Wits Review March 2015

Page 1

Aerobics Rugby Soccer Swimming




SHORTS Total number of

sports codes

34 30 4 Boxing






biggest clubs*



on campuses


awarded by WitsSport**

TOP5 sports codes awarded bursaries



Champion Witsies


6 tennis courts

2 cricket/rugby fields

3 gyms

4 basketball courts

5 volleyball courts

2 heated 50m pools

2 netball courts

8 football fields

2 futsal courts

*As per WitsSport statistics 2013 | **Awarded in 2014




its hasn’t taken full advantage of its sporting potential in the recent past, so many students today are not aware of the University’s rich sporting history.

In this issue we introduce the first in a series of features that focus on past and present success in sport as well as alumni who are doing great things in sport. To get an understanding of the University’s sporting background we have relied on Jonty Winch’s

In particular, basketball, cricket, football, hockey, and rugby have been earmarked for development.

Illustrated History of Sport at Wits University, a superb

Revitalised sport is good news for campus spirit. Just

anthology of sport at Wits from inception through the

as sport has the power to unite a nation, so it can


unite a University – its students, staff and alumni.

But this was also a period of sport segregation. Black students were initially excluded from organised sport on campus and when the University eventually changed this policy, many black students took a princi-

There is nothing like a packed stadium of thundering fans roaring war-cries to instil a shared sense of belonging, pride, passion, loyalty and allegiance to Wits.

pled stand not to integrate in protest against apart-

Sport also complements the academic endeavour of

heid. Sport at all levels of South African society was

the University. Beyond the concept of a healthy body

extremely divisive during the struggle for freedom, but

and a healthy mind, participation in sport develops

it was also pivotal in uniting a post-apartheid nation

valuable life skills and virtues, including leadership,

and building solidarity among all South Africans. Who

team-work, determination, stamina, and the ability to

can forget the iconic moment when Nelson Mandela

endure and overcome defeat and adversity. These are

entered the Ellis Park stadium wearing the green No.6

skills not explicitly taught in the classroom but which

jersey to congratulate the Springboks when they

employers value highly.

won the Rugby World Cup final in 1995, or Bafana Bafana’s opening goal at the FIFA World Cup that South Africa hosted so successfully 15 years later? Closer to home, sport development at Wits has been inconsistent and the University’s legacy as a sporting powerhouse is largely a distant memory. But this is set to change. The potential of sport to attract top

Ultimately an investment in campus sport is an investment in the success of graduates and in their affinity with their alma mater. We welcome your sports-related photos and stories which you can email to peter.maher@wits.ac.za.

student-athletes and enhance the profile of the Uni-

Peter Maher

versity is increasingly being acknowledged. With the

Director: Alumni Relations

Vice-Chancellor’s support and under the leadership of a new director, sport at Wits is being revitalised.

March 2015 | WITSReview | 1

















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: A student enjoying Welcome Day 2015. Image credit: Peter Maher

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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 and Keyan G Tomaselli | tomasell@ukzn.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, American Express or Diners Club credit card at: www.wits.ac.za/alumni/payment or by electronic transfer or bank deposit to: First National Bank, Account No. 62077141580, Branch Code 255-005, Ref.No. 1142 (+ your name) or by cash or credit card payment at the Alumni Office.

March 2015 | WITSReview | 3


Letters Letters Letters


Letters Letters


What’s in a ranking? Dear Editor,

It is with increasing concern that I have noted that universities worldwide are basing the measurement of their competence and excellence on the outstanding achievements of a very few individuals. Whilst these are critical, I submit that the people who have made these discoveries would have made them in whatever environment the individual happened to be in. So the achievements so proudly

Letters Letters


Letters Letters

Letters Letters Letters



claimed are, in fact, merely randomly distributed events and are no measure at all of the quality of the university where the achievement was made. I suggest that the true measure of a university’s excellence is the quality of the “ploddie” graduate – people who, like myself, struggle to obtain our degrees and then meld into society to contribute our mite, of whatever nature, to the society around us – the 99% of graduates who simply use their qualifications to earn a living. To measure this would need extensive questionnaire-type research, asking about age, sex, date of birth, degree/s taken, date/s of graduation, and then employment history to see how the degree/s obtained were used by their holders. And do not dismiss the “BA Mrs” degree, because

Methuselah Pythagoras? Dear Editor, I enjoy reading the WITSReview. Keep it coming! I was, however, a bit puzzled about the life-span of Pythagoras in the Volans piece (October 2014, pg 45). I know his dates are historically a little hazy but on my sums he seems to have lived for nearly 500 years. (Of course, I am only a law graduate. If I had studied philosophy or – even better – mathematics, I would probably have no difficulty with this conundrum).

Seamus Smyth (LLB 1971) London, UK

those mothers have better tools to assist their children than their sisters who did not have the

Editor replies: Dear Seamus, well spotted and

privilege of going to university. Their contribution is

typical of the meticulousness displayed by Wits

indirect, but valuable in its own way.

law graduates! I regret that somehow a “4” got

Marguerite Langton (MBBCh 1972, MMed 1993, DOH 1981) Westcliff, Johannesburg

lost in 495BC so it should have read, Pythagoras

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(570BC - 495BC).


The Sin of WITSReview

You make your correspondent feel a tit and you make

Dear Editor,

era when dark persons kept their heads down, gay

Congratulations, Peter, on another nice edition…

persons railed at God, the little woman had tea and

(However), I’ve been intending to raise with you your

pipe and slippers ready for the master of the house’s

Terrible Sin.

homecoming. Civilisation has moved in. Nowadays

Random comments first. To me you are as good a journal as one that has to sing the cheerful song can be. In the deep sense you always have to come second to a journal that can choose for itself when

yourself look like Hitler. That stuff was done in an

you go back to the guy with a polite note saying ‘thanks for these great thoughts and is the attached edit acceptable’. On the rare occasion that agreement is not to be found, you go without the letter.

the dirge is appropriate and when the tra-la-la.

That okay? Otherwise, keep right on. Yay Wits!

Indeed I believe you would be more compelling, and

Denis Beckett (BA 1969, LLB 1971) Parkview, Johannesburg

in the end do better for Wits, if you dealt with the skinder-stories and the rumours and the hairy stuff that does the rounds of cocktail parties and tea urns, but it’s too easy for me to think that. You are the one who has Board, Senate, Vice-Chancellor, Council et al breathing down your collar. I hope that from time to time you give all the censors minor cardiac arrest but I accept that you protect your children’s schooling. The October 2014 edition: Is there in fact any validity whatsoever to these university ratings? I’ll do them the honour of imagining they are not just thumb suck; they measure publications or pass rates or something. But I don’t think it’s only my hardened arteries or low imagination that disbelieve in a rank order of which institution does best for the particular students that it receives in the particular society that it serves. Nice surprise that nearly everyone who died this month died right here below the Limpopo – one New York and one Australia; that must be a record. Altogether delightful Braamfontein connection, including the Bannister Hotel, high and long may it fly.

Editor replies: I was delighted to receive your letter, Denis, and sincerely appreciate the reprimand. You are also absolutely right to point out that a publication such as WITSReview is doing a grave disservice to itself, the University and its readers if it is not credible, honest and balanced. A mature publication should take readers into its confidence and not be fearful of addressing critical, sensitive or difficult issues. I’m sure a dollop of contention also helps to get readers engaged and active. I can’t promise to be perfect… Letters need to be a reasonable length, and my son still might need braces one day, but I do hope readers like you feel free to send your views and perspectives for me to publish.

If you wanted to be really, severely, truthful you would

Regarding global rankings, they are of course

mention that the Randlord’s urinals have a standing

only as good as what they are measuring and

joke, which is that here is where people with a grudge

whether the measuring can be done objectively.

against Wits can indulge the revenge feeling, even

Some systems measure academic standing

pointing directly at Senate House.

and research output using fairly rigorous

Now, the big gripe: This thing of an italic line below the letter-writer’s name saying “this letter has been shortened”. Nay broer, nooit, out, be ashamed.

methods that are useful indicators of relative global strength, but rankings will always be a contentious issue.

March 2015 | WITSReview | 5


STARS AT FOUNDERS’ TEA Astronomer David Block was the keynote speaker at Founders’ Tea held on 27 November 2014 on the Gavin Relly Green, West Campus. Alumnus Professor Block delighted alumni with a talk in which he used the tomes of literary giant John Milton and physicist Galileo Galilei to demonstrate the legacy of books. He appealed to alumni to support “the extraordinary talent at Wits” and reminded them that “passion is caught, not taught”.


Founders are alumni who graduated 40 or more years ago.

(Top left) Flying the flag for Founders: Zena Cohen. (Left) Prof. Block and the foundation of extraordinary talent at Wits.

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BERGER ON BONES IN LONDON Fifty Witsies in the UK attended a talk by alumnus Professor Lee Berger entitled Exploring the Origins of Humanity. The Wits UK Chapter co-hosted the event with University College, London on 18 January 2015. Berger spoke about discovering early hominin fossils that belong to a new species of early human ancestor, and his Rising Star cave expedition. New findings are expected to be announced in April. Berger is Research Professor in Human Evolution and the Public Understanding of Science at Wits, and Explorer in Residence at the National Geographic Society.

Prof. Lee Berger (right) unearthing origins at an alumni event in London.

March 2015 | WITSReview | 7


CLASS OF ’64 RAISES $11K Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Adam Habib and Health Sciences Dean Dr Martin Veller met US-based Medical School alumni at the group’s 50th anniversary since graduating. Fifty-four alumni attended the reunion in Charleston, South Carolina from 21-24 October 2014, where the Class of 1964 arranged a gift of over R130,000 ($11,000) towards the Phillip V. Tobias building at Wits. Planning is underway for a reunion in Newport, Rhode Island in 2016. Email your contact details to Martin Colman (mcolman@utmb.edu) or Peter Weston (pvweston@gmail.com) for updates.

Back row (L-R): Paige Berman Kaplan, Bernard Kaplan, John Lonstein, Martin Veller (Dean), Saul Issroff, Harkishan Magan. Standing (middle): Adrian Martin, Cynthia Cohen Shulman. Seated: Ernest Levy, Dorothy Becker, David Schwartz, Martin Colman.

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HEALTH SCIENCES STRENGTHENS TIES Stanley Bergman, Chairman of the Wits Fund Board of Directors, and his wife, Dr Marion Bergman, hosted a dinner on 26 October 2014 at their New York City home for Vice-Chancellor and Principal Adam Habib, and Dr Martin Veller, Dean of Health Sciences. Other Wits alumni and friends of the University also attended. The ViceChancellor and Dean updated guests on developments at Wits. Dr Veller is overseeing a dramatic expansion of the Faculty of Health Sciences to meet South Africa’s critical healthcare needs, and is working to reinvigorate ties between Health Sciences alumni and the faculty.

Health Sciences Alumni: Front row (L-R): Alan Kisner, Dawn Kisner, Clive Rosendorff, Carole Marcus, Susan Teeger. Back row (L-R): Oskar Weg, Rachel Weg, Stephen Matseoane, Martin Veller (Dean), Marion Bergman, Stephen Joffe, Douglas Duchen. Photo by: Jeffrey Vock Photography.

March 2015 | WITSReview | 9



WISER WOOS WRITER Eminent author and scholar Dr Jonny Steinberg (BA 1992, BA Hons 1993, MA 1996) returns to Wits in April 2015 to join the University’s Distinguished Scholars Programme. He will join WISER, the Wits Institute for Socio-Economic Research. A former Rhodes Scholar, Steinberg holds a doctorate in political theory from Oxford, where he currently teaches. Steinberg is a public intellectual of note and an astute, engaging non-fiction writer. He writes on a range of contemporary questions facing South Africa and Africa. His latest book, A Man of Good Hope (Random House, 2015), records the life history of a Somali man who fled Mogadishu as a child in 1991, grew up itinerant in various East African countries, and finally made his way down Africa’s eastern seaboard to South Africa in his early 20s. The protagonist’s true story is a frame to explore the collapse of state in Somalia, the state’s relationship with undocumented people, and xenophobia in South Africa. Steinberg’s other books include Midlands: A Very South African Murder, which investigates an assassination in rural KwaZulu-Natal in post-democracy South Africa, and The Number, the story of an inmate’s association with the South African prison gangs. Both these books won the Sunday Times Alan Paton Award.

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On 16 December 1939, two Witsies used radar developed at the Bernard Price Institute of Geophysical Research (BPI) to “bounce” radar signals off Northcliff Hill, 10km from Wits. These Witsies were Sir Basil Schonland (honorary DSc 1952) and Prof. Guerino Bozzoli (BSc Eng 1934, honorary DSc Eng 1948, honorary LLD 1978). World War II had broken out and the “bounced” signals were the first radar echo detected in South Africa. Sir Basil led the Special Signals Services (SSS) established at BPI. The SSS built radar stations around SA’s coastline to defend ships against Axis submarine attacks. After the War, Prof. Bozzoli, who became Wits ViceChancellor and Principal, supervised the production of an album commemorating this radar system. The album changed hands frequently but returned to Wits in December 2014 on the 75th anniversary of that first radar signal. At a ceremony at the University on 2 December, the album was handed back to Wits by its last keeper, the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers, for archiving and ultimately digitising. Many alumni were involved in the development or deployment of the radar, in the SSS and the war effort more broadly. Email your stories to alumni@wits.ac.za. Sir Basil Schonland, the driving force behind South Africa’s radar development. Image: wattnow Magazine, November 2014.


ELEPHANT EMPATHY Elephants’ grief at losing one of their own is just one indication of these social animals’ exceptional intelligence and empathy. Scientists have only recently begun to examine the neural architecture in an elephant’s cranium, but already some unique features have emerged. Professor Paul Manger from the School of Anatomical Sciences at Wits says in an article in Scientific American, on 23 February 2014, that what is already apparent is that elephants have neural networks specialised for their extraordinary senses and kinetic (motion) talents. Professor Manger moved to South Africa from the US in 2002 specifically to study the elephant brain.


March 2015 | WITSReview | 11


TOBIAS LEGACY CAST IN STONE The Phillip V Tobias Health Sciences Building officially opened on 29 October 2014. Located at the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences in Parktown, Johannesburg, the PV Tobias Building is part of the Faculty’s expansion to accommodate the increasing demand for healthcare professionals. Health Sciences alumni rallied to cement the legacy of their mentor, the late Emeritus Professor Phillip Tobias. Earlier in 2014, the Class of 1964 raised over R130 000 in an appeal to graduates in the USA, the UK, South Africa, Israel and Australia, led by alumni Dr Martin Colman, Dr Harkishan Magan and Dr Saul Isroff. In 2013, alumni from the Medical School Class of 1983 raised over R151 000 for the building as part of their 30th anniversary commemoration of their graduation.

ALUMNI SUPPORT ATHLETES Student-athletes at Wits have benefited from innovative fundraising by WitsSports. Adrian Carter, Director of the University’s sport management wing, invited alumni to donate for every kilometre that he completed of the 100km Salomon SkyRun trail run in November 2014. Funds raised have supported rugby players Ferdinand Kelly (second-year BA) and Thato Mavundla (third-year BA). Carter’s fundraiser was one of several initiatives that began in 2014 to support the strategic revitalisation of sport at Wits. Trying: WitsSport bursar Thato Mavundla (left). Image supplied by www.saspa.photoshelter.com

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HOW TO SPEND R90-MILLION Wits University announced on 28 October 2014 that it had received a R100-million donation. The individual donor is a long-term friend of the University and has requested anonymity. R10-million of the donation is for the Wits Arts Museum and the remaining R90-million will advance research and/or teaching, as prioritised by the University and determined by a task team. This eight-member committee, comprising representatives of the five faculties and the Deputy Vice-

on 11 December 2014. The committee


agreed that the proposal selection

Peter Bezuidenhoudt (BSc Eng Chem

process comprise two phases: screening

1987, MBA 1997) was appointed

of applicants (Phase 1), and detailed

Director of Development and Fund-

proposals (Phase 2). All proposals must

raising at Wits from January 2015.

significantly advance the University’s

Bezuidenhoudt has experience across

teaching/learning and research activities,

diverse industries and has worked in

align with Wits’ strategic interests and

various roles at Sasol, Standard Bank

be sustainable over multiple years.

and Vodacom. He was Marketing

By 30 January 2015, Chairman Professor

and Communications Director at Wits

Thokozani Majozi had received 72

from 2000 until 2007, and was the

funding applications from the Wits

founder and CEO of Wits Commercial

community. The Faculty of Health

Enterprises. After Wits he was Director

Sciences submitted 20; Humanities, 18;

of Executive Search at Mindcor, MD of

Engineering & the Built Environment,

a leadership development consultancy,

12; Science, 11; and Commerce, Law

and the education sector investment

& Management, 11. The committee

lead for Metier Private Equity, which

concludes Phase 2 on 15 March

culminated in the purchase of the IMM

2015 and will submit its final report

Group. He was the founding CEO of

of fundable projects to the Vice-

Milpark Business School. He also holds

Chancellor’s Office by 30 April 2015.

a BCom (1992) from Unisa.

Chancellors Academic, Research and Postgraduate Affairs, first convened

March 2015 | WITSReview | 13


Dr Soon-Shiong’s

rocket ship He’s a biotech wizard who is using supercomputers and cloud-based technology to revolutionise cancer treatment and global healthcare. He is Wits Medical School graduate (MBBCh 1975), Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong. BY HEATHER DUGMORE

14 | WITSReview | March 2015

March 2015 | WITSReview | 15




ooks like you’re trying to boil the ocean here,” quipped a tech fundi about Los Angeles-based physician, scientist and biotech entrepreneur, Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong’s “rocket ship” project.

In an accent that still retains traces of

He believes his approach can outrace

his South African upbringing, despite

cancer and that it needs to be rolled out

his many years in America, Soon-Shiong

to the entire American nation, and the

responds: “Let me correct you. I am

rest of the world.

boiling the ocean.”

He adds that it is essential to keep

For Soon-Shiong it’s second nature to

checking the patient’s response to the

boil the ocean or take on seemingly

cancer drug they’ve been prescribed,

impossible tasks; it’s what interests him.

because as soon as you give a drug to a

“I like to look for patterns, in science and life. It’s what I do,” he says.

A mega assault on cancer that boils down to 47 seconds The rocket ship is Soon-Shiong’s mega assault on cancer that boils down to one statistic: 47 seconds. This is the amount of time he claims it takes for the supercomputer and medical information highway that his team has developed to complete a patient’s full genomic analysis and identify the protein in their body that will respond best to a particular cancer drug treatment. “It normally takes 11 weeks,” smiles Soon-Shiong.

16 | WITSReview | March 2015

cancer cell, it tries to outrace the drug by spreading to other parts of the body. Because of this, it may require a change in drug in order to outrace the disease.

A tidal-wave-maker in the medical and scientific world At 62-years-old he is a tidal-wave-maker in the medical and scientific world and it clearly suits his disposition as he looks really good. He’s stylish, with a slim physique that flows into his sleek, tailored suits. Matching this is his confidence and audacious intelligence that commands rapt attention at the many high-level conferences and talk shows he is asked to address.


A gift for innovation He is also fabulously wealthy with a current net worth estimated at US$12-billion, which apparently makes him the richest doctor in the world, and the richest person in his home city of Los Angeles. His gift for innovations and fortunes started early in his career when he was working with NASA to study the behaviour of human cells in weightless space. He became fascinated by the role of protein molecules in cells, and it occurred to him that if healthy cells grow by ingesting protein, then it followed that protein could be used to deliver cancer-killing drugs to tumour cells.


Acting on this, in 1991 he founded his first biotech company, called Abraxis BioScience, and developed a highly profitable breast cancer drug called Abraxane, which encases a tumour-fighting drug (paclitaxel) in injectable nano-packets of protein. Abraxane was a breakthrough and a springboard to a couple of billion dollars. In 2010, Celegne, an American biotech company, acquired Abraxis BioScience for $4.5-billion. Another part of the business that produced the blood-thinner Heparin, and other drugs, was sold for $4.6-billion.

This is how it goes for Soon-Shiong and he has since developed a number of highly successful companies, always making sure he takes the media along with him on his seemingly unstoppable ride.

Launch pad for his rocket ship The launch pad for his rocket ship is the Los Angeles headquarters of his parent holding company, NantWorks – a metal and glass biotech empire in LA’s Culver City neighbourhood. A large percentage of his 800 employees are based here. NantWorks comprises different investor groups, all with leading scientists, biologists, doctors, tech specialists, pharmacists and numbers people, working together to launch the rocket ship.

March 2015 | WITSReview | 17


From here they can determine what is driving the cancer at the protein or proteomic level and decide which drug will work most effectively on that particular patient, instead of the traditional approach of assigning particular drugs to particular types of cancer. He cites the example of a drug conventionally used to treat breast cancer, which he prescribed for a patient with metastatic pancreatic cancer, to great effect. “We now have patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer who were given two or three months to live

The challenge “The challenge is to go from DNA to RNA to protein to peptide to drug, and we need to do this in real time,” SoonShiong states.

and who are still free of disease five years out.”

11 weeks is too long Soon-Shiong’s detractors say his 47-second analysis is impossible; that it

“To focus on DNA alone, or make

is more like hours or days. Irrespective,

decisions based on one gene or 250

it’s considerably faster than 11 weeks,

gene targets that are regarded as

and in aggressive types of cancer, where

important out of a total of 22 000 genes,

patients are given two to three months

is questionable. I believe that billions of

to live, 11 weeks is too long.

dollars are being spent on looking at the wrong targets.

Others debunk his entire rocket ship and call him a “showman” who is hyping

What we need to do is look at whole

his businesses and misleading the public

genome sequencing of all 22 000

and the medical fraternity. This irritates

genes because the complexity lies in the

Soon-Shiong and it is the only time when

protein pathways that the DNA encodes.

his cool demeanour is rattled.

This way, we can take every cancer, irrespective of its type, and convert it into its molecular profile.”

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the challenge



March 2015 | WITSReview | 19


“UNFORTUNATELY, WHEN YOU GO OUTSIDE THE ACCEPTED CONVENTIONAL BOUNDS, SOME PEOPLE FEEL THREATENED AND STRIKE OUT” Legal wrangle “Unfortunately, when you go outside the accepted conventional bounds, some people feel threatened and strike out,” he says. Two of his former employees are currently striking out through a lawsuit they filed against him in mid-January 2015 alleging a “multitude of fraudulent activities” at


NantHealth, which is part of NantWorks.

Home for Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong, his wife

They claim that his clinical operating system is 10 years

Michele and their two children is a megaproperty they built in Brentwood, one of the wealthiest zip codes in the United States. The Soon-Shiongs do all the normal family things associated with a wealthy LA lifestyle, including surfing, playing tennis and basketball. Dr Soon-Shiong started shooting hoops in South Africa at the age of 10 and

behind in technological capability, and not ready or reliable enough for extensive use or cloud deployment. NantHealth says the allegations are false and a court case is pending. Irrespective, Soon-Shiong is forging ahead with support from prominent oncologists. One is Professor Gillies McKenna, Head of the Department of Oncology at Oxford University, who says: “If he can make this work, and it will be very difficult, he’s

he now has an indoor basketball court at his

looking at an exponential increase in the amount of data

home. He bought Magic Johnson’s interest

we can base decisions on.”

in the NBA’s Laker and attends Lakers

A huge investment

games as often as possible. He says they’re

To achieve his medical information highway Soon-Shiong

“a sacred space” for him; it’s the only time

has poured more than $800-million into 60 companies,

he stops thinking about work.

university research programmes and his own “do tanks”

Photo: Getty Images. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and his wife attend the Haier Shooting Stars Competition at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

20 | WITSReview | March 2015

to achieve this project. To rapidly move data in real time he purchased and refurbished the National LambdaRail, a high-speed US government computer network, at a cost of $100-million.

WITSIE AT THE CUTTING EDGE Hospital room of the future At the Culver City headquarters he has a mock-up of the typical hospital room he envisages.

the future

The cancer patient will arrive at the hospital for diagnosis. Monitoring patches are used to measure everything from their heart rate to temperature to blood pressure. At the same time the patient’s DNA and the proteins in their blood will be instantly analysed via the superfast network. “What excites me is that these systems are in the cloud, connected by our dedicated, secure fibre network spanning the country,” he explains. Once the patient is sent home, the same technology in the form of a cost-effective home monitoring kit will mean that doctors can continue to monitor the patient in real time. For now it is being used for cancer patients, but in theory the system should be able to work for any ailment.

Implications for developing countries It also has important implications for developing countries where medical teams are in short supply. All being well, a handful of doctors in a computer control room should be able to monitor large numbers of patients in hospitals and clinics irrespective of where they are. In December 2014, NantHealth in partnership with BlackBerry launched the NantOmics Cancer Genome Browser, which, they claim, gives doctors unprecedented access to patients’ genetic data on the BlackBerry Passport smartphone. No doubt there will be significant uptake among the 8000 oncologists across the United States who Soon-Shiong says are already using his genomics superhighway.

Genomics America, China, Africa “I am incredibly encouraged by this and we are launching Genomics America and we want to launch Genomics China, Genomics Africa … we want to take this everywhere. The sharing of information for a common cause is so exciting. This is the path from now on,” he says. “I have an obligation to use what I know to try to bring real, usable medical science to every doctor and patient. My quest is to improve the quality of life through science.”

March 2015 | WITSReview | 21

From South Africa and Wits to the United States


Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong’s family left China for Port Elizabeth in South Africa at the outset of World War II. They could see the storm clouds gathering over Japan and they wanted to remove themselves from the devastation to come. A CLASSMATE REFLECTS Soon-Shiong’s internship period was during the 1976 Soweto uprising and the Class of ’75 interns witnessed much of the horror firsthand. One of these was Wits alumna Dr Cheryl Levitt (MBBCh 1975), now a professor in family medicine at McMaster


outh Africa already had an established Chinese community by this time. Chinese people had moved to South Africa in fairly large numbers from the 1870s, after the discovery of diamonds and gold. Patrick’s father, Chan, was a skilled, traditional

Chinese medicine practitioner, and he had a grocery store to supplement the family’s income.

Wits Medical School and the Joburg Gen

University in Canada. “I was an intern in

“In apartheid South Africa I wasn’t black or white, I was

internal medicine on call at Baragwanath

Chinese,” says Soon-Shiong. “So I couldn’t vote, I had to sit at

Hospital during the Soweto uprising, which started on June 16,” she recalls. “It was frightening and unreal. My job was to

the back of the bus and I couldn’t own property, but I could go to a movie or sports game. That was just how life was,” he says. “What really inspired me was the dignity of the black people and how they stood up to apartheid. It inspired me then and it

discharge as many patients as possible to

inspires me today.”

free up beds for injured patients coming

Apartheid’s twilight zone

from surgery. It was chaotic. I remember that week in mid-June like it was yesterday.

Refusing to be swallowed up by apartheid’s twilight zone, SoonShiong secured a place for himself at the then predominantly

Fortunately Wits Medical School had

white Wits Medical School.

taught us to do our very best at all times,

As a Chinese medical student he worked in the black hospitals.

to be caring and unselfish doctors. These

When he graduated, only the top four students in his class

lessons have been the foundation of my

of 200 were selected to do their internship at the best white

professional life.”

hospital in Johannesburg, the Johannesburg General Hospital. He was in the top four and the government granted permission for his internship on condition that he accepted a 50% salary. “So I was the first Chinese to work in a white hospital,” he says.

22 | WITSReview | March 2015

PAGE NAME “That Chinaman” While at the Joburg General Hospital, Soon-Shiong

Canada, the US and the first successful pancreatic transplant on the West Coast

gained invaluable experience in a wide range of

He moved with his South African actress wife, Michele

pathologies and patient problems. He also had to deal

B. Chan (best known for her role as Mei Jan in the

with some racist encounters, which he recounts with

series MacGyver) to Vancouver to do a Master’s

sardonic humour. One incident involved an Afrikaans

degree at the University of British Columbia.

patient with a complex sinus condition who was reluctant to be examined by a “Chinaman”. When Soon-Shiong cured the patient’s problem, he swung to the opposite extreme and made a point of saying to fellow patients: “That Chinaman, make sure you get him to examine you.” Soon-Shiong chose to specialise in the pancreas and, later, pancreatic cancer. Why? “Because the pancreas is by far the most complex organ in the body,”

From here they moved to the United States and he completed his surgical training at the University of California, Los Angeles. By the age of 30 he had performed the first successful pancreatic transplant on the West Coast. A career as a surgeon and academic was rolled out before him, but he turned this down to pursue his giant biotech dreams.

explained the brilliant young doctor, who decided the

On the passing of Madiba

time had come to pursue life beyond South Africa.

Soon-Shiong returned to South Africa with his family seven years ago to show his children the country. As part of their trip they visited Robben Island and Nelson


Mandela’s prison cell. On Madiba’s passing, Soon-Shiong says he felt “great emotion”. “He was a great man. Without his vision and insight, and ability to bring his captors into the government, we could have had terrible bloodshed.”

THE CHAN SOON-SHIONG FOUNDATION, named after Patrick SoonShiong’s father, Chan, is aimed at expanding healthcare to those who cannot afford it. It pledged $55-million to St John’s Medical Center in Santa Monica in 2008 and has since increased this pledge to more than $100-million and provided a further $100-million in underwriting guarantees to help reopen LA’s Martin Luther King Jr Medical Center. The hospital serves the impoverished in South Central Los Angeles. In September of 2009 Soon-Shiong joined Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and over 30 other billionaires in making the pledge to donate half his wealth to charity.


March 2015 | WITSReview | 23


In 2012, an artist and an architect collaborated to create Release, a sculpture honouring Nelson Mandela at the site where he was captured in KwaZulu-Natal in 1962. Marco Cianfanelli and Jeremy Rose regrouped in 2014 to craft falcons and forests in a mall in Abu Dhabi.

Falcons & Freedom Fighters BY DEBORAH MINORS




oburg-born Cianfanelli graduated with a

unexpected connections in social forces to emerge.

distinction in Fine Arts from Wits in 1993.

Locating Release in the rolling Midlands landscape

He is an artist “constantly looking to realise

was thus not only accurate, but deliberate – and

art where one doesn’t expect to find it”.

required an architect.

A rambling road in KwaZulu-Natal’s

Midlands is one such space. It was on such a road that Nelson Mandela, operating “underground”, was driving on 5 August 1962, posing as a chauffeur. Just outside Howick, he was flagged down by apartheid police. They’d been tipped off about the driver’s real identity. Mandela was

Jeremy Rose (BArch 1988) is Principal Architect at Mashabane Rose Architects in Johannesburg. His consultancy work focuses on museums and cultural heritage site projects, and has included designing the Apartheid Museum and the Robben Island heritage site.

exposed, arrested and eventually imprisoned for 27

Cianfanelli and Rose regrouped in May 2014.

years. Cianfanelli’s sculpture Release, of Mandela at

A property firm commissioned them to install a

this capture site, was unveiled 50 years later on

sculpture in Yas Mall, which opened on Yas Island

4 August 2012.

in the United Arab Emirates in November 2014.

The sculpture is made from 50 steel columns, each about 8-metres tall and planted on a concrete base. The sculpture comes into focus from 35-metres and the image of Mandela emerges.

The artwork, currently untitled but referred to as the Swooping Falcons, is made of 140 tonnes of steel. The Swooping Falcons, like Release, fluctuate with the viewer’s perspective.

Viewed from the side, however, the design and

The mall doors open to a massive sculpture of

arrangement of the columns create a sense of

six falcons aloft 132 columns, each 18-metres

fracture – or release. The sculpture is affected by

tall. “The idea is that, as you move around the

the changing light around it, and visually shifts

sculpture, you see different falcons from different

throughout the day. It both exerts influence on and

angles,” explains Cianfanelli. “From any position,

is part of its surroundings.

you will see one falcon and the others will

Silhouettes of human figures, like Release, are characteristic of Cianfanelli’s art – colossal works

break apart, becoming an expression of rhythm, movement or flight.”

in steel. He creates monumental silhouettes

Whichever way you look at it, this artistic alumni

that juxtapose with other shapes and enable

collaboration continues to soar.

March 2015 | WITSReview | 25

ART Kemang Wa Lehulere won the 2015 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Visual Art, which culminates in a solo exhibition at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival in July 2015 and a country-wide tour. In 2014, he won the first International Tiberius Art Award Dresden, which recognises outstanding contemporary artists outside Europe, for his work My Joburg. The Johannesburg art scene. BY DEBORAH MINORS

26 | W WITSReview WI ITS TSR Re evi view ew | Marc March M Ma arc rch h2 20 2015 015 15

I can’t laugh anymore (2015) Chalk on blackboard paint



Wits Fine Arts graduate (2011), Wa Lehulere, 30, was born in Cape Town and returned there recently from Johannesburg. A multidisciplinary artist, he works across

media including drawing, painting, writing, video, performance and sculpture, in a practice which explores histories and identity, boundaries, and the literal and metaphorical spatial relations of things. Wa Lehulere’s 2015 exhibition at Stevenson, To whom it may concern, uses sculpture, video, Polaroids and drawings to explore memories of the past. It focuses on South African writer Nat Nakasa’s

Impermanence made permanent

exit from South Africa in 1964, and his suicide in the US in 1965. Wa Lehulere’s work considers real and metaphorical histories – and then eradicates them. He says, “I have a great mistrust for most things permanent.” In I can’t laugh anymore, Wa Lehulere demonstrates his distrust of permanence with chalk-on-blackboard drawings. A building reminiscent of Wits’ Great Hall is depicted. Based on Greek architecture, the style is encountered globally. An important aspect of Wa Lehulere’s blackboard drawings is their hyper-visibility and subsequent invisibility; the nature of using chalk on blackboard ultimately results in the complete disappearance of the work. What is permanent, however, is Wa Lehulere’s formidable impression on the arts. He has had four solo exhibitions, including A Conversation with a Homeless Piece of Grass in Germany (2014), while last year’s group shows (which number 50 in total) included Public Intimacy: Art and Social Life in South Africa in the USA. Born into a creative family – his mother was a singer, his cousins worked in theatre – he honed his skills at Cape Town’s Community Arts Project, earning a diploma in Visual Arts (2004). In 2006 he co-founded the Gugulective arts collective, to make the arts accessible in townships. In 2007 he was joint winner of the Spier Contemporary Art Award, which enabled him to study at Wits. © KEMANG WA LEHULERE | COURTESY OF STEVENSON, CAPE TOWN AND JOHANNESBURG | PHOTO BY: MARIO TODESCHINI

March 2015 | WITSReview | 27













In 2014 Wits formally adopted a strategy to revitalise sports. By attracting high-calibre student-athletes while supporting academic achievement, Wits aims to regain its former sporting glory. This feature is the first in a series in WITSReview to celebrate sporting achievement and alumni in sport.


back on the ball

WITSReview | March 2015









its officially became a University in 1922. By 1939, the fully-fledged All Sports Council, (which had formerly been a committee under the auspices of the SRC) was

formed and Wits had established itself as one of the leading sports incubators in South Africa. In particular, Wits athletes, rowers and swimmers dominated intervarsity tournaments. Rugby and cricket emerged as favourites, and hockey, tennis, boxing, fencing and golf flourished. Football, squash, ice hockey, shooting, cycling, and baseball also attracted interest. Commitment to sports waxed and waned in the 1940s, however, with the demands of World War II and, later, apartheid. Although Wits had admitted black students since 1934, segregation persisted – as did linguistic separatism. For example, in athletics, Afrikaans and English-medium universities competed separately, their amalgamation prevented by the Studente-Atletiekbond’s adherence to the colour bar, resistance to including normal colleges, and the participation of women. In 1973, black sports bodies established a sports wing for the liberation movements, known as the South African Council on Sport (SACOS). The volatile 1980s brought international sports and cultural boycotts. At universities countrywide, including Wits, black students boycotted sports to protest apartheid.




champions Many alumni have been South African champions, Springboks or Olympians, including:

The South African Tertiary Institutions Sports Council (SATISCO) – which included a broad spectrum of tertiary


institutions from universities, through technikons and

Dr Ali Bacher (MBBCh 1967, honorary LLD 2001)

colleges of education, to agricultural colleges – called


on students to boycott sports. SATISCO’s poster campaign urged students to “Reject racist sports! Join

Tefu Mashamaite (BA 2006)



Democratisation in the 1990s presented new

Paddy Dobson (BSc Eng Civil 1948) and Don Walker (BSc Eng Civil 1949)

opportunities. On 27 February 1990, representatives of the South African Universities Sports Council


conference on unity in tertiary sport took place at

Bruce Fordyce (BA 1978, BA Hons 1979, honorary LLD 2007), Hendrick Ramaala (BProc 1995, LLB 1997), and Jan Mallen (BA 1980)

UCT on 22-23 April 1991. On 8 December 1992,


the fully representative South African Student Sports

Dr John Myburgh (MBBCh 1981), Dan Robinson (BArch 1950) and Ian Stephen (BSc Eng Elec 1950, MSc Eng 1965)

and SATISCO met at Wits to begin negotiations to unify sports at tertiary institutions. The first ever

Union was established to negotiate sport unity across tertiary institutions. The South African Student Sports Union (SASSU) came into being on 16 April 1994, reconstituted on 19 April 2008 in its current form,


University Sports South Africa (USSA).

Azar Jammine (BA 1970, BSc 1973, BSc Hons 1970) and Dr Alan Menter (MBBCh 1966)

Today Wits boasts some of the finest sports facilities in


Johannesburg, enabling participation in over 34 sports. The dominant sports codes at Wits now are basketball, cricket, football, hockey, netball, and rugby. In 2014, Wits formally adopted a new strategy to revitalise sports at the University. Wits envisages reclaiming its former sporting glory by nurturing exceptional student-athletes while supporting academic achievement. All editions of the WITSReview in 2015 will feature Wits sporting greats, past and present, sports triumphs, and sports-related developments at Wits. EMAIL YOUR SPORTS STORIES, HEROES, AND MEMORIES TO ALUMNI@WITS.AC.ZA.

Dr Desmond Cohen (MBBCh 1949) and Dr Hilton Selvey (MBBCh 1951)

TENNIS Raymond Weedon (BSc Eng 1962)

TRACK Jannie Joubert (BSc Eng 1941), Paul Nash (BCom 1970), and Dr Vic Turnbull (MBBCh 1941) Witsies can also be found on the sidelines or in sports administration. These include physiotherapist Wayne Diesel (BSc Physiotherapy 1986); sports medicine specialist Dr Catherine Lester (MBBCh 2004); Sharks rugby team Chairman Terry Rosenberg (BCom MBA 1970, MCom 1971); and Chief Operations Officer of the Premier Soccer League, Professor Ronnie Schloss (BSc Quantity Surveying 1968).

WITSReview | March 2015

Tukkies (University of Pretoria) abducts Phineas II, setting in motion a series of raids between Wits and Tukkies students.



The South African Student Sports Union (SASSU) is established on 8 December to begin negotiations to unify sport at South African tertiary institutions.





The first Sportsman of the Year trophy, donated by Convocation President, W. Grant Mackenzie, is presented. The recipient was Empire Games athlete, Gordon Day.


Witsie Sol Kerzner becomes the University’s welterweight boxing champion and earns South African Universities colours.

Wits boat club wins the annual intervarsity for the first time and then successively for four years.

On 16 April, the South African Student Sports Union (SASSU) is officially constituted to unify sports at historically separated ‘black’ and ‘white’ tertiary institutions.

The first annual Wits Road Race, co-hosted by Alumni Relations and Varsity Kudus takes place on 31 July. Thousands of Witsies, alumni and Joburgers tackle the 21km, 10km, or 5km fun-run.

1999 Sonja Laxton (BSc 1970, BSc Hons 1973) is the first woman in South Africa to be awarded Springbok colours in track, crosscountry and road running.

Wits Rugby wins the Varsity Shield, earning a place in the 2013 Varsity Cup.




Wits’ first mascot, Phineas II, makes his debut at the intervarsity boxing match on 12 May.

The All Sports Council, formerly the All Sports Committee (a sub-division of the SRC) is established at Wits




Wits Medical School graduate Ali Bacher captains the national team in a series against Australia at home. South Africa wins all four tests.

Hendrick Ramaala (BProc 1995, LLB 1997) wins the New York Marathon.


Wits wins the Dalrymple Cup for intervarsity athletics for a record sixth consecutive time.




On 17 March, black sports bodies establish the South African Council on Sport (SACOS) as the sports wing of the liberation movements, to develop non-racial sport.

The Wits mascot, Kudos Kudu, is introduced to inspire Witsies to greater glory.


1949 The influx of ex-servicemen to Wits develops rugby and 10 Witsies are selected to play against the touring New Zealand All Blacks.

Bruce Fordyce (BA 1978, BA 1979, LLD 2007) wins the first of eight consecutive Comrades Marathons. He wins again in 1990.

1981 2010

On 19 April, the South African Student Sports Union (SASSU) is re-constituted as University Sports South Africa (USSA).


The Wits Spirit Squad is formed under the leadership of international cheerleading competitor, Nicole Herdman.

Wits wins the Transvaal Premier League cricket for the first time.

Representatives of the South African Universities Sports Council (SAUSC) and students of the South African Tertiary Institutions Sports Council (SATISCO) meet at Wits on 27 February to explore the possibility of achieving unity in university sports.

Wits University hosts the training camps of the national side, Bafana Bafana, and the Dutch national football team during the 2010 FIFA World Cup held in South Africa. Bidvest-Wits FC make history when they win the Nedbank Cup at the inaugural match at Soccer City, Soweto.

A six-member crew of the Wits yacht club place sixth out of 37 competitors in the Cape to Rio race on 28 January. Wits Lady Bucks basketball team become the first Wits team in recent history to win a University Sports South Africa title.


Wits soccer club wins the Southern Transvaal League First Division for the first time.






WITSReview | March 2015













Heather Dugmore speaks to Wits alumnus Dr Wayne Diesel (BSc Physio 1986) as he leaves Tottenham Hotspur in the United Kingdom to move to the Miami Dolphins in the United States.


ife in South Africa taught me that irrespective of whether you are receiving rewards or taking knocks, you need to keep going forward to create

something special,” says Wayne Diesel as he closes the door on eight years as the Head of Medical Services for Tottenham Hotspur FC, the North


London-based Premier League football team. On 1 February 2015 he started the next chapter of his life, as the Performance Director of the Miami Dolphins – the Florida-based American football team in the NFL (National Football League). The Miami Dolphins will be his next elite sporting appointment in a career that includes being Head Physiotherapist for several South African national teams, including the 1996 South African Olympic Games team and the Springbok rugby team from 1998 to 2002. The challenge of being responsible for the

Wayne Diesel’s career includes being Head Physiotherapist for several South African national teams, including: Women’s gymnastics 1991 – 1995 Men’s hockey 1993 – 1997 Springbok rugby 1998 – 2002 Bafana Bafana in Burkina Faso for the Africa Cup of Nations 1998 SA team at the All Africa Games 1994 Olympic Games 1996 Commonwealth Games 1998

medical and performance side of these giant professional teams has kept him hungry for knowledge and innovation over the years.

In 2002, he was appointed as Head Physiotherapist to Gloucester Rugby FC in the United Kingdom. A year later he was appointed Head of Medical Services for Charlton Athletic FC, where he remained for four seasons. In 2007 he moved to Tottenham Hotspur FC as Head of Medical Services. In 2015 he moved to Florida as Performance Director of the Miami Dolphins. PHOTO: GALLO IMAGES

WITSReview | March 2015








Managing the pressure “You have to keep learning because the day you think you know everything is the day you know nothing,” he quips. “At the same time you have to believe in your

the University of Edinburgh. Christine is in the fourth year of her veterinary studies at the University of Liverpool. Jean, née Beaton, is also a physiotherapy graduate from Wits, where she and

need to do. If you can achieve this, the

Wayne met. Jean had a physiotherapy practice in

The demands of keeping Spurs players in

Croydon, which meant a three-hour

peak condition for 55 matches per season

round trip drive to work from the south

in a multi-billion dollar industry proved an

of London to the north of London for

ultra high-pressure environment.


Diesel explains that there are a few

His workplace was the new Tottenham

factors that helped him to manage the

Hotspur medical and performance

pressures of his job:

facility in Enfield, North London, which

“You need a stable personal life, and I count myself fortunate to have a supportive, loving family. You also need to remain physically and mentally fit. As part of this, I would leave for work I would then go for a run and organise my day before everyone arrived.”

he helped to design. Everything in the high performance universe is available here, including an altitude chamber where players can train at low oxygen concentrations to challenge their cardiovascular system.

Teamwork At Spurs he worked with a team of 18

Diesel has notched up a number of

full-time staff members – all leaders in

marathons, including the Two Oceans. He

their field – including doctors, physio-

still regularly visits South Africa, where his

therapists, psychologists, sports scientists,

father, Vincent Diesel, lives in Fourways,

massage therapists…

Joburg, a few kilometres from Diesel’s boyhood hunting ground.

Work on three continents “As a schoolboy at Bryanston High School


Deloitte in London. He has a degree from

your head down and focus on what you

around 05:30 each day to get there early.

South African flanker Bob Skinstad (L) stretches with the help of team physiotherapist Wayne Diesel (C) next to teammate Robbie Fleck (R).

Nicholas is now a financial analyst with

ability, which comes with experience, put

rest will take care of itself.”



“At this level it is so important to have an outstanding medical team that you implicitly trust around you, and with whom you can take decisions,” he explains.

I could never have imagined that I would

What he emphasises is that “a team is

one day work on three continents,”

so much more than a collection of skilled

he muses, as he packs up his home in


Croydon, South London, where he and his wife Jean raised their two children, Nicholas and Christine.


waynediesel “It’s equally about personalities; about people who can work well together and get on with each other. If they can’t, the whole team becomes dysfunctional,” says Diesel, who often sees more of his team than he does of his family, particularly during the season. He explains that a significant component of team wellbeing – and he applies this to all teams – is the psychological side: “In Premier League football, for example, some players cope better than others with the stresses of the game and of being public figures and celebrities. Players are advised on how to cope with all aspects of this, including the media. Social media, for one, has played havoc in many of their lives. At first they thrived on it but now they are far more wary of it, and far more responsible about what they share.” Then there are the stresses of being injured. In such an event, Diesel and his team would decide on the best treatment regime possible, even if it meant flying a player across the world to a leading surgeon in that field.

World-class specialists “We flew an injured Spurs player, Ledley King, to South Africa, to consult with orthopaedic surgeons there. South Africa still has some of the best surgeons and specialists in the world,” he explains. With treatment approaches changing all the time, he is regularly in contact with people from all over the world who are working on new performance enhancement or rehabilitation techniques. The multinational, multicultural mix of players also requires a range of treatment techniques. “We have to try to understand the culture and beliefs of our players, and to appropriately adapt our treatments so that they are palatable and effective,” he says. PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES WITSReview | March 2015













Whether the relentless pursuit to extend mental and physical fitness levels will ever reach a peak from where they cannot further improve is yet to be determined. For now, the push continues.

Wits’ influence on my life Diesel counts himself fortunate to have graduated as a physiotherapist when Sports Science was still in its infancy in South Africa and worldwide, as he was able to get ahead relatively quickly in a new field. “Wits University and the Wits Physiotherapy Department were a huge influence on my life, as well as the lives of my four brothers, who all studied at Wits – one studied Electrical Engineering, another Mechanical Engineering, and two studied Computer Science,” he says. He too, first pursued the Computer Science route at Wits but after completing his first year he applied to study Physiotherapy. “I had always had an interest in medicine and sport, but I hadn’t connected the two, until, on my Dad’s advice, I went to speak to a friend of his, Jenny Crocker (then Mason-Jones), who was a lecturer in the Physiotherapy Department at the time. “Everything clicked into place for me from there and I was accepted into Physiotherapy, where I had exceptional input from the team, including the late Prof. Johlyne Beenhakker, Prof. Cecelia Eales and Prof. Aimee Stewart.”

WITSReview | March 2015








Hillbrow and Rockey Street He has fond memories of his time at Wits, and of living in Hillbrow, where he experienced the alternative music and cultural life of Hillbrow, and Rockey Street in Yeoville, as well as the Free People’s Concerts on Wits campus. It signalled a future when South Africans would be able to work, eat, sing, dance and pray together. As a first-year student he represented Wits at an intervarsity soccer tournament in Port Elizabeth. The following year he was once again selected for the intervarsity team but landed up in hospital with a fractured vertebra following a motorbike accident.



“I was deeply disappointed to be out of the tournament,” he recalls. “Fortunately there were some upsides: Jean visited me when I was lying on my back at the Joburg General Hospital, and we started seeing each other from then on. I was also asked to provide physiotherapy for the team, which sparked my interest in working in team sport.” After graduating in 1986, Diesel practised at the Joburg General Hospital (now the Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital but still widely known as the Joburg Gen) for two years before opening his own practice in Rivonia, Sandton, in 1990.


waynediesel From Spurs to Fins Now he’s jetting off to Fort Lauderdale to start a new


life in America. Jean has already sold her practice, and will meet him over there. “The scale of the Miami Dolphins and working in an entirely new sport for me will be a huge challenge,” says Diesel. “They have 63 players on their roster and 50 players are eligible to play in each Superbowl match, so they all need to be peaking.” The Dolphins’ practice facility is on the campus of Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale. “Part of my role will be to link medical programmes,

Sports Science Institute

research and internships with the university, which greatly appeals to me,” says Diesel. He would like

In 1995 Diesel was invited to head the Physiotherapy

the Dolphins and Nova to host an international

side of the Sports Science Institute in Cape Town,

conference with a sporting theme in the near future.

where he worked with Professor Tim Noakes.

“When I get the go-ahead, I’ll definitely be looking to

In 1996 he was appointed as Head Physiotherapist for the South African Olympic team. He missed the “once in a lifetime opportunity” of attending the

involve prominent South African speakers to present at the conference.”

opening ceremony, instead helping Penny Heyns pre-

American football in the United Kingdom

pare for her swim the following day. The disappoint-

And while he says goodbye to Spurs, it won’t be the

ment of missing the ceremony quickly evaporated

end of their relationship.

when she gave the SA team a perfect start by making Olympic Games history – winning gold medals in both the 100-metre and 200-metre breaststroke events. Diesel was with the Sports Science Institute for seven years, during which time he was appointed Head Physiotherapist for the Springboks.

“American football is being popularised in the United Kingdom. It’s a clever, proactive move by America’s NFL, which is playing several fixtures in London and drawing crowds of over 70 000,” he explains. Spurs is keen to collaborate with the NFL and host American football games once White Hart Lane has

He worked with the Springboks until 2002, when his

been rebuilt, and the medical and performance staff

family moved to the United Kingdom after he was

from Spurs and the Fins are keen to learn from each

made an offer by Gloucester Rugby Football Club


(FC), followed by Charlton FC, where he remained for four years.

“It’s really a great development,” says Diesel, who has played no small part in this. “It also means that I can maintain a strong relationship with Spurs in what promises to be a win-win all round.”

WITSReview | March 2015









Olympic hockey gold medalist, Liz Chase – an invaluable member of the Wits Sport administration team and an outstanding hockey coach – was instrumental in securing Wits’ long-awaited synthetic hockey turf.








ituated at the Wits Education

A former Physical Education lecturer who was

Campus, the turf was officially opened

appointed to the staff of the Johannesburg

22 February 2014 and an enthusiastic

College of Education in 1983, Liz joined Wits

gathering of past and present staff

Sport in 2000 following JCE’s amalgamation

and students attended the event. It was a

with the University. She retires later this year

memorable occasion and an opportunity to

and the hockey turf is a tribute to her dedication

celebrate Wits’ proud hockey history and the

not only to Wits Hockey but also to school and

current first XI’s performances in the Varsity

university sport in general.

Cup and Gauteng Premier Leagues.

“What would greatly please me is to see

The R12-million hockey turf project required

physical education teachers appointed in all

a huge collaborative fund-raising effort.

South African schools. It is a source of great

Several alumni, notably Steve Jaspan and

frustration that the state schooling system does not recognise the invaluable

Cathie Markus, contributed generously to the project, as did Helpmekaar High School (R5-million), a private high school which adjoins Wits PHOTO BY MARK SANDERS

in Braamfontein that will also use the turf, and the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (R3-million). The University and the Wits Foundation contributed the


balance of R4-million.

role these teachers play,” she says. “There are so many stimulating ways of teaching sport at schools to encourage young people to be fit, active and competitive, but you need teachers who are skilled in physical education to help develop this. Increasingly, we are seeing students arriving

“From 2000, under the leadership of John

at university who are keen to play sport but

Baxter, the then Director of Wits Sport, we

who have never been taught the basics, not

campaigned and fund-raised for the hockey

even in the foundation phase, never mind at

turf and it is great that it has become a reality.

senior level. Participation and the cultivation of

It really raises the bar for Wits Hockey,” says

a will to win and competitive sporting spirit are

Chase who is no stranger to success. She played

important to development.”

for South Africa in the 1970s and Zimbabwe in the 1980s and scored one of the goals that saw Zimbabwe beat Czechoslovakia 2-1 in the final of the women’s hockey competition at the 1980 Moscow Olympics to earn the gold medal.

“Participation in sport also provides an invaluable platform in the workplace. It’s important to recognise the value of teamwork and this aspect is part and parcel of sport.”

WITSReview | March 2015











Slam-dunk: Wits Lady Bucks are SA University Sports champions.





The Wits women’s basketball first team – called the Wits Lady Bucks – have reaped rewards for their efforts over the past few years. In 2014 they did Wits proud when they won gold for the first time at the intervarsity USSA team tournament.


WITSReview W WI WIT IT TSR SRe Re R eview view | March vie Mar M Ma a arrcch h 20 201 2015 01 0 15









he Wits Lady Bucks’ winning streak is not about luck, it’s about total dedication from the

players and the path to victory that


has been paved since 1998 by top alumni players who are the role models for the current players. Lydia “Skillz” Monyepao is one of them.

Metallurgical engineer Xoli Mahlangu Another top alumna basketball player is Xoli Mahlangu, who studied metallurgical engineering at Wits and graduated in 2013. She is now a metallurgist at BHP Billiton in Witbank. She captained the Wits Lady Bucks in 2010, 2012 and 2013. “I had an amazing time at Wits and basketball played a big part in this,” she says. “I was encouraged to play by a medical student,

“Students attract students and

Lenny Mogoba, who is still in the team. In my

those of us who enjoyed playing

first year she saw me shooting hoops – I had

basketball at Wits would encourage

played at high school – and she invited me to

other women students to come and

come to practice at Hall 29.

join us,” says this talented basketball and football player who graduated with a BCom from Wits in 2001.

Lydia “Skillz” Monyepao As a student Monyepao played for the national women’s football side, Banyana Banyana, in 1998 and at the World Student Games Basketball in 1999.

“I’m short, which isn’t traditional for basketball, but I made up for this by playing smart, being fast on the court and good at ball handling. I would out-dribble and out-manoeuvre the taller girls. They put me straight into the first team as point guard,” Mahlangu says.

Commitment, focus, discipline She believes the team’s commitment and understanding of the intense focus and discipline

On graduating she

required of each player is what helped them to

became a full-time Sports

develop into winners:

Officer at Wits until 2012 and she is now the Deputy Director of Sport at the University of Pretoria.

“Apart from playing together we socialised together. When you know each other very well, you learn how to read each other and how to play to each other’s strengths. Most

“Sport opened many doors

importantly, you also learn to deal with any

for me and it gave me the op-

frustrations or fallouts, discuss them and get

portunity to travel as a student,” she says. The World Student Games Basketball was played in Spain, and she went to China and South Korea with the South African student football team.



over them. As captain, if any of my team members were having a disagreement, I would assign them to wash the kit together so that they were forced to face the issue.”


The Vaal University of Technology (VUT) and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) were the top teams during Mahlangu’s time. In her final year, the Wits Lady Bucks beat UJ at University Sports South Africa (USSA), but were knocked out in the semi-finals. One year later, the Lady Bucks clinched gold, beating VUT in the finals. It was an outstanding win because everyone believed VUT, who had won USSA for several years, were unbeatable. She says a lot of credit for the first team’s growth and achievement must be given to the two men who have coached the Wits Lady Bucks over the years: Tshiamo


Women’s basketball clinches Sportswomen of the Year It’s a mission of hers to encourage more women students to play basketball, and, with Lady Bucks role models like Fortunate Bosega, the 2013 Wits Sportswoman of the Year, and Modiegi Mokoka, the 2014 Sportswoman of the Year, there’s no looking back. Both the first and second teams have fought hard to start winning, and now that the wins have started coming, they want to win more than anything.

Ngakane, now the men’s first team coach, and the

“Success breeds success, and several of the second team

current women’s first team coach from 2010, Willie

players have improved enough to be promoted to the

Matlakala. “They are without doubt two of the best

first team,” says Maseko. “I am so proud of the USSA

coaches in South Africa,” she says.


Coach Willie Matlakala

The basketball alumni are close-knit

“We set our sights on winning gold at the USSA, and

She adds that the basketball alumni are a close-knit

we have now achieved this,” says Matlakala, who lives

group who pull together whenever their help is needed,

the dedication he requires from the players. Working

and who turn out in their numbers for the two annual

full-time as an auditor with Joburg Water, he heads to

tournaments that Wits hosts: the Ashraf Lodewyk

Wits on Tuesdays and Thursdays after work to coach the

Memorial Basketball Tournament and the Wits Lady

first team, and dedicates his weekends to matches.

Bucks Tournament.

“I love basketball. I was fortunate to get a sports schol-

Ashraf Lodewyk was a Wits student and first team

arship when I was studying at the Tshwane University of

men’s basketball player who was killed in a motor

Technology, and I want to give back,” he says.

vehicle accident. The tournament is now in its 11th year

Senior associate Manyani Maseko

and is the largest varsity and club tournament on the calendar, with 30 teams (men’s and women’s) coming

Another first team player who has contributed her all

to Wits from all over South Africa, and from Swaziland

to Wits women’s basketball is Manyani Maseko. She

and Zimbabwe.

graduated with an LLB from Wits in 2009 and is now a senior associate at Phukubje Pierce Masithela Attorneys in Rosebank, Johannesburg, specialising in ICT, media and telecommunications. She is the General Secretary of USSA Basketball and helps to coach the second team after hours. “It’s the highlight of my week. I know I am going to my ‘kids’ and that every one of them will show up for practice.”

The Wits Lady Bucks Tournament is a women-only tournament held on Women’s Day, where high school teams from all over Joburg are invited to participate, to encourage women’s sports, particularly basketball. “Both are incredible events which attract so much support, including alumni and both male and female students,” says Maseko. “It’s wonderful to see basketball at Wits attracting the crowds.”

WITSReview | March 2015


Q & A with Dr Arthur Rubenstein BY DEBORAH MINORS

48 | WITSReview | March 2015

MEDICAL LEGACY During your decade as Dean you revitalised

We worked in teams and learned to rely

the school’s financial standing and reputation.

on each other; a model now embraced

What has been your most significant legacy?

by the US healthcare system.

First, I would say that while creative administrators

When I wanted to learn how to do research, Drs

are important to any organisation, Penn’s

Hymie Stein and Godfrey Getz taught me elements

physicians and scientists deserve the major credit

of the scientific method, which I expanded when

for the school and health system’s successes. I

I worked in London with Sir Russell Fraser.

am most proud of leaving Penn Medicine well-

Dr Arthur Rubenstein (MBBCh 1960, honorary DSc Medicine 2001) was Wits’ Most Distinguished Medical Graduate in 1960. In 2009, the Association of American Medical Colleges gave him the Flexner Award for eminent service to medical education. In 2011, he retired as Dean of the Perelman School of Medicine and Executive Vice-President for the Health System at the University of Pennsylvania.

positioned for the future, academically

How did your research enable you to testify in the 1985 trial of Claus von Bulow, who was acquitted of attempting to murder his wife?

and financially, with

The challenging issue was whether the very

a faculty committed

low blood sugar measured in his wife’s blood

to excellence, and a

was due to injection of insulin, or due to

diverse, outstanding

spontaneous causes. I had discovered ways

student body.

to differentiate these two conditions.

You’re a physician,

You said at a commencement address

diabetes researcher,

that the essential characteristic for doctor-

academic leader

patient relationships is humility. Why?

and teacher. To

Humility is important because it is the opposite

what extent did Wits prepare you for these roles? Any memorable anecdotes?

of arrogance. Given what it takes to become a physician, if we are not mindful, arrogance may become second nature and that is very dangerous. Doctors can learn from their patients, and we need to assure our patients and their families that we are

My training at Wits

open to them. We are privileged to be physicians,

Medical School was

but we are not “better” than anyone else. Humility

exemplary. I cannot

ensures we listen carefully and with an open mind.

stress how much I

You left South Africa in the 1960s because

benefited from my teachers, who were outstanding role models. Anatomy and Physiology courses included lectures

apartheid was “intolerable”. Do you retain ties and what is your opinion of developments here since you left? I have family in South Africa and many colleagues.

by Phillip Tobias and Sydney Brenner, who were

I am delighted with developments since President

incredibly inspiring. Guy Elliot, “Sonny” du Plessis,

Mandela dismantled apartheid and proud of the

Mosie Suzman, Harry Seftel and Ben Goldberg,

progress in numerous areas, including medical

among others, left an indelible impression on me.

care. One can also be proud of South African

Patient care was delivered at the patient’s bed-side with an emphasis on history-

physicians who emigrated and have made a huge impact on the USA and in other countries.

taking and the physical examination.

March 2015 | WITSReview | 49


CHIEF WITSIE Football star Tefu Mashamaite (BA 2006) in February 2015 signed a three-year contract with premier league club Kaizer Chiefs. Mashamaite, 30, plays central defender for the Amakhosi. Five years ago, the former Bidvest-Wits FC captain led the Clever Boys to an historic 3 - 0 defeat of Amazulu FC in the Nedbank Cup final at Soccer City on 25 May 2010. Mashamaite’s football career began in 2005, when he signed an apprentice contract with Bidvest-Wits after two years in the development structures. He trained with the first team, rose to captain and graduated with a degree in International Relations within five years. He hails from rural Bochum, Limpopo province.

Scoring: Tefu Mashamaite of Kaizer Chiefs. Image: Gallo Images

witsies with theEdge BY DEBORAH MINORS


The election of non-Americans to these prestigious

Dr Donald Mackay (BDS 1976, MBBCh 1980) and Dr

Dr Mackay is Professor of Plastic Surgery at PennState

David Netscher (BSc, MBBCh 1977) have been elected

Hershey Medical Center. He chairs the Plastic Surgery

directors on the American Board of Plastic Surgery.

Residency Review Committee and is Vice-Chair of the

The American Boards of Medical Specialty examine

American Board of Plastic Surgery. His clinical practice

and certify medical specialists.

focuses on paediatric plastic surgery, particularly cleft

boards is rare and the election of two South African-born alumni simultaneously is unprecedented.

lip and palate surgery. He is Chief Medical Officer for Operation Smile, an NGO that treats cleft children worldwide. Dr Netscher specialises in congenital hand anomalies. He works on deformities, nerves and musculoskeletal injuries of the hand. He is Professor of Plastic Surgery and Orthopaedic Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, where he directs the Hand Fellowship training programme. He features on the Best Doctors in AmericaÂŽ List in the field of hand surgery and On board: Plastic surgeons Dr David Netscher (L) and Dr Donald Mackay

50 | WITSReview | March 2015

plastic surgery.


BREAST-TEST LECTURE LAUDED Raphael Smith (BSc Eng Aeronautical, 2011) won the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining Young Persons’ World Lecture Competition in California on 29 October 2014. Smith, 26, beat eight finalists construction and testing of a hermetically sealed


breast platform for dual-modality mammography.

Professor Nicola Kleyn takes the reins as Dean of the

Smith is a biomedical engineer at the Cape Town firm

Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) on 1 April

developing this instrument, which integrates x-rays

2015. GIBS is the business school of the University of

and ultrasound to detect breast cancer. He holds an

Pretoria (UP). Kleyn (BCom 1989, BCom Hons 1990,

MSc Med (2014), with distinction, from UCT for this

MBA 1994) is the first female Dean in GIBS’ 15-year

work. At Wits, Smith received three merit awards for

history. She was appointed deputy dean to the

academic achievement and in his final year won the

school’s founder, Nick Binedell, in 2014. Kleyn joined

Aerosud Prize and Frank Carnell Prize.

GIBS in 2000 to direct the academic programmes and

from five continents with his lecture on the design,

to lecture. Her specialities include marketing, branding, customer focus and reputation management. Prior to GIBS, Kleyn was head of Investec Business School. She also lectured marketing at Wits for seven years, and in 1996 received the Distinguished Teacher’s Award in the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management. She also holds a doctorate in Business Administration from UP.

March 2015 | WITSReview | 51




52 | WITSReview | March 2015

The Alumni Lounge & Pub boasts a big screen for sports enthusiasts, an elegant lounge for comfortable socialising, and an array of pub-cuisine, liquor and spirits for the discerning alumni palate.



March 2015 | WITSReview | 53


NOVEL Soweto Burning: A family’s journey to the 1976 Soweto riots, by Don Emby Dr Don Emby (MBBCh 1973) was a consultant radiologist to the South African mining industry for 25 years. Much of his undergraduate training was at Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto in the early 1970s. His experiences fuelled vivid memories of dealing with the repercussions of a volatile society. Soweto Burning (Honeybush Books, 2014) is a work of fiction but it is historically accurate and drawn from witness accounts. It contextualises events that culminated in the fateful clash between the apartheid state and school children who dared to protest against Afrikaans-medium instruction. Soweto Burning weaves the story of an underground gold mining accident in the 1950s with the story of the Markram family – Brice and Margaret and their children Nicole, Richard, Shane and adoptee Gracie – and an American priest, Matt. These seemingly unrelated strands are the golden thread that documents one family’s journey to a day that would change them, and South Africa, forever. The Saturday Star reviewed Soweto Burning as a valuable record to help readers understand the nuances of life under apartheid.

MEMOIR White Schooldays: Coming-of-age in apartheid South Africa, by Ismé Bennie Ismé Bennie studied library science at Wits. She graduated in 1960 and began working as a librarian. Forty years later, Bennie is considered one the most influential women in Canadian broadcasting, and is widely lauded for a lifetime contribution to Canadian television. She left broadcasting in 2010 to consult independently and write non-fiction. Bennie has published articles on myriad topics, from food to crime fiction. White Schooldays reflects on Bennie’s life of privilege as a young white Jewish South African growing up during apartheid. This memoir is a reflection on the normalcy of Bennie’s childhood in the 1940s/’50s. Her everyday experiences stand in stark contrast to the suffering of the black community. White Schooldays is Bennie’s homage to a way of life that was special for those who were privileged to lead it. In this collection of pieces, with a strong Jewish thread, Bennie paints a picture of daily life as she remembers it.

54 | WITSReview | March 2015


MEMOIR Runaway Comrade, by Bob de la Motte Former chartered accountant Bob de la Motte (BCom 1975) won five Comrades Marathon medals, including three golds, after momentous duels with fellow Witsie Bruce Fordyce. Their historic handshake 14km from the finish at the 1986 Comrades, before De La Motte narrowly lost to Fordyce, is in the annals of Comrades legend. Both men broke the 1984 record of 5:27 that day. De La Motte has lived in Australia since 1987. He returned to South Africa in 2014 to launch his book at Wits. Runaway Comrade (Quickfox Publishing, 2014) is a memoir of De La Motte’s upbringing, and his introduction to a racially integrated road running scene in a politically volatile South Africa in the 1980s. The book gives an insider’s view of the Comrades Marathon and elaborates on the Fordyce rivalry. It explains De La Motte’s decision to emigrate, and a hectic life on four continents. Most of all, the book is a tribute to De La Motte’s less fortunate, now mostly forgotten, running comrades. Net proceeds of Runaway Comrade will benefit South Africa’s leading black ultramarathon runners from the era 1974 – 1990.

NON-FICTION Declassified: Moving beyond the dead end of race in South Africa, by Gerhard Maré Political sociologist Gerhard Maré (BA Hons 1977, MA Political Studies 1984) is Professor Emeritus at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He was director of the Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity from 2006 to 2012. His research interests include social identities, especially related to ethnicity, race and class. Declassified explores the persistence of racial classification in South Africa 20 years after apartheid, despite the country’s constitutional commitment to non-racialism. Declassified argues that continued racial classification not only undermines real societal issues, but is a crime against humanity. We cannot speak of non-racialism when classification persists. Maré writes that Declassified is a book “about race thinking (also referred to as racialism), the way in which we accept ‘race’ as a ‘self-evidently natural part of the modern world’. This is a world already classified whose validity we accept.” The consequences of classification globally are apparent: classification “effaces” one’s humanity.

March 2015 | WITSReview | 55



In 2014 the Wits Art Museum held perhaps its most ambitious exhibition to date, Ngezinyawo – Migrant Journeys, which brought together the art and artefacts of the migrant labour system of Southern Africa. It was an exhibition that blended sculptures, beadwork, installations, paintings, photographs, videos, musical instruments, ledgers and letters and much more to document and give life, humanity and reality to those arduous migrant journeys. Beginning with the early days of Kimberley diamond mining in the 1870s, it followed its theme through to the shocking massacre that took place at Marikana in 2012 and the tribulations of the immigrant Zama Zama miners in worked-out Witwatersrand mines in 2014. Men (and more recently women) have travelled from rural and agricultural


Published by Wits University Press, 2014

environments to the mines, cities and factories in search of income, opportunity and a better life. This book is a different kind of social history which seeks to capture the journeys of millions by foot, carriage, taxi and even aeroplane. It has been meticulously edited and comprises a collection of essays on diverse topics on the common theme of migrancy and its meaning portrayed through art and surviving objects.

56 | WITSReview | March 2015



Wits University Press publications can be ordered 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

The essays by 18 contributors

Anitra Nettleton examines the beadwork,

(anthropologists, historians, art historians,

clothing and identities of migrants and their

museum curators, sociologists, journalists

women folk. Jock McCulloch lays bare the

and researchers) break disciplinary

risks of the occupational diseases faced by

boundaries in their variety and originality.

gold mine migrants. The use of Chinese

Each contributor uses the art exhibited at

immigrant labour on the gold mines after

WAM to give humanity and richness to a

the Anglo Boer War was a brief experiment

specific topic and also provides substantial

but postcards, registers, ledgers, letters

knowledge and insight to deepen the

and photos remind us that migrants could

viewer’s understanding of the art. The

come from other continents. Jacob Dlamini

book is richly illustrated with works drawn

highlights the little-known relationship

from the WAM collection and becomes an

between the Kruger National Park officials

enduring record of this extraordinary show.

and mine labour recruitment systems. Julia

However, the book is more than a catalogue as it shifts into serious scholarship across so many themes. Fiona Rankin-Smith contextualises the exhibition. Here is captured my favourite painting of Johannesburg, Figure in a Landscape by Simon Stone, the newly arrived powerful mine

Charlton tells the poignant story of the Tito Zungu artistic envelopes and their journeys. David Coplan discusses the music and songs of the migrants. Domestic work and the woman migrant is illustrated through the work of Mary Sibanda and her portrayal of Sophie M in the chapter by Laura Phillips.

labourer positioned against the intersecting

Collectively these essays create a rich canvas

railway lines and the urban landscape in the

that blends art and scholarship in a por-

distance. Peter Delius introduces the work

trayal of different aspects of work, journeys

of the Berlin missionary Carl Richter on “The

and the life of the migrant labourer. If you

Wandering Bassuto” and what it meant to

missed the exhibition, this book will provide

walk 2 000km to work and back. Patrick

a visual and thought-provoking alterna-

Harries connects slavery and the slave trade

tive. It is a balanced representation of a

to indentured and migrant labour.

landmark Wits Art Museum exhibition.

March 2015 | WITSReview | 57


There is a long tradition in South African scholarly writing of annual reviews, surveys or handbooks to recall and document


Published by Wits University Press, 2014

change as it happens. The objective has always been to use the power of the thinker’s pen to influence debates and change direction of policy makers. This book falls within this survey genre but moves into a longer-term mode of analysis. One hopes it will be widely read by those who want to both understand the South African dynamic and effect change. Last year, 2014, was one of reflection on the achievements of two decades of an inclusive democracy in South Africa. Much has been accomplished but there have been disappointments. The rainbow magic of Nelson Mandela and the high hopes of 1994 have been lost and the passing of Mandela was a cause to pause and dip into the nature of South African society and the Mandela legacy. This book is the fourth in a series of reviews; it is a collaborative effort of academic researchers, editors and writers. The work as a whole is an excellent survey of where South Africa is today and how far we have come, written largely from a political and sociological perspective. Even where the economy features, the focus is on labour, infrastructural and development issues rather than hard-core economic elements of capital investment flows, company structures, entrepreneurship and new business ventures, international trade patterns (one exception being an essay on South Africa’s economic ties with China, Japan and South Korea),

58 | WITSReview | March 2015


the balance of payments and trends in

a case study, remind the reader that there

exchange rates. Another surprising gap

are a great many areas for concern in our

is some analysis of crime and policing,

society. They reach beyond corruption to

though there is a good essay on prisons and

comment on, for example, the chiefly abuse


of power, laws that entrench past distor-

An important overview introduction is followed by 19 essays loosely grouped around four broad themes traversing topics such as the labour market, oil dependency,

tions, corporate collusion, secrecy and the state, intolerance of gay sexuality, failures in school structures and massification in higher education.

electricity generation, community political

There is always the danger that a collection

engagements, the relevance of black

of essays reflects the interests and current

consciousness, social justice and evolving

research work of individual contributors

policies, education and prisons. The final

rather than taking a step back and looking

section addresses the theme of South

at big issues. This is an editorial challenge.

Africa in the wider African and world

The authors do write about their own par-

context. Pillay and Southall’s introduction

ticular research but there is a broad enough

frames the review and summarises the

coverage of the four big themes and the

key debates. They probe the gulf between

short introductory essays to each theme to

the achievements of democracy and the

draw the disparate parts into a coherent

visible challenges of persistent poverty,

whole. It makes for a valuable commentary

unemployment and widening social

on South Africa in a recent historical and

inequality. A democratic constitutional

contemporary context. The editors have

state triumphed but a social and economic

been skilful in turning the whole into more

compact deepened the divide between

than the parts.

left and right, an essentially capitalist growth path and a socialist redistributive reform agenda. There is a sobriety in the analysis where the authors highlight some international development comparisons and remind navel-gazing South Africans that our problems are not unique. The fragility of the South African enterprise is at the core of so many of these essays as the twin pointers to transformation and performance are drawn across our landscape. A number

These essays do not provide a roadmap for the next two decades but offer insights by 24 leading thinkers and researchers, mainly based at South African universities, into recent history and current political issues. It is a book that should be read by politicians, parliamentarians, planners and concerned citizens to set some compass points for future strategy, greater wisdom and perhaps fewer mistakes.

of essays, particularly where the method is

March 2015 | WITSReview | 59





GERALD KRAAK (1956–2014)

REFILOE TSELE (1927–2013)

Notable Wits benefactor Gerald

Dr Refiloe Tsele died peacefully on

Dr George Mtutuzeli Funisela

Kraak, of Atlantic Philanthropies,

24 December 2013 in Bedfordview

Mbolekwa died in Canada on 22

died of cancer on 19 October

in the presence of her family. She

February 2014, aged 85. He was

2014. He was a Programme

was 86. She was born on 15 June

born in Soweto on 2 August 1928.

Executive for Atlantic’s

1927 in Transkei. She attended

He attended the University of Fort

Reconciliation & Human Rights

Lovedale College and then

Hare before graduating from Wits

Programme in South Africa. Gerald

enrolled at the University of Fort

Medical School in 1955. He prac-

was a passionate champion of

Hare and graduated with a BSc in

tised medicine in exile in England

social justice and an anti-apartheid

1948. In 1951, she married the

from 1962, earning Fellowship

activist. He was in exile for

late Dr Peter Lucas Tsele (MBBCh

of the Royal College of Surgeons

many years and was active in

1953) and earned her MBBCh

of Edinburgh. He emigrated to

establishing the South African war

from Wits in 1955. She practised

Canada in 1971 and attained

resistance movement. He authored

for over 50 years before retiring in

Fellowship of the Royal College of

the award-winning novel Ice in

2007. During her career she served

Surgeons of Canada in 1973. His

the Lungs (2007) and Breaking the

as medical superintendent at St

orthopaedic surgery in Brantford

Chains: Labour in South Africa in

Mary’s Hospital in KwaZulu-Natal,

endured from 1973 to 1992, when

the 1970s and 1980s (1993). He

and as chief medical officer for

he was overcome by mobility

directed Property of the State, a

the Bulawayo City Council in

challenges. Mbolekwa was a

documentary on gay conscripts in

Zimbabwe. Her two daughters,

lifelong member of the Canadian

the apartheid army.

eight grandchildren and four great

Orthopaedic Association and the Ontario Medical Association. He was passionate about politics and education. He leaves his wife of 56 years, Doris, five children and four grandchildren.

60 | WITSReview | March 2015

grandchildren survive her.


JOHN LEE (1937–2014) Wits benefactor Dr John Arthur Lee died in Hereford, England, on 3 November 2014, aged 77. He was born in South Africa on 12 September 1937. He graduated

DON O’DONOVAN (1925–2014) Donough Desmond O’Donovan died in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal on 17 October 2014, aged 89. He was born on 9 August 1925 and held a BSc Civil Engineering (1953) degree from Wits. He built a successful career in construction throughout southern Africa. He held senior posts at prominent firms including Roberts Construction and Group 5, where he was Managing Director of CMGM. Career highlights included construction in the 1970s of Johannesburg’s Carlton Centre (then the largest hotel, office and mall complex in Africa), and of Atlas Aircraft Corporation on the East Rand. He leaves his sons Terry and Glen, and five grandchildren.

MICHAEL MACFARLANE (1951–2014) A founding member of the Wits Old Boys team, Michael “Maccie” Philip Macfarlane (BA, HDipEd 1975) died suddenly on 21 October 2014, aged 63. He was born on 9 April 1951 and matriculated from St John’s, where he excelled at sports. He enrolled at Wits in 1970, joined the University’s rugby club and played fly-half for the under-20s (earning Transvaal colours) and later the first team. He was part of Wits Rugby’s European tour in 1971. On the field, he was a skilled ball player and ruthless tackler. Off the field he was a charming, witty and hugely entertaining raconteur. He taught for six years at KES and St John’s respectively. He was a director at training consultancy MAST SA for 13 years. Most recently he had his own skills facilitation firm. He leaves his partner Jenny,

MBBCh from Wits in 1960, then gained clinical experience in South African city hospitals. An interest in epidemiology took him to the School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in London, where he earned a diploma in Public Health. At the Central Public Health Laboratory in London, his work on salmonella food poisoning led to important national legislative changes. This work formed his thesis, and Wits awarded his medical doctorate in 1973. John worked at the Medical Research Council, and held a senior consultant post with Kingston, Richmond and Hereford area health authorities. He continued his research, which was widely published. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians in 2006. In retirement he enjoyed tennis, bridge, walking his Golden Retriever, travel, and visiting family in SA. His wife, Valerie, survives him.

siblings Bruce (MBBCh 1982, PhD 1989), David (BA 1979, BA Hons 1980) and Sue, and sons Greg and Robert.

March 2015 | WITSReview | 61



NOAM PINES (1941–2014)

One of Zimbabwe’s first black

peacefully in Johannesburg on

Lynne Wilson Pearson van den

medical doctors, Dr Edward Mu-

20 October 2014, aged 73, after

Bosch died in Lonehill, Johannes-

natsireyi Pswarayi (MBBCh 1957)

a long struggle with Parkinson’s

burg on 3 June 2014, aged 93. He

died in Harare on 8 June 2014

disease. He was born on 6 April

was born in Senekal, Free State

from heart-related complications.

1941. Noam’s career at Wits

on 11 February 1921 and was

He was 87. Dr Pswarayi was one

spanned over 40 years. His courses

the first in his family to attend

of Zimbabwe’s early nationalists

in African Government attracted

university. He graduated from Wits

who opposed British colonialism.

outstanding students who would

with a BSc (Mining) in 1943. He

He was a former Deputy Minister

dominate academic social science,

married Thelma (née Kempthorne)

of Health and Child Welfare and a

as well as political leadership in

in 1946. He began a lifelong

Member of Parliament for Mbare.

South Africa for generations.

career at Union Corporation, first

He was born on 5 October 1926

Noam encouraged his students

working underground at mines in

in Manicaland. He earned a BSc

to ask questions rather than to

and around Springs. A promotion

from the University of Fort Hare

discover ready-made answers and

to underground mine manager

and then studied Medicine at Wits.

to become sceptical of closed

in 1956 took him to Welkom,

Here he was exposed to African

paradigmatic kinds of thinking.

followed by a head office appoint-

nationalism. He returned to Zim-

He was always optimistic in his

ment in Johannesburg in 1964,

babwe and became active in the

expectations, but his demands

then a promotion to consulting

National Democratic Party, then

were laced with kindness and

engineer in Johannesburg in 1965.

ZAPU and ZANU. After Indepen-

empathy. Noam was an industri-

He ultimately became director in

dence, he was elected as ZANU-PF

ous and meticulous editor, whose

charge of all Union Corporation

MP for Mbare, later serving as

love of words spilled over into his

mines and retired in 1983. He was

Deputy Minister of Transport, then

witty sense of humour. He never

twice President of the Chamber of

as Deputy Minister of Health. He

missed an opportunity for a pun or

Mines and an honorary life fellow

was hailed as a liberation hero

wordplay. Despite the long hours

of the South African Institute

and afforded a State-assisted

he put into his work at Wits, not

for Mining and Metallurgy. His

funeral. He leaves his wife, 19

just in the Department of Political

imposing 6’ 2” frame belied a

children, 37 grandchildren and five

Science, but on a huge number of

man of compassion and integrity,


boards and committees, Noam’s

devoted to his family. He was a

greatest delight and pride were his

Wits benefactor, proud that his

wife, Eleanor, and children, Lisa,

children are alumni. His son, Bruce

Jonathan and Mark, who survive

(BSc Eng Civil 1976), daughter


Glynis (BSc Geology 1976) and six

Professor Noam Joseph Pines died


grandchildren survive him.

62 | WITSReview | March 2015


BASIL BRADLOW (1929–2015)

HARRY FINCHAM (1926–2014)


Professor Basil Arnold Bradlow

Harry “Bobs” Fincham (BA 1949)

died in Chicago on 3 January

died in Kenmore, Australia on

Dr Kantilal Vallabh (BSc 1972,

2015, aged 85. He was born in

24 September, aged 88. He

MBBCh 1976, BSc Hons 1978,

Johannesburg on 16 October

was born in Kimberley, South

MSc 2008), born on 1 December

1929 and attended King Edward

Africa on 19 April 1926. After

1948, died unexpectedly in

VII School. He earned BSc (1950)

sustaining wounds in World War

Johannesburg on 14 November

and MBBCh (1953) degrees at

II, he studied teaching at Wits,

2014, aged 65. Dr Vallabh

Wits, where he served on the SRC.

where he met Norma, his late

was associated with Wits for

In 1960 a Nuffield scholarship

wife. He was SRC Chairman and a

over 40 years. He lectured in

enabled him to conduct research

Hutton Memorial Award Scholar.

Anatomy in the 1970s and

in the UK. A DSc (1963) followed,

His passion for English literature

tutored in the Graduate Entry

then a postdoctoral fellowship in

prompted a lifetime of poetry-

Medical Programme from 1995.

New York in 1965. He returned to

writing. He taught at schools in

Between 1978 and 2006, he held

SA and worked briefly at Lancet

the Cape and then emigrated

Medical Officer posts at Leratong

Laboratories before becoming

to Rhodesia. He became Deputy

Hospital, Durban Roodepoort

Professor of Pathology at the

Head at Jameson and Sinoia high

Deep Mine Hospital, and West

South African Institute for Medical

schools. He was Headmaster at

Rand Consolidated Mines

Research. He emigrated in 1983

Gifford High in Bulawayo when he

respectively. He practised privately

and was Director of Pathology

married Lynda, and later became

from 1984 to 2004. Dr Vallabh

at Michael Reese Hospital. He

Headmaster of Milton High and

lectured health professionals at

joined the University of Illinois and

Christian Brothers’ College. He

the SHIVDEV Training Academy.

later the University of Chicago.

was an active Rotarian and was

He was an executive committee

He retired but campaigned for

awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship

member of Wits Convocation from

universal health care and enjoyed

prize. He was a devout Eucharistic

2008, and an executive stalwart

opera and bird-watching. He cared

minister. Harry left a politically

of the West Rand branch of the

deeply for South Africa. He was

volatile Zimbabwe in 2002 and

South African Medical Association

a Wits benefactor and convened

settled in Brisbane. Here he

(SAMA). In 2009, he received a

the Chicago alumni chapter. His

revelled in extended family and the

SAMA Merit Award for 30 years’

wife of 61 years, Daphne (BSc OT

camaraderie of ex-servicemen at


1982), children Daniel (BA 1978),

the Returned & Services League.

Steven (BSc 1977, BSc Hons 1980),

He leaves Lynda, five children, 13

Berenice (BA 1984), Ann, Matthew

grandchildren and seven great-

and their spouses (including three


alumni), and nine grandchildren survive him.

March 2015 | WITSReview | 63


Proud to be a Witsie

About 7 500 first-year students and their families attended Welcome Day on Sunday 8 February 2015. In a new tradition introduced by the Alumni Relations Office all first-year students were officially welcomed into the Wits family in a T-shirt ritual presided over by the SRC President, Mcebo Dlamini. Also speaking at the occasion were the Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Adam Habib, Convocation President, Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng, and guest speaker, Professor Helen Rees. After the formal proceedings, students enjoyed all things Witsie, with blue and gold facepainting, Kudu headbands, Wits “W� foam fingers, and photo opportunities with the mascot, Kudos Kudu, followed by


an exhibition match at the Bidvest stadium on East Campus, between Bidvest-Wits FC and a Wits student team. CLICK HERE TO VIEW PHOTOS.

64 | WITSReview | March 2015



March 2015 | WITSReview | 65


#welcomeday social media

posted, , tweeted, pinned, ‘liked’


First-year students celebrate being Witsies on social media.

Clockwise from top left: @jayyrib, @meganrosebez, @nashe_boi, @carmenmicic, @alex_oakenshield, @simsoares and @fizzer_black.

66 | WITSReview | March 2015


Blackface, whiteface, arse-about-face



et more student pranks have been in the news. Further national moral panics ensued. All and sundry have been writing about the two

University of Pretoria (UP) drag artists who clad themselves Al Jolson style as maids, followed by the two Stellenbosch University (US) guys who dressed up as the Williams tennis sisters. Press commentators are making the link between this kind of daft behaviour and the kinds of send-ups that Leon Schuster films trade in. Schuster’s films frame their own interpretive contexts, as perhaps did the actual in-the-flesh UP residence party at which the foolish

two painted their faces black and stuffed the backs of their aprons with large pillows, creating big butts. However, once the images from both drag events were uploaded they lost their contextual anchors of closed occasions and went viral. The students – or whoever tweeted the images – push buttons first and think later, usually when they are hauled off to court for making defamatory statements. One of course remembers the University of the Free State Reitz residence video, and the way that the new principal re-articulated the ensuing damning publicity into a culture change strategy.

March 2015 | WITSReview | 67


UP simply used the old kragdadigheid of suspension.

He has been donnered a few times by unwitting angry

US engaged in re-education activities. Shades of

dupes caught in his often racialised candid camera

Samora Machel? In my old Wits days the most

gags, but then these victims sign the release form.

mischief we got up to was when the Knockando

They can belatedly see the humour in their humiliation

Res guys serenaded the girls’ dorms singing radio

and get free tickets to the premiere along with Coke

commercial ditties like “Ban won’t wear off as the day

and popcorn.

wears long”. The wardens would lock the doors and close the windows lest the girls got the wrong idea.

So, my suggestion? The UP students should ask Leon to represent them in the hearing and help them get

The issue here is not about merits or demerits of stu-

their rooms back. All four students might be persuad-

dents acting stupidly in a country that is facing down

ed to hang up their costumes or burn them, or place

a rapidly regressing Madiba-inspired reconciliation.

them in Leon’s wardrobe store, or donate them to

Neither is it about their actual attitudes, on which no

the Apartheid Museum founded by the ideologically

reports have appeared, nor whether or not their drag

rehabilitated purveyors of skin lighteners. A real Krok.

was “hate speech”, racism or simply farce.

Watch Leon turn the unfortunate event into a funny

The issue is that young techno-savvy digital natives know what buttons to press, but they usually forget

film skit and wonder why it does so well at the box office.

that in pressing buttons they might also push a few

We need to laugh at ourselves more. That’s how

buttons. Just look at the result. Few thought the UP

we best deal with our anxieties, prejudices and

skit funny. But it drowned out the Farlam Commission

insecurities. Schuster for national psychiatrist or

into the shooting of 34 real people, not to mention

chief sangoma, I say. The government is already so

all the other murderous mayhem that undermines our

over-bloated that one more fat cat in drag milking

new society every day.

the taxpayer can’t do any more krok. He may even

If the two UP students are going to be rusticated, then what of Schuster? He is the only South African film director who attracts cross-racial audiences; he is never censured, censored or dragged off to the SA Human Rights Commission.

do some good. Psychiatry, psychology, or throwing the bones – somebody’s gotta do the dirty work to save South Africans from themselves. Or, we could prescribe some Ban deodorant and/or have a national debate.


68 | WITSReview | March 2015

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