipLabourLaw 2007) training young athletes in Joburg’s Alexandra township. He has been doing this for the past 20 years.


Recently appointed to the national coaching commission by Athletics South Africa (ASA), Mayer has been outspoken about the tragic neglect of coaches and coaching structures required to mentor and motivate talent from grassroots level across South Africa. “ASA made the fatal mistake of having more sports administrators than coaches, instead of the other way around,” he explains. “It’s a major concern and that is why I have always believed we should appoint a South African national coach to coordinate athletics nationally. We will not produce champions unless there are committed, skilled coaches to guide them.” He aims to address this and wants all youth, including those in the rural areas, to be exposed to sound athletics coaching.

A WITS FULL BLUE Jaded South Africans familiar with the history of turmoil in the ASA may be forgiven for being sceptical. But this time, a Wits Full Blue athletics alumnus (1991) is in the hot seat, alongside four other coaches. And he has a driving ambition to be the change he wants to see in the world. As a Wits student Mayer excelled at his academic studies and as an athlete at both provincial and national levels, particularly in the 1 500-metre and cross-country races. In 1990 he captained the Wits cross-country team to the South African Universities Championships.


Labour lawyer Richard Mayer with young athletes in Joburg’s Alexandra township. He has trained young athletes from Alex for the past 20 years.

WITSReview | July 2015



The men and women both won team bronze, achieving the best combined result for Wits in the competition for 50 years. Prior to this, Wits had not been able to put together a women’s team,








and both Mayer and the women’s captain, Nicki Gils, dedicated considerable time and effort into building one. The team was all white because black students at the time adopted a non-participation policy in all Wits sport in protest against apartheid. Since his student days Mayer has been a champion of non-racial sport and offered free athletics coaching to young people from


the townships and anyone who wanted to participate. “Some have gone on to become top athletes but my primary aim these past 20 years has not been about developing athletes, it has been about developing people. My training sessions include an emphasis on the need for education and discipline as part of the life lessons I try to share,” explains Mayer. From 1997 to 2007, in addition to practising full-time as a labour lawyer, he was the head athletics coach at the Wanderers Club, during which period the club won every sub-marathon team title available to it. The Wanderers was the closest decent athletics track to Alexandra at the time. Mayer’s protégés would either catch a taxi or run the 7km there from Alex and Mayer would drive them home after training. Mayer himself runs 60km – 90km a week on the Alex track and on the trails near his home in Kyalami. “When I run, I work out the stresses and irritations of my work and return calm, cleansed and in a clear mental space,” he says. He describes distance running as “a deeply spiritual and mentally cleansing process. It clears out negative emotions and stress, and it helps to process one’s thoughts and to think more clearly.” In 2009 Mayer authored a book titled Three Men Called Matthews that looks at South Africa’s golden athletics era. It details the achievements of several South African athletes whose greatness was born of resilience of character and determination to succeed, despite material poverty and hardships.




“Everyone thinks of Kenya and Ethiopia as the source of the world’s distance runners, but in the 1980s and early 1990s South Africa was right up there with them,” he explains, offering several examples: • Matthews Temane ran 21.1km in 60:11 in 1987 – then the world’s fastest half-marathon time • Matthews “Loop en Val” Motshwarateu set the world record for 10km of 25:59.3 in 1980 at the age of 21 • Zola Budd, at the age of 18, beat the world 5 000-metre record in 1985 with a time of 14:48.07 • Matthews Batswadi – the first black athlete to be awarded Springbok colours, in 1977, after the national athletics federation deracialised its

level, set at the Germiston Stadium during the South


African Athletics Championships in 1978, still stands

Both Witsies also want to see the Wits Athletics Club

constitution. His record for the 10 000-metres of 28:46.8 at an altitude of 1 600-metres above sea

• Willie Mtolo won the New York Marathon in 1992 • Mark Plaatjes was World Marathon champion in 1993. “I named the book after the three Matthews because they personify the idea that irrespective of your background, great things can be achieved when self-belief is combined with self-discipline,” says Mayer. “They remain inspirational figures in an era when the

reclaiming its place in the sun. Few universities can boast the lineup of distance legends who have run in the Wits gold and blue. “As with the ASA, Wits can reclaim its place at the centre of South African distance running if it invests in the coaching team, which has been led at Wits in recent years by Lungile Bikwani,” Mayer says.

majority of South African youth face daunting challenges

“Excellence attracts excellence, and once you have a

and an uncertain future.”

top coaching team and infrastructure, it will attract

Today, Mayer is mentor to a fleet of young runners, as is Wits postgraduate and 1 500-metre runner Marko Bucarizza, with whom he collaborates. Having recently completed his Honours in Education at Wits, Bucarizza is one of Wits’ best athletes, achieving 5th place in the 1 500-metres at the 2014 South African Athletics Championships.

the athletes. I also believe in having an open club to share the knowledge and skills with the broader community. This way you promote engaged research and performance. You not only attract and develop student athletes, you also attract athletes of the calibre of Matthews Motshwarateu, who used to train at Wits with Ian Gentles. I’m really excited about the emphasis Wits is

Bucarizza trains a group of 40 young athletes from Alex

once again placing on sporting excellence as I believe

at the Marlboro Gardens Primary School every afternoon

that where athletics is concerned, it hasn’t even

during the week.

scratched the surface.”

WITSReview | July 2015

Victory for Wits lecturer: Caroline Wรถstmann wins the 2015 Comrades Marathon







COMRADES KUDOS FOR CAROLINE This year a senior lecturer in the Wits School of Accountancy was the first South African woman since 1998 to win the Comrades Marathon. Caroline Wöstmann, 32, won the gruelling 87.7km ultramarathon from Durban up to Pietermartizburg on Sunday 31 May 2015, in 6 hours 12 minutes and 22 seconds. Of the 16 993 athletes who lined up to run the 90th Comrades, just 13 006 finished the world’s biggest and oldest ultra-marathon. Wöstmann also “accidentally” won the Two Oceans 56km ultra-marathon in April. The mother of two and chartered accountant told Sport24, “The Two Oceans was almost an accident, but the Comrades was the one that I wanted to win so, so badly.” She made history by being the first South African woman to win the Two Oceans Marathon and Comrades in the same year – a remarkable athletic feat.


Dr Zuko Booi (MBBCh 2007) (10:45:37) Heidi Brooks (MA 2006) (08:39:22) Dr Hugo Canham (PhD 2014) (09:21:52) Dr Kristian Carlson (Senior Researcher) (10:12:11) Christopher Cherry (BSc 2008, BSc Hons 2009) (08:24:07) Mark Dowdeswell (BSc 1998, BSc Hons 1999, MSc 2002) (08:47:52) Dr Victor Mngomezulu (MBBCh 1990, MBA 2008) (10:47:07) Stuart Murray-Smith (ICT Support) (10:18:57) Dr Craig Symes (APES lecturer) (10:41:20) Erika Venter (Sports Admin) (11:47:34)

WITSReview | July 2015













SPINNER TEACHER TO TOUR T20 Croxley Wits Cricket’s top-ranked spinner, Eddie Leie (BEd 2009), has been called up to the Ticketpros Proteas T20 squad to tour Bangladesh and India in July. He is the only uncapped player included in the squad. Before heading off to the sub-continent, though, Leie will do duty for Darren Sammy’s St Lucia Zouks in the Caribbean Premier League T20 tournament. Leie has been a regular in the University’s Premier League side playing in the top-tier Gauteng Cricket Association competition. He earned his place in the national side by virtue of his sterling performances with the Bizhub Highveld Lions this past season. He is an alumnus of the Wits School of Education and holds a first-class degree in intermediate and secondary phase teaching.

Eddie Leie appeals during the 4th ODI match between South Africa and England Lions at Mamelodi Oval on 2 February 2015 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

WITSReview | July 2015

30 | WITSReview | July 2015



Getting to know

kgethi Professor Mamokgethi ‘Kgethi’ Phakeng is a tornado of academia, mathematics education, world travel, high fashion and social media. A Wits alumna and former Associate Professor in Maths Education at Wits, today she is the Vice-Principal of Research and Innovation at Unisa and President of Wits Convocation.

BEd 1993, MEd 1996, PhD 2002 all in mathematics education at Wits

July 2015 | WITSReview | 31


“You’re not a shoes person,”

South African and African style

In her current position she

says Prof. Phakeng, eyeing my

who helps to put local designers

travels the planet, either giving

bluestocking flats. She, on the

on the map.

keynote addresses about research

other hand, is wearing a towering ensemble of foot couture that she commands without falter when we meet at The Maslow.

Follow her on social media and you’ll see she has thousands of young followers who clearly adore her. She routinely posts

in mathematics education in multilingual classrooms, or nurturing research and innovation partnerships, all the while indulging her love of adventure.

She lights up the lounge at this

inspirational messages on

Sandton hotel, striding forth in

Facebook from her daily life

Out there in every way, she is a

a lady-in-red classic made by a

experiences and gives motivational

portrait of confidence, energy,

young fashion duo in Soweto


intelligence and action. But this

called Rip ’n Sew. They connected with Phakeng on Facebook and asked if they could design an outfit for her – an astute marketing move as she is a showcase of

At Wits she made a significant impact as the Founding Director of the award-winning Marang Centre


for Maths and Science Education.

Kgethi and her husband, Lucky Phakeng on Sanrorini island, Greece

32 | WITSReview | July 2015

was not always so.



“At 48 I am unrecognisable from the shy, introverted, complex young girl from Ga-Rankuwa I once was,” she explains.

career My career was made at Wits

“I have become who I am because of Wits. My career was made at Wits and I think I have a stunning

“When I first arrived at Wits in

career as a reflective scholar and

1989, I was ashamed of who I was


– a township girl from a financially poor background whose mother started out in life as a domestic worker.”

“Education changes people. There is no doubt that I am a completely different person now because becoming what we lack changes

She says the education she

who we are. Today, I am not

received at Wits completely

scared to own my voice or to be

transformed her:

who I am,” says Phakeng who describes herself today as “a lucky wife, proud mother, happy aunt, grateful stepmother and adoptive

Phakeng is proud of her roots and she loves to go home to Ga-Rankuwa to see her old friends and spend time with her mother, Wendy Mmutlana, who is her inspiration and her role model in resilience. “My mother wore a school uniform when she already had three children,” she explains. “She went back to do Grade 7 after she was married, encouraged by my late father, Frank Lentsoe Mmutlana, who was high school educated and who wanted my mother to continue her education.


July 2015 | WITSReview | 33


“... IT IS EVERYONE’S BUSINESS TO GIVE BACK TO WITS, TO PROTECT ITS REPUTATION AND TO ENSURE THAT WITS REMAINS THE GREAT UNIVERSITY IT IS” My mother completed high school when I started primary school “My mother completed her high school when I started primary school and when I completed my PhD at Wits, she completed her BA degree at Vista University. She taught at a higher primary school until she retired.” Frank worked at the SABC as an

lifestyle Teetotalling, healthy lifestyle Her husband, attorney Lucky

Phakeng (they married in 2012), shares her teetotalling, healthy lifestyle.

Making space for relationships and diversity In her role as President of

“As I always say, I got lucky,”

Convocation, Phakeng consistently

she smiles. Phakeng was married

emphasises the need to make

before, and she met Lucky when

space for relationships and

His golden rule was that all the

she was in her forties. Today they

diversity, which is inherent to

children had to go to university;

live in Midstream as one big family

effective leadership.

there was no negotiating. “He

of shared children.

actor and a music/programme compiler.

told us that even if we wanted to become tea makers, then we would have to go study that at university so that we could become the best tea makers in the world.”

As part of this, Convocation has

Both Lucky and Kgethi have

developed a relationship with the

intense work schedules. To make

SRC.“As an elected member of the

time for each other and their

SRC you are the leadership voice

family, when they are both in

of a diverse community of students

Gauteng, they make a point of

and you need to speak to this

Phakeng describes her father as “a

getting home after work at the

diversity,” she explains.

visionary and an amazing person”

same time.

who battled with alcohol to his

“The highly problematic divisive

They also travel together whenever

statement and behaviour of the

possible and are both obsessed

former SRC president this year

It follows that she doesn’t imbibe

with visiting islands – they tick off

goes against the spirit of Wits

at all, but she is playful about the

one a year. In South Africa they

and polarizes the University in

fact that with her ultra energetic

enjoy hiking in the bush and once

undesirable ways. It smacks

personality the last thing she needs

a month they have a weekend

of anti-progressive, narrow

is any kind of stimulant. “I think

away, just the two of them, where

nationalism, which can all too

the world is far better off having

they book into a local hotel or

easily deteriorate into ethnic

me sober!”

resort to enjoy time together.


death in 1998.

34 | WITSReview | July 2015



Prof. Phakeng:

African way Celebrating in a joyful African way As Convocation President, Phakeng speaks at the Wits graduation ceremonies each year. She makes a point of focusing on it as an African celebration and emphasises how wonderful it is to celebrate in a joyful African way. “We are in Africa, not in England, and we need to celebrate as

She is a B2 National Research Foundation-rated scientist She has been invited as a speaker and visiting professor at 33 international conferences and universities worldwide She has won several awards, including the 2014 CEO magazine award for being the most influential woman in education and training (academic) in Africa, and the 2011 National Science and Technology Forum award for being the most outstanding senior black female researcher over the last five to 10 years, in recognition of her innovative research into teaching and learning mathematics in multilingual classrooms She was elected as a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa in November 2007

Africans, all of us, irrespective of race, culture or religion,” she says. “This encourages all graduates to contribute to Wits as alumni as they feel that Wits is their

In July 2009 she was made an honorary life member of the Association for Mathematics Education of South Africa

home. If they do not feel this, then they get their degree and go, without giving back. I believe it is everyone’s business to make sure that Wits thrives, it is everyone’s business to give back to Wits, to protect its reputation and to ensure that Wits remains the great

In 2008 she became the first South African black researcher to be appointed to co-chair a study commissioned by the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction on mathematics and language diversity

university it is.”

July 2015 | WITSReview | 35


The transformation debate “What concerns me about the current transforma-

studying African philosophy becomes as main-

tion debate is that it appears to be more about the

stream as studying Western philosophy.

transfer of power and less about real transformation,” Prof. Phakeng explains.

“All of our students would greatly benefit from understanding the philosophy of ‘Education

“Transformation in higher education has historically

for Self-Reliance’ espoused in 1967 by the first

been dealt with as a compliance matter rather than

president of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere. They need to

a matter of change in structures, ways of doing

debate why he introduced Swahili as the language

things, ways of being and ways of knowing. Real

of national learning and teaching, and why this was

transformation is about who teaches, what we


teach and how we teach it.

Careerism and counting numbers “I am concerned that the debate sometimes seems to be more focused on careerism and counting

“These are the sorts of debates with which many South African and African students feel a cultural affinity, and which will help to ease the deep anger of displacement they are feeling.

the numbers than on producing knowledge for

“As academics we need to interrogate what it

transformation. This, for me, is duplicating a very

means to be at university today, and how the

Western system of transformation, where power

learning space is constructed.

is simply transferred from one group of elites to another, instead of transforming the culture of the academe. “While it certainly matters how many black professors we have in our universities, simply complying with employment equity will not give us a full indication of how much we have transformed.

English is the language of power “The place of African languages in our universities also needs to be debated. While English is the language of power, we have to be aware of the complexities of studying in English at university when it is not your first language.

We need to ask more questions. It is about time

“When I first came to Wits in 1989 to study

we started asking questions about why there are

Honours in mathematics teaching, I was the only

so few black South Africans producing research

black African woman in my class. Setswana is my

outputs and deal with the real issues there.

first language and it was a giant leap for me to

“I want to see a growth in black academics and at the same time I want to see all academics becoming highly productive in top research outputs that can inform all the issues we face.

African scholars who can transform the curriculum

start asking questions or to question the lecturer when I disagreed. Today I encourage all students to do the same because this is their educational space to claim. “At the same time I question why Wits does not require all of its students to learn at least one African language. Why is the language burden only

“This is the route to producing African scholars

on black African students when in fact all of us live

who can transform the curriculum and lead our

in a multilingual country and need to be able to

universities on a different path, where, for example,

communicate beyond our home languages?”

36 | WITSReview | July 2015



Mamokgethi Phakeng’s Adopt-a-Learner Foundation offers financial support to deserving black students from townships and rural areas studying at Wits and other universities and nursing colleges. Wits and Unisa get the most support because of her affinity with these two institutions. “In 1988 I graduated with a BA(Ed) from the University of Bophuthatswana (UNIBO), now NorthWest University, majoring in pure mathematics, before coming to Wits,” she explains. “Wits was the natural choice for me to pursue further studies because of its reputation as a top university and also because of its progressive approach: it took in students from UNIBO who had been expelled for political reasons. “In my first year at Wits I could only make the upfront payment for the registration fees. I didn’t know how I would pay for the rest of the year. “Fortunately I heard that the student development programme at Wits was helping students with funding, and so I went there and what happened was quite incredible. They told me that a Mr Damoyi from Durban wanted to fund a black student to study mathematics, and I was selected for this. “In turn, my foundation and the awards I give at Wits every year are part of my way of helping other students, as I was once helped.” Phakeng is the sponsor of the Mamokgethi Phakeng Award for outstanding performance in mathematics education postgraduate studies at Wits. Two awards of R10 000 each are made available each year to black South African women in the field of maths education at Wits to pursue their PhDs. Phakeng calls on all Wits alumni “to get more

Mamokgethi Phakeng with a beneficiary from her Adopt-a-Learner Foundation

involved in helping to support Wits students.” www.adopt-a-learner.com

July 2015 | WITSReview | 37

DR EVE Marlene Wasserman (BA Social Work 1979) is a clinical sexologist and accredited couples and sex therapist in private practice. Through her brand “Dr Eve” she has counselled thousands on the topic of sexual wellness and over 21 years has dispensed advice on her radio show.

with“Dr Eve”



Your new book is entitled Cyber Infidelity: The New Seduction (NB Publishers, Praeger, USA, 2015). Do you think the Internet threatens relationships? Technology has forced a rethink of traditional values of monogamy, commitment and sexual fidelity. To research Cyber Infidelity, I used www.ashleymadison.com, a dating site for married people. The members I surveyed, across gender and age, believed in these values. They didn’t believe their membership compromised these values and they didn’t feel guilty. Cyberflirting, cybersexing and sexting improved their quality of life. Cyber infidelity is a new form of relationship. The problem and pain comes when a person discovers their partner’s cyber infidelity. My book guides people in defining new relationship rules, including technology use, cyber infidelity and managing the integration of sex-tech into their lives.

38 | WITSReview | July 2015


You have a special interest in onco-sexuality,

For LGBT people, conversations tend towards trying

the sexual health of cancer patients. Is sexuality

to fit into a heteronormative model; although I see

important in chronically ill people?

greater acceptance of what this community always

Healthcare providers receive limited training in sexual medicine, health and rights, and this inhibits their ability to provide holistic treatment. Chronic diseases and medications – particularly cancer treatment – impair sexual function. This profoundly affects

embraced: new relationship rules that include consensual non-monogamy. Elderly people ask about sexual functioning and how they can sustain long term relationships. The need for a partner is a big push as one gets older. My research on Ashley Madison showed an increase

patients’ quality of life, causing

of profiles of this age group, indicating their strong

unhappiness and relationship

interest in seeking satisfying sexuality as well as new

distress. I train healthcare providers in sexual health medicine, management and therapeutic interventions. I’m a Temporary Advisor to the WHO, which published the

relationships. In your blog www.dreve.co.za, you caution against watching the film Fifty Shades of Grey, which is based on the erotic trilogy by EL James about a BDSM (bondage/domination/submission/ masochism) relationship. Why do you condemn the film?

healthcare providers’ guideline Brief Sexuality-Related

I like people to be exposed to a variety of sexual

Communication: Recommendations for a Public

experiences but this must be accompanied by

Health Approach in May 2015.

validated, evidence-based education. This movie

What are the questions you’re most frequently asked by youngsters, married couples, the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community and elderly people respectively?

(besides being deathly boring) misrepresented the essence of BDSM, which is about sane, sober, consenting adults communicating about scenes they wish to enact. It depicts an insanely wealthy young man who is manipulative, dominating and emotionally

Across the board, globally: Am I normal? How much

damaged – the antithesis of BDSM. Should we be

masturbation is too much? Frequency of sex? Am I

holding up this fairytale as the ideal for young people

abnormal if I only orgasm with clitoral stimulation?

– the hero rescuing the innocent virgin? I think not!

Youngsters, girls in particular, are ignorant about

Do you have any “coming-of-age” memoirs from

their bodies, discharges and virginity. Mostly a lack

your time at Wits you’re comfortable sharing?

of values causes confusion about love, abuse and relationships generally. Technology causes concerns about relationship status (is this a hookup? friendswith-benefits?), cyber infidelity, cyber bullying.

I saw my first porn movie in first year on campus – it was Debbie does Dallas. I fell in “love” a few times; feared falling pregnant, but because of apartheid, had nowhere to go for counselling. It was a heady time of

Married couples, at the critical stage when children

intellectual and sexual freedom. I had no idea those

are born, lose their erotic relationship. Domesticity,

years at Wits would lead me to make my mark as a

fatigue and career-building deplete their sexual

sexual pioneer in South Africa and an international

interest in each other but make them vulnerable to

sexual rights activist!

cyber infidelity and pornography.


July 2015 | WITSReview | 39


From overnighting in the toilets at Senate House to sharing the Great Hall stage with Madiba … this is the story of Terry Tselane.


Wits was a

liberated zone Wits BA 1989, BA Hons 1990, President of the Black Students Society at Wits 1988/89

40 | WITSReview | July 2015




t was 1986 when young Terry

With no money and nowhere to

Society (BSS) at Wits in 1988/89,

Tselane handed a small bag

stay they had to doss down in the

to speaking at the ceremony

containing his few worldly

toilets. The cleaners offered to look

where Wits bestowed an Honorary

possessions to the cleaners at

after the young men’s belongings

Doctorate on Nelson Mandela in

Wits. They had found Tselane

for the day while they tried to get


and another young man,

into Wits.

Ronnie Mokgosi, fast asleep

Tselane today is the Acting Chair

Mokgosi has passed on but Tselane

of the Independent Electoral

is with us to share the story. It is a

Commission (IEC). His political

story of perseverance, politics and

credentials, initially developed as a

They explained to the cleaners

courage, in which he journeyed

Wits student, are well utilised in this

that they had arrived at Wits the

physically and mentally from

post, where he has to ensure the

previous evening after catching

rural North West to being elected

freedom and fairness of democratic

the train from Mafikeng to Joburg.

President of the Black Students

elections in South Africa.

in the toilets at the Senate House Concourse.

July 2015 | WITSReview | 41

TERRY TSELANE Freedom is his touchstone Freedom is Tselane’s touchstone and something he discusses with such potent emotion that you find

revolutionary ideas and I believed that liberation came first.” After their expulsion, Tselane and

his soul as he speaks.

Mokgosi immediately headed to Wits.

was at Wits. It felt like a liberated

“We had heard that Wits had

zone to me,” says Tselane, who

taken in quite a few students who

grew up in Brits.

had been expelled from other

Before coming to Wits he was a student at the former University of Bophuthatswana (UNIBO), now North-West University. He was on the SRC and studying for a Diploma in Education when he was expelled in January 1986 under the Internal Security Act, on the grounds that he was a threat to state security.

universities for political activism,” he explains.

They found their way to the student support centre With the cleaners looking after their bags, they found their way to Dr Nico Cloete, who was the Director of the Careers and Counselling Centre at Wits (he is now the

The authorities had heard that the

Director at the Centre for Higher

student leaders at UNIBO were

Education Transformation). He was

planning a protest march ahead of

an activist in his own right and

the then Prime Minster PW Botha’s

condemned UNIBO’s actions.

visit to Mafikeng that year. Ten lecturers and 29 students were expelled from UNIBO during this time.

I was young and driven by revolutionary ideas He didn’t dare tell his mother, Ntefo Tselane, that he had been expelled, as had his friend Mokgosi. “My mother, who worked as a domestic worker in Joburg, was extremely serious about education. While she encouraged me to be

42 | WITSReview | July 2015

I was young and driven by

yourself being drawn deep inside

“My first experience of freedom


Of course I thought differently;

Dr Cloete and Wits’ Registrar at the time, Dr Derek Swemmer, helped Tselane and Mokgosi to secure full bursaries from the office of Reverend Beyers Naude to study at Wits. They were also given a place to stay at Glyn Thomas residence in the grounds of Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto, which was the residence for black students at the time.

We could not believe our good fortune

politically conscious, she told me

“We could not believe our good

that she did not want me to be

fortune. From sleeping in the

at the forefront of the struggle

toilets, we now had our own rooms

because education came first.

and full board!” Tselane enthuses.


July 2015 | WITSReview | 43


liberated zone

He could also tell his mother that he was a Wits student. “I told her that I had gone to Wits because of its high academic standards, which would ensure that I would find employment once I graduated. What I didn’t know was that she already knew I had been expelled.” Tselane explains that what really struck him when he got to Wits was how oppressed they had been at UNIBO, where the campus was occupied by soldiers and all student leaders were continuously harassed. “The atmosphere on campus at Wits was amazing,” he recalls. “I had never been in an environment where political speakers from extraparliamentary organisations such as the United Democratic Front (UDF) could openly address the students, and where you could protest against the government and essentially the University would protect you. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Students, Professor Mervyn Shear, would even march with us.” Tselane immediately found his place in the leadership of the black student movement. After a stimulating first year on campus, the tide turned on him in 1987 when he discovered that his politics would not be tolerated by the state on any campus. Once again, he was targeted as a threat.

I put on all my struggle T-shirts “In 1987, shortly before June 16, which was a volatile time every year, the police started going from door to door at Glyn Thomas,” he recalls. “I quickly put on all my struggle T-shirts with a jersey over them, and pretended to be asleep. They kicked down my door and arrested me, along with a number of student activists from our res … Chris Ngcobo, Lawrence Boya, Pascal Moloi and others.

44 | WITSReview | July 2015



Crisis Committee, Murphy Morobe,

Tselane was released in 1988, along

Publicity Secretary of the UDF, and

with the other students, with strict

Valli Moosa, General Secretary of

conditions in place, such as not

the UDF.”

being in the company of more than

Tselane explains how they

10 people outside class.

humiliations, including having to go

President of the Black Students Society

to the toilet in full view of their cell

In 1988 he became President of

were subjected to all sorts of


BSS on account of his personal

“Throughout this ordeal we had

convictions and in defiance of these

enormous support from Wits,”


Tselane continues. “The University

Life on campus continued to be

saw to it that our learning materials

highly politicised, with BSS and

and lecture notes were brought to

NUSAS actively campaigning for the

us, along with some money.”

release of Nelson Mandela.

It would have been impossible “We were taken to John Vorster

“BSS remained separate from

to study in such an overcrowded

Square and told that we had better

NUSAS, which was predominantly

environment but they managed to

cooperate because many like us had

white, because we felt our

convince the warders to let them

died there. They separated us and

backgrounds and issues were

study in the isolation cells.

different from theirs,” he explains.

I can still hear the sound of the prison keys

“Many of us, including myself,

would tear it up and order us to

“We would return to our group

backgrounds and we were fighting

start again.”

cells at night and to this day I can

for basic human rights, such as

still hear the sound of the prison

learners being able to get a proper

made each of us write a statement about what we were doing at Wits. Each time we wrote something they

Nine months behind bars

were from financially poor

keys when the warders locked

education. At the same time I had

Unsatisfied with their answers,

us in for the night at 6pm. It was

very close friends in NUSAS and we

the police dispatched them to

the kind of sound that said: ‘I am

supported each other in a number

Johannesburg Prison, where they

done with you’. From then until

spent the next nine months behind

the next morning, no matter what

End Conscription Campaign.”


happened, they would not return.”

Positive traction damaged

“We were all state of emergency

To make it through the night they

Tselane feels that this positive

political prisoners and we were

sang struggle songs and each cell

traction and the egalitarian

confined in cells with 38 people

would be given a different night

principles that Wits stands for have

per cell, including high profile

to entertain the others. “My cell

been harmed by the demoted 2015

personalities such as the Editor of

was called Nicaragua because their

SRC President’s highly offensive,

New Nation, Zwelakhe Sisulu, Vusi

liberation struggle had inspired us,”

anti-Semitic statements and

Khanyile of the National Education

he continues.

behaviour earlier this year.

of liberation initiatives such as the

July 2015 | WITSReview | 45

TERRY TSELANE In response, Wits has invited a group of former BSS Presidents and former SRC Presidents to start


constructively engaging with the current student leaders.

• CEO Gauteng Film Commission South Africa

“Something seems to have disappeared from their

• CEO Gauteng Tourism Authority

style of engagement,” Tselane explains. “Perhaps it

• Director Johannesburg Fresh Produce Market

is that they don’t participate in the vigorous political

• Part-time Commissioner, IEC

workshops that we constantly attended as students,

• Municipal Electoral Officer, Pretoria Municipality, IEC

and which helped us to understand how to negotiate

• Secretariat, National Economic Forum

collective politics and to speak as a collective voice.

• Secretariat, Business South Africa

“However, I am simply surmising and that is why as a group we want to meet the student leaders of today, to find out what they are thinking and how they believe we should be negotiating the next phase in our country’s liberation process,” he says.

Liberation starts with education


“From my perspective, liberation, as my dear mother

“I have never forgotten where I came from, and to

said all those years back, starts with education. We

this day I have a strong affinity with the blue collar

need to support the University in finding ways to

workers at Wits because they looked after me

finance and support deserving students who cannot afford a university education. “A lot has to happen on the education front because there are many students at university today from disadvantaged backgrounds who cannot adequately read or write. This is not acceptable. “The education system, from primary school, has to change and we need to make our voices heard in the Department of Education. “When I compare the kind of education that my son, Nkululeko Tselane, who is in 3rd year law at Wits

when I had nothing. It continues to fill me with joy that I was able to rise from nothing to a position of such trust that I was asked to give a speech on behalf of the University at Mr Mandela’s Honorary Doctorate ceremony. What a moment that was for me, being in the company of giants like Madiba and Oliver Tambo, who was also at that ceremony. We had sung so many songs about them and now I was having snacks with them on the 11th floor of Senate House. I stood in the corner admiring them

now, has received from primary school, all the way

from a distance, and was quite taken aback when I

through to students from the rural areas, I do not

saw Mr Tambo walking over to me. He tapped me

know how they cope.

with his stick and said: ‘That was a very powerful

“It is amazing that such a number have succeeded,

speech’ and asked for a copy. I was overjoyed, and

but we need to see far more succeed and we need

then to top this, Madiba joined us and said: ‘That

to help all students gain the learning skills, the

was a beautiful speech’. It was, without doubt, the

qualifications, the leadership skills and the confidence

highlight of my time at Wits.”

that a good education offers, and which is what Wits gave to me.”

46 | WITSReview | July 2015

Should you wish to discuss making a legacy gift to Wits University please contact Peter Bezuidenhoudt tel. (+27) 011 717 9701 or email alumni@wits.ac.za MORE INFORMATION

ALUMNI REUNIONS &EVENTS Enquiries: 011 717 1093 purvi.purohit@wits.ac.za www.wits.ac.za/alumni/events

16 AUGUST Varsity Kudus Annual Road Race

25 SEPTEMBER Harare, Zimbabwe Reunion

1, 2 & 3 OCTOBER Health Sciences Reunion & Gala Dinner Faculty of Health Sciences, Wits Medical School, Johannesburg | Details: Paul Davis, Chairman Health Graduates Association | paul.davis@wits.ac.za

19 NOVEMBER Founders’ Tea, Gavin Relly Green, West Campus, Wits

July 2015 | WITSReview | 47


FELLOWSHIP FOR FEMALE SCIENTIST The Executive Director of the Wits Reproductive Health and HIV Institute (Wits RHI), Professor Helen Rees, received the Harry Oppenheimer Fellowship Award on 5 June 2015. The annual award is made to scholars of the highest calibre who are engaged in pioneering, globally significant work that advances knowledge, teaching, research and development in South Africa. Rees is a Personal Professor in the Wits Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. She is an internationally renowned expert in HIV prevention, reproductive health and vaccines, and is one of South Africa’s best-known scientists.

witsies with


48 | WITSReview | July 2015


LIGHTS, CAMERA, ALTOVISE Altovise Lawrence (BADA 2014) won BET Top Actor SA on 3 June 2015. In this reality show broadcast on BET (DStv channel 129), 12 of South Africa’s best emerging actors battled it out on camera in front of big industry names from Hollywood and South Africa. Contestants had to complete acting challenges after which judges systematically eliminated them. Lawrence’s final challenge involved transforming into an action hero to perform stunts, fight, and shoot firearms. Her acting technique across genres was judged impeccable. The 23-year-old Boksburg resident won R100 000, a weekend getaway, a management contract, a role in a South African feature film, and representation in Hollywood.

UWC SELECTS A WITSIE Entrepreneur Mthunzi Mdwaba (BA 1989, LLB 1992) was elected as Chairperson of Council at the University of the Western Cape on 2 December 2014. He will serve a three-year term. Mdwaba is President and Chief Executive of investment consultancy TZoro IBC. Prior to that, he was Group Chief Executive of Torque IT South Africa, in which capacity Black Business Quarterly named him Businessman of the Year and a Platinum Award Winner in 2009. The same year he received a Volunteer Award from Wits in recognition of his work promoting cycling. Mdwaba is a former Vice-President of Business Unity South Africa.

July 2015 | WITSReview | 49


THIRD WITSIE TO LEAD OPPOSITION Politician Mmusi Maimane (MM 2012) was elected leader of the official opposition in South Africa, the Democratic Alliance (DA), on 10 May 2015. Maimane, 34, was previously the Deputy Federal Chair and the Parliamentary Leader for the DA. He stood as the DA candidate for Gauteng Premier during the 2014 national election. Maimane also holds a BA (Psychology) from UNISA and an MA (Theology) from the University of Wales. He served as Class Coordinator at Wits while completing his Masters in Management. Maimane is the first black man and the third Wits graduate to lead the DA. He succeeds Helen Zille (BA, PDE 1974), who took the reins from Tony Leon (BA 1980, LLB 1983), leader of the DA’s predecessor, the Democratic Party.

50 | WITSReview | July 2015


LUMKA’S SPACE Lumka Msibi (BSc Eng Aeronautical 2013) received the Ubuntu Youth Diplomacy Award from the Department of International Relations and Cooperation in Cape Town on 14 February 2015. The award is made to a 15-35-year-old whose actions promote South Africa as a dynamic country where youth can thrive and help improve the world. Msibi, 24, is Chief Systems Engineer at Denel Spaceteq. The award recognises Msibi’s accomplishments in the space research sector. She received scholarships from Wits and the Gauteng Regional Observatory and participated in a scientific expedition to Antarctica. In 2014 Msibi won a global competition hosted by the International Astronautics Conference, for her technical paper based on research in Antarctica.

THE SKINNY ON DR DERM Dr Alan Menter (MBBCh 1966) received the Clark W Finnerud Award from the Dermatology Foundation at a ceremony in San Francisco on 21 March 2015. The award recognises Dr Menter’s exemplary contribution as a clinical educator in the area of psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune skin disease. Dr Menter is Program Director at the Dermatology Residency Program at Baylor University Medical Center and Chairman of its Division of Dermatology. In 2013, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Psoriasis Foundation. Dr Menter co-authored in Science in 1994 the first gene discovery for psoriasis.

July 2015 | WITSReview | 51





Advocate Siduduzo Gumede (BA 1990, LLB

Shakira Choonara (BHS 2010), a PhD candidate in

for the City of Joburg on 18 May 2015.

the Wits School of Public Health, was one of 14 Future

Dr Leigh Hale (MSc Physiotherapy 1993, PhD

Leaders at the European Development Days, a regional development and international cooperation forum. Choonara, 25, debated consolidating efforts for a sustainable response to Ebola alongside three senior WHO officials in Brussels on 4 June. Professor Marlene Behrmann-Cohen (BA Speech & Hearing Therapy 1982, MA Speech Pathology 1985), Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University, was elected to the National

1993) assumed office as the first ombudsman

Medicine 2002) was appointed Dean of the School of Physiotherapy at the University of Otago, New Zealand, on 6 May 2015. Craig McDonnell (BSc Eng Elec 1992) was named Vice-President and General Manager of Automation & Control Business at TE Industrial in Darmstadt, Germany, on 12 March 2015. Ben Moolman (BSc Mining 1987) was

Academy of Sciences on 28 April 2015.

appointed Chief Operating Officer of Lonmin

Professor Peter Kamerman (BSc 1997, BSc Hons


1998, PhD Science 2002), head of the Pain Laboratory in the School of Physiology at Wits, was elected as president of the Pain Society of South Africa in May 2015. He is the first basic (as opposed to applied) scientist to preside. Peter Rich (BArch 1970, MA 1991) was among 11 architects to receive an International Fellowship from the Royal Institute of British Architects in London on 3 February 2015. The Fellowships reward the contributions of non-UK architects to world

Plc in Marikana, North West Province, in March

Legg Mason Inc, a global asset management firm, appointed Ursula Schliessler (BCom 1980, BCom Hons 1983, MCom Business Economics 1987) as its Chief Administrative Officer, based in London, on 13 March 2015. Incyte Corporation in Delaware, USA, appointed Dr Steven H Stein (MBBCh 1990) as Senior Vice-President and Chief Medical Officer from 2 March 2015.

architecture. Rich’s Mapungubwe Interpretation Centre won Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival in Barcelona in 2009. Dr Lesley Scott (BSc 1989, BSc Hons 1993, MSc 1995,


PhD 2004) and the Smartspot team won the Social

This year Wits awarded honorary degrees to:

Innovation Award at the Innovation Prize for Africa Awards ceremony held in Morocco on 13 May 2015. Smartspot’s flagship product, TBcheck, examines the

Defence team leader in Nelson Mandela and others’ treason trials, the late Bram Fischer

accuracy of machines used to detect TB diagnosis.

(honorary LLD 2015) (posthumous)

Mncedisi Siteleki (BA 2014, BSc Hons 2015) won

Former Constitutional Court judge and human

a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Award and

rights activist Justice Catherine “Kate”

participation in a Young Scholars programme in San

O’Regan (honorary LLD 2015)

Diego from geospatial software provider, Esri SA.

Dr Meyya Meyyappan, Chief Scientist for

Siteleki is pursuing his Masters in GIS and remote

Exploration Technology at NASA and pioneer in

sensing in the Wits School of Geography, Archaeology

the field of nanotechnology (honorary DSc 2015)

and Environmental Studies.

52 | WITSReview | July 2015




July 2015 | WITSReview | 53

WRITING EDGE FICTION Fenella: Book One of the Caversham Stud Trilogy (Vol 1), by Nicola Hayward Nicola Hayward (BSc 1985, BSc Hons 1986) began horse-riding aged six, after an ignoble expulsion from ballet school. In 1987 she bought a young Thoroughbred off the track and later began breeding horses. Her passion for all things equine has endured and she has combined this with an interest in writing. Since 2007 she has written for HQ Magazine and edited its Thoroughbred pages. She is a South African correspondent for Thoroughbred Owner and Breeder (London). Her first novel, Fenella (Kindle e-pub, 2015), is a contemporary coming-of-age story set on a Thoroughbred racehorse stud in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands. Sixteen-yearold Fenella Schmidt is orphaned and suddenly responsible for her penniless grandparents, so she accepts a job as stud assistant at Caversham Stud. She is persuaded to take on the job of farm knacker for increased wages. Yet this role forces Fenella to confront uncomfortable decisions about horses’ life and death – and odious people.

NON-FICTION The Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland, co-edited by Graham J Alexander The Atlas and Red List of the Reptiles of South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland (SANBI Publishing, 2014) is the brainchild of Graham Alexander (PhD Science 1996), Professor in the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences. It took seven editors and 26 authors nine years to compile the 485-page atlas, which contains the conservation status of the 421 recognised species and subspecies found in these countries. Over 400 individuals and 14 organisations contributed towards the 135 512 records. Members of the public helped to gather information and assisted in 24 field surveys over three years, an effort which contributed to the 25% increase in recognised species since 1988. The atlas contains the most up-to-date distribution maps for reptiles ever produced for the region. A virtual museum has subsequently been established by the Animal Demography Unit at the University of Cape Town where members of the public are able to submit online images of reptiles, and an expert panel identifies and organises the “specimens”. The atlas and museum make an important contribution to the preservation and protection of reptiles in South Africa.

54 | WITSReview | July 2015

WRITING EDGE MEMOIR Birthmark, by Professor Stephen Clingman Stephen Clingman (BA 1977, BA Hons 1978) is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts. His doctorate, awarded by Oxford University, focused on Nadine Gordimer’s writing. He also wrote the biography of Bram Fischer, which won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award. Clingman launched Birthmark (Jacana) at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research on 12 May 2015. The book takes the form of a memoir in which Clingman tells of being born with a birthmark under his right eye. When he was two the birthmark was removed, but the surgery affected his eyesight, and later the mark returned. In the book this disappearance and reappearance becomes a motif of memory. Birthmark also resonates more widely, because South Africa under apartheid was a country governed by divided vision and the markings of skin and birth. Ivan Vladislavic, Distinguished Fellow in Creative Writing at Wits Journalism, wrote: “Birthmark is a profound reflection on vision and identity. The result is a thoughtful, unconventional memoir that will change the reader’s perspective too. I was engrossed, challenged, moved.”

BIOGRAPHY Yambuku, A Fight against Ebola and African Haemorrhagic Fevers: The Margaretha Isaäcson story, by Diane Wolpert Diane Wolpert is the niece of the late Professor Margaretha Isaäcson (1929–2001), an epidemiologist born in The Hague who was Professor Emeritus of Tropical Diseases at Wits from 1979 until her retirement in 1993. Yambuku is a biography Wolpert wrote based on her aunt’s unpublished memoirs. As a girl, Prof. Isaäcson endured family tragedy and was interned in a Nazi concentration camp during World War II. Despite these hardships, she earned MBBCh (1963), DSc Medicine (1988) and DPH (1972) qualifications from Wits. She served on Senate and was a Wits benefactor. She gained international recognition for her work on cholera and plague and the African viral haemorrhagic fevers. She caused controversy in 1965 for giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a dying black boy. In 1976, Prof. Isaäcson was a member of the international commission that investigated the outbreak of the deadly Ebola virus in Yambuku, Zaire. Her formidable legacy prompted the award-winning actress Glenn Close (whose father had run a clinic in Zaire) to write to her about the possibility of a film about her life.

July 2015 | WITSReview | 55



Penny Siopis is a much acclaimed and well-loved South African artist. This superbly produced book accompanies the retrospective exhibition of her work at the Wits Art Museum and the Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town in 2015. The editor, Gerrit Olivier, of the Wits School of Arts, has invited a handful of supportive art critics to reflect and comment on the different dimensions of Siopis’s art, her style, the varied media and the meaning behind the works. These essays are interspersed with a series of recorded and documented conversations between Olivier and Siopis. The commentators are TJ Demos, Jennifer Law, Njabulo Ndebele, Sarah Nuttall, Griselda Pollock and Siopis’s late husband, Colin Richards. There is further conversation between Siopis and William Kentridge about making movies, their friendship


Published by Wits University Press, 2014

56 | WITSReview | July 2015

and their individual approaches to their work. The title Time and Again (also the title of the exhibition) is a clever play on the return of a collection to the public domain and the recurring themes in Siopis’s work over three decades.



Order Wits University Press publications online from www.witspress.co.za | UK & Europe: +44 (0)20 7240 0856 www.eurospanbookstore.com | North & South America: Toll-free: (800) 888 – IPG1 (4741) | orders@ipgbook.com FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.witspress.co.za | +27 (0)11 717 8700 | info.witspress@wits.ac.za

Perpetual renewal is possible through revisiting

Siopis works in different media – painting,

old themes and blending them with new

installation and film. Regardless of the medium

concerns, when memory, loss and creation are

of a particular work, each brings a confrontation

woven together in the fabric of life and art.

between form and content, between objects and

The book is a high quality art volume, showing what a university press is capable of, and will become the standard reference on Siopis up to this point in her still productive career. Over 130 works are illustrated here. The pleasure of a retrospective is that so many works that are now in private collections are on view and enable a close study of the evolution of the artist’s work. Best of all, this volume allows the artist, editor and commentators to reflect on recurring

what their portrayal in a work of art says about meaning. We learn much about Siopis in the studio and her working methods. It is a rare treat and a brave step for an artist to reveal herself at a deep level and to share her work, her world and her life. This is a book about an artist, her career and the creative process. If you have been fascinated by Siopis’s imagery and mesmerised by works such Melancholia, you will want to acquire this book.

concerns about boundaries, what lies beneath,

The index of works, the list of exhibitions and

history and memory, physical decay and ageing,

the bibliography are all useful sources. The

sexuality, violence, understanding political

format of the first few pages draws you into

events, dealing with grief, living and becoming

her world. The book is a tribute to Siopis but it

alive after loss and trauma. Through Siopis’s

is also a challenge by her to reveal herself, her

works we learn to think at a more complex level,

innermost thoughts, her political reflections, her

to reflect about life, to live life with a heightened

vulnerability and her engagement with the South

intensity and to thrive beyond survival.

African condition.

July 2015 | WITSReview | 57


Johannesburg is a city of vast expanse and substance. Within its short history it has become the economic powerhouse of the subcontinent. It is a city that is changing rapidly and this book seeks to document what is happening right now and to place that change in a time context. How has the city fared since 1994? Over 40 academics, urban planners, urban analysts and policy makers have contributed to this major study, which has been four years in the making. Johannesburg has become a revitalised magnet for migrants and immigrants and the muchenlarged city is experiencing stresses and strains across its complex infrastructure and services. These 34 essays draw together serious research on the physical form of the changing city across a diverse range of topics, mainly from sociological, planning and geographical perspectives. The book has been structured around three themes: macro trends (in housing, transport, poverty, urban spaces), area-based transformations (empirical case studies of the inner city, Yeoville,


Published by Wits University Press, 2014

58 | WITSReview | July 2015

Soweto, Kliptown, Sandton, the northern suburbs) and spatial identities (the ethnic identities of communities of the city – Somali, Ethiopian, Chinese, etc – and the struggle for survival if you face eviction, are a recycler or are an informal trader).


Together these essays offer a rich and textured,

More than 50 coloured plates illustrating key

intellectually challenging tapestry of the dynamic

features in the cartography of the city provide

changes in the city over two decades. There are

a visual context for trends and changes. More

sharp contrasts between old and new, wealth

tables, graphs, maps, aerial photographs and

and poverty, the functioning and failed services

figures are liberally sprinkled through the

of city management, inner city decay and new

text and add weighty evidence. With detailed

regional business hubs, immigrant and rooted

bibliographies and careful notes for each

Jozi types, north and south, planned suburbs and

chapter, this book is a landmark investigation

unplanned informal settlements, urban decay

of the modern mixed metropolis that is

and successful regeneration – Johannesburg has

Johannesburg. Although it is a difficult place

it all.

to live in, whether you are rich or poor, and

The study dwells heavily on the problems of the city and its social and planning ills. I would have liked to see a few commissioned studies of the successful components of the city and examples of working economic transformations. Which businesses and economic activities drive the city? How do the employed make their livings? The contributions by Keith Beavon, Pauline Larsen and Alan Mabin touch on these aspects. The standard of writing and analysis is impressive throughout. Despite being academically dense and almost textbook-like, this compendium is very readable. One can dip into different chapters and immediately find a resonating and thoughtful insight. The four editors, Harrison, Gotz, Todes and Wray, have worked as an effective team to pull together a massive enterprise. Their introductory chapter

has become even more difficult to manage and run, the message is an optimistic one. It is only through research, analysis and critical thought that the hope of turning Johannesburg into a “world-class African city� will be realised. The best brains in the institutes, metropolitan government and universities of Gauteng are hard at work. Not to be missed is the bibliographic essay on the rich vein of writing about Johannesburg within chapter 1 (see pages 12 to 18). In my opinion, this compendium is among the best serious writing about Johannesburg. It is surprising that with the huge body of scholarship fed by different disciplines, we still lack a well-written civic history of the city of gold. For anyone wanting to attempt that Herculean task, this book is a rich lode.

on Materialities, subjectivities and spatial

This book is a must for anyone who lives in

transformation in Johannesburg is particularly

Johannesburg and is trying to understand the

good in setting the scene and explains how the

place and the change around us.

maps guide the reader on a learning journey through the book.

July 2015 | WITSReview | 59



JACK FLAKS (1928–2015)


RUTH BURNTON (1924–2015)

died on 3 April 2015, aged 86.

Naomi Klenerman (née Sacks),

Damant ) died in Brisbane, Australia

He was born on 26 September

81, died in the UK on 3 February

on 17 January 2015, aged 90.

1928. He was a major pioneer in

2015, of breast cancer. Naomi

She was born in Johannesburg on

the treatment of obesity and an

studied Biology and Embryology

26 November 1924. She earned

innovator of the importance of

at Wits. She graduated BSc (1953)

a BSc Civil Engineering from the

drinking water to facilitate weight

and BSc Hons (1954), and lectured

(now) University of KwaZulu-Natal

loss. He won several international

Physiology at Wits. She married

in 1945, and was reportedly South

awards and lectured around the

Professor Leslie Klenerman (MMed

Africa’s first woman engineering

world. Several physicians flew to

1949, MBBCh 1951, PhD 1973) in

graduate. She married Ralf (BSc

South Africa to train with him, as

1954 and they emigrated to the

Eng 1944) in 1947 and later moved

did many patients from all over

UK in 1956. There she worked as

to Johannesburg. Ruth joined

the world for treatment. Dr Flaks’s

a research technician at the Royal

the Johannesburg Public Library

son, Dr Howard Flaks, who recently

National Orthopaedic Hospital and

in 1966 and earned a diploma

retired from his practice in Beverly

at Hammersmith Hospital. She

in Librarianship at Wits. At the

Hills, was among the physicians he

then focused fulltime on raising

Johannesburg City Engineers

tutored. Dr Flaks leaves his wife,

her sons, David and Paul, both of

Department and later Eskom,

Audrey, sons Howard and David

whom pursued scientific fields.

she helped transform the library

and daughters Elona and Loren, all

Naomi later resumed academia

services. From 1978 she worked

of whom are Wits alumni.

and earned a Masters in English

at the South African Institute for

Literature. She moved to Wales

Steel Construction. She retired in

after Leslie’s retirement, where

1987 and emigrated to Australia in

she campaigned to protect

1993 to join family. Her sons Neil

the environment. The couple

(BSc Eng Chem 1969, MSc 1974),

later settled in Cambridge.

Brian, Peter (BSc Eng Civil 1977),

Naomi’s husband, sons and four

and John (BCom 1984, BAcc 1986)

grandchildren survive her.

survive her.

Dr Jack Flaks (MBBCh 1953)

60 | WITSReview | July 2015

Yvonne Ruth Burnton (née



HARRY STEIN (1925–2015)

PEGGY IRWIN (1925–2013)

OKOLO “BEN” SIMON (1968–2015)

Professor Emeritus Harry Stein

Dr Claire Peggy Irwin (MBBCh

(MBBCh 1949) died in England in

1950) died in the US in 2013.

Dr Okolo Benneth “Ben” Simon

February 2015, aged 89. He was

She married (the late) Dr Michael

(LLM 2005, MA 2006, PhD 2010)

born in Mpumalanga on 8 June

Kramer (MBBCh 1945), whom

died in Enugu State, Nigeria on

1925. He specialised in paediatrics

she met at Wits, in 1949. She

3 January 2015, aged 46. He was

and Wits appointed him Professor

specialised in child psychiatry and

born in Nigeria on 16 December

of Paediatrics in 1977. He was also

in 1969 became senior psychiatrist

1968. Wits awarded Ben’s PhD

Assistant Dean of the Faculty of

at the Transvaal Memorial Hospital

in International Relations for his

Medicine. He was one of the first

for Children. She was The Star

thesis, “The emerging principle

doctors to focus on immunology

newspaper’s Woman of the Year

of the responsibility to protect:

and the efficacy of antibiotics as

in 1976 for her pioneering work

the Darfur conflict”. He published

treatment, and among the first

in “battered baby syndrome”.

widely on issues of conflict and

to describe and identify finger

That year she also featured in The

security in Africa, as well as on

clubbing as a sign of cirrhosis.

World’s Who’s Who of Women.

various aspects of Nigerian politics.

In 1954 he became Paediatric

Peggy emigrated to Australia

From 2011 to 2013, he was a

Registrar at Baragwanath Hospital,

in 1979 and worked at Flinders

postgraduate fellow at the United

retiring as Head of Neonatology

University Hospital, the Adelaide

Nations University in Tokyo, Japan.

and Paediatrics in 1987. He

Children’s Hospital, and in private

He returned briefly to Wits in 2013

emigrated to England to be near

practice. She moved to the US in

to help coordinate a global seminar

family, and was ultimately confined

1999 to join her family, and taught

on natural resource governance in

to a wheelchair from spinal

at the Medical University of South

Africa. He leaves his wife, Chinyere,

stenosis. His wife, Yvonne, and

Carolina. Peggy’s children, Anne,

a son, several siblings and his

three children survive him.

Barbara, Patti, and Peter – all Wits


alumni – and 10 grandchildren survive her.

July 2015 | WITSReview | 61

IN MEMORIAM GREGORY PLOMARITIS (1933–2014) Dr Gregory John Plomaritis (MBBCh 1959) died on 31 August 2014, aged 80. He was born on 20 November 1933 in Malvern, Johannesburg. He graduated MBBCh (1959) at Wits and then completed his internship at Addington Hospital in 1960. Here he and other junior internship doctors worked briefly under Dr Chris Barnard, who showed them open-heart surgery. Dr Plomaritis then worked in a number of government hospitals including Wentworth Hospital, Port Shepstone Provincial Hospital and KwaMashu Polyclinic. He also practised privately. He remained single all his life and leaves his nephew, Anthony Plomaritis.

LADY FELICIA KENTRIDGE (1930-2015) Lawyer and activist Felicia Nahoma Kentridge (née Geffen) died aged 85 in London on 7 June 2015

David John Lowes (1935–2015) Civil engineer David Lowes (BSc Eng Civil 1965, MSc Eng Civil 1962), born 14 February 1935, died on 18 April 2015, aged 80, after enduring Parkinson’s disease. His wife, Wendy, survives him.

after a long illness. She was born on 17 August 1930 and grew up in Johannesburg. Felicia (LLB 1953) married Sir Sydney Kentridge (BA 1942, honorary LLD 2002) in 1952. She was admitted to the Johannesburg Bar in 1956 and practiced privately in the 1960s. In the 1970s, Felicia persuaded the Wits Law Faculty to set up a legal clinic to offer free legal services to indigent black

Brian Preston (1937–2015) Former Dean of the Faculty of Dentistry at Wits, Professor Charles Brian Preston (BDS 1961, MDent Orthodontics 1974, PhD Medicine 1988), born 19 November 1937, died in the USA on 25 March 2015 after a long illness, aged 77.

South Africans. She mobilised the establishment of the Legal Resources Trust and the Legal Resources Centre, which opened in 1979. Felicia became

Elton Thyse (1971–2015)

Lady Kentridge in 1999 after Sydney was knighted

Dr Elton Thyse (BSc Eng Mining 1971), born

for his role in defending Nelson Mandela and

23 February 1971, died on 14 April 2015, aged

others during the South African treason trials in

44. He earned a PhD in 2014 at the University of

1963/64. Felicia’s husband, her children Catherine,

Stellenbosch, where he was a Senior Lecturer in

William, Matthew, and Eliza (three of whom

the Department of Process Engineering.

are Wits alumni), nine grandchildren, a greatgrandchild and extended family survive her.

62 | WITSReview | July 2015


Reconcile or bust BY KEYAN G TOMASELLI*

“Freedom now, education later” was the Soweto ’76 generation slogan. That call to arms has come to haunt post-apartheid South Africa. At the risk of overload, I weigh in on a recent moral panic. The Rhodes Must Fall campaign is echoed in periodic xenophobia. Both are intolerant of difference and diversity.

July 2015 | WITSReview | 63



ultural policy generated by Codesa in

If it’s Rhodes, Gandhi and King George today,

the early 1990s recognised cultural and

tomorrow it’s the call for the removal of King Shaka,

historical inclusivity, reiterated in 2015

and then Mandela, Biko and anyone else who falls

by government. This policy was driven

from historical favour. Shaka was banished from the

by the ANC’s Mewa Ramgobin, who

new Durban airport well before the Rhodes incident

took on Gandhi’s mantle of passive resistance. When Mewa and I were invited to a monuments conference in Cape Town in 1988, he, like Nelson Mandela, took the wind out of the sails of the extreme right wing. Asked “what will you [the ANC] do with ‘our’ monuments when you take over?”, Mewa turned the question back on them: “It’s not what the ANC will do with your monuments, but what you will do with them. Will they be used to

– detractors opposed the “soft” appearance of the Andries Botha statue. Botha’s elephant sculptures, commissioned by the city of Durban, rotted and had to be reincarnated at great cost because the ANC interpretation associated the elephants with Inkatha. In the post-Soviet Union it was Lenin, in Iraq, Saddam, while the Taliban and ISIS have destroyed millennia-old religious icons and whole towns dating to antiquity.

continue to signify oppression or will you rearticulate

And so we lose the reminders of the tyrants that each

them into multicultural symbols of reconciliation?”

one of us might well become if circumstances permit.

The white right was utterly astonished. The result: the

The previous tyrants, colonialists and benefactors – if

verligtes and left-wing radicals won the day and the

removed – no longer watch over us. History is not

conference issued a consensus statement based on

about the past, it’s about the future and what we do

the Freedom Charter. The document united – rather

with it.

than divided – the previously factional pro- and antiapartheid constituencies.

The faeces-led moral panic that started at the University of Cape Town is about the past, a new and

A dialectical negotiation resulted in affirmative policy.

crude historical monologue, not the new and open

The past was to be rearticulated into the present, for a

future. That’s the problem with South Africans. We

future that was just months away. Consensus cannot

have forgotten where we are going and how to get

be achieved through violence, destruction and threats.


The Law of Diminishing returned us this year to a

As the literary scholar Michael Chapman observes: “A

stultifying monologue and little Hitlers have come out

currently dumbed-down public discourse is in danger

of the closet. But there is hope – the President Kruger

of reducing SA to a dumbed-down state.” As the new

statue at the University of the Free State has been

University of KwaZulu-Natal vice-chancellor, Albert

rearticulated by that university’s principal into a place

van Jaarsveld, puts it: “We need to stop looking at

of reconciliation. No-one has defaced the old Prez, nor

the rear-view mirror and look through the windshield

demanded its (costly) relocation, nor admonished the

to see where we can go.” The defaced ancestors


are with us – they can teach us still, even as they are

Here is the problem with historical monologues: today

criticised, defaced and relocated.

it’s Cecil, who like so many robber barons (Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller etc), bequeathed his fortune for the greater (African) good. How many of today’s robber barons, daily exposed by the media for dodgy dealings, will donate their wealth thus?

64 | WITSReview | July 2015


“My education at Wits laid the foundation for my success” Gordon Klintworth | BSc 1954, BSc Hons 1961, PhD 1966

“A big thank you to Wits – it helped shape my life” Nathan Silver BA 1951, LLB 1954

“Everything that I have done, any success archieved I owe to the training and the grounding I received at Wits.” David Lipschitz | MBBCh 1966; PhD Medicine 1973

“Excellent University in Africa and a strong contender in the world!” Thokozani Mlambo | DipEd 2009, BEd 2001, MEd 2015

“Wits gave me an excellent academic foundation”

“Engineering taught me how to think, not what to think” Steve Sacho | BSc Eng Mech 1992

Eric G Müller | BA 1980

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