Aerobics Rugby Soccer Swimming
E LY WI
SHORTS Total number of
34 30 4 Boxing
awarded by WitsSport**
TOP5 sports codes awarded bursaries
16 RUGBY 14 FOOTBALL 9 BASKETBALL 7 CRICKET 4 HOCKEY
6 tennis courts
2 cricket/rugby fields
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
WITS GETS BACK IN THE GAME
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 email@example.com.
student-athletes and enhance the profile of the Uni-
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
SOON-SHIONG’S ROCKET SHIP
MARCO CIANFANELLI & JEREMY ROSE:
SOCIAL | NEWS
FALCONS & FREEDOM FIGHTERS 26
KEMANG WA LEHULERE: IMPERMANENCE MADE PERMANENT
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
2 | WITSReview | March 2015
WITS SPORTS BACK ON THE BALL
Q&A: ARTHUR RUBENSTEIN
WAYNE DIESEL: FROM SPRINGBOK
WITSIES WITH THE EDGE
WITSIES WITH THE WRITING EDGE
A TRIBUTE TO LIZ CHASE:
NEW WITS HOCKEY TURF
WITS LADY BUCKS’ WINNING STREAK
WITS WELCOME DAY 2015
Editor: Peter Maher | firstname.lastname@example.org Contributors: Heather Dugmore | email@example.com Deborah Minors | firstname.lastname@example.org Kathy Munro | email@example.com and Keyan G Tomaselli | firstname.lastname@example.org Design & Layout: Nicole Sterling email@example.com 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: firstname.lastname@example.org | 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 TO THE EDITOR ARE WELCOME AND CAN BE SENT C/O THE ALUMNI RELATIONS OFFICE OR E-MAIL ALUMNI@WITS.AC.ZA.
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
CLICK HERE TO VIEW WITS RANKINGS
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
4 | WITSReview | March 2015
(570BC - 495BC).
The Sin of WITSReview
You make your correspondent feel a tit and you make
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
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”.
IMAGES BY: VIVIDIMAGES
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.
6 | WITSReview | March 2015
IMAGES: ORDE ELIASON
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 â€™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 groupâ€™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 (email@example.com) or Peter Weston (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
8 | WITSReview | March 2015
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 Africaâ€™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
RADAR BOOK BOUNCES BACK
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.
10 | WITSReview | March 2015
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 email@example.com. 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
12 | WITSReview | March 2015
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
NEW FUNDRAISER MEANS BUSINESS
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
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
PHOTOS: GALLO/GETTY IMAGES
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.
WITSIE AT THE CUTTING EDGE
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.
“THE ROCKET SHIP IS SOON-SHIONG’S MEGA ASSAULT ON CANCER THAT BOILS DOWN TO ONE STATISTIC: 47 SECONDS.”
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
“THE CHALLENGE IS TO GO FROM DNA TO RNA TO PROTEIN TO PEPTIDE TO DRUG, AND WE NEED TO DO THIS IN REAL TIME...”
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.”
18 | WITSReview | March 2015
PHOTO BY KEVORK DJANSEZIAN/GETTY IMAGES
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
AT HOME IN LOS ANGELES
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 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
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
“SO I WAS THE FIRST CHINESE TO WORK IN A WHITE HOSPITAL”
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.
REFERENCES: FORBES, CBS NEWS, NHS CONFEDERATION, LARRY KING, YOUTUBE, HUFFINGTON POST, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, CLINTON HEALTH MATTERS CONFERENCE.
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
ARTIST: MARCO CIANFANELLI. ARCHITECT/ARTISTIC COLLABORATOR: JEREMY ROSE OF MASHABANE ROSE ARCHITECTS. RELEASE 2012. PAINTED LASER-CUT MILD STEEL AND STEEL TUBE CONSTRUCTION/TO BE RUSTED: WIDTH: 5.19-METRES | 24 | WITSReview March 2015 HEIGHT: 9.48-METRES ||LENGTH: 20.8-METRES
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 canâ€™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
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BACK ONTHE BALL BY DEBORAH MINORS
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
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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 â€“ as did linguistic separatism. For example, in athletics, Afrikaans and English-medium universities competed separately, their amalgamation prevented by the Studente-Atletiekbondâ€™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.
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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.
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
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FROM SPRINGBOK TO DOLPHIN
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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
A BRILLIANT CAREER
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
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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,
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.”
“A TEAM IS SO MUCH MORE THAN A COLLECTION OF SKILLED PEOPLE”
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“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
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“EVERYTHING CLICKED INTO PLACE FOR ME FROM THERE AND I WAS ACCEPTED INTO PHYSIOTHERAPY...”
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.”
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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.
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“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
“THE SCALE OF THE MIAMI DOLPHINS AND WORKING IN AN ENTIRELY NEW SPORT FOR ME WILL BE A HUGE CHALLENGE”
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
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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.
A TRIBUTE TO LIZ CHASE
lizchase BY HEATHER DUGMORE
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
“IT’S IMPORTANT TO RECOGNISE THE VALUE OF TEAMWORK AND THIS ASPECT IS PART AND PARCEL OF SPORT”
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.”
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WITS LADY BUCKSâ€™
Slam-dunk: Wits Lady Bucks are SA University Sports champions.
BY HEATHER DUGMORE
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.
PHOTO BY: SIBUSISO NHLAPO-NGUBENI
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
WITSSPORT LY WI
he Wits Lady Bucks’ winning streak is not about luck, it’s about total dedication from the
players and the path to victory that
“I HAD AN AMAZING TIME AT WITS AND BASKETBALL PLAYED A BIG PART IN THIS”
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.
SE RI E S
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.
“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
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
spontaneous causes. I had discovered ways
to differentiate these two conditions.
You’re a physician,
You said at a commencement address
that the essential characteristic for doctor-
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. Mashamaiteâ€™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
SURGEONS A CUT ABOVE
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
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
FIRST LADY AT GIBS
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
ALUMNI LOUNGE & PUB WITS CLUB COMPLEX WEST CAMPUS
CONTACT OLIVES & PLATES FOR RESERVATIONS TEL: 011 717 9365 FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ALUMNI LOUNGE & PUB TEL. +27 11 717 1093 OR EMAIL ALUMNI@WITS.AC.ZA
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.
WITSIES WITH THE
WRITING EDGE BY DEBORAH MINORS
March 2015 | WITSReview | 53
WITSIES WITH THE WRITING EDGE
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
WITSIES WITH THE WRITING EDGE
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
BookReviews WITS UNIVERSITY PRESS PUBLICATIONS ARE OFFERED AT A 20% DISCOUNT TO WITS STAFF, WITS ALUMNI AND WITS STUDENTS WHEN BOUGHT AT THE WITS UNIVERSITY PRESS OFFICE PREMISES.
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
A LONG WAY HOME – MIGRANT WORKER WORLDS 1800-2014 EDITED BY PETER DELIUS, LAURA PHILLIPS AND FIONA RANKIN-SMITH
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
REVIEWS BY KATHERINE MUNRO, SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE AND PLANNING
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) | firstname.lastname@example.org FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.witspress.co.za | +27 (0)11 717 8700 | email@example.com
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
NEW SOUTH AFRICAN REVIEW 4 EDITED BY GILBERT M KHADIAGALA, PRISHANI NAIDOO, DEVAN PILLAY AND ROGER SOUTHALL
Published by Wits University Press, 2014
change as it happens. The objective has always been to use the power of the thinkerâ€™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 Africaâ€™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 Southallâ€™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
Obituaries BY DEBORAH MINORS
WITS UNIVERSITY FONDLY REMEMBERS THOSE WHO HAVE PASSED AWAY
GEORGE MBOLEKWA (1928–2014)
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
EDWARD PSWARAYI (1926–2014)
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
LYNNE VAN DEN BOSCH (1921–2014)
grandchildren survive him.
62 | WITSReview | March 2015
BASIL BRADLOW (1929–2015)
HARRY FINCHAM (1926–2014)
KANTILAL VALLABH (1948–2014)
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 â€œWâ€? foam fingers, and photo opportunities with the mascot, Kudos Kudu, followed by
WELCOME DAY 2015
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
PAGE P PA AGE GE N NAME AM A ME ME
PHOTOS BY: VIVIDIMAGES & PETER MAHER
March 2015 | WITSReview | 65
#welcomeday social media
posted, , tweeted, pinned, â€˜likedâ€™
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
BY KEYAN G TOMASELLI*
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
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.
* KEYAN G TOMASELLI IS A WITSIE WHO ONCE WORKED WITH AL DEBBO, BUT HE HAS NEVER WORKED ON CANDID CAMERA MOVIES. HE DID MAKE A DOCUMENTARY FOR LEN HOLDSTOCK OF THE WITS PSYCH DEPARTMENT IN THE LATE 1970S THAT RECORDED SANGOMAS AT WORK, FROM WHICH EMERGED A POSITIVE PARADIGM EMPHASISING HEALTH RATHER THAN ILLNESS. HE CAN BE DONNERED AT TOMASELL@UKZN.AC.ZA
68 | WITSReview | March 2015
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