Wits Review October 2007

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Volume 2 September 2007

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

George Bizos

- Justice for all IN THIS ISSUE: Setting goals • Bidvest Wits • Art and Opera - William Kentridge • Wits’ Architectural Heritage


85 Years of Academic Excellence … now marked with the introduction of the Wits Convocation Ring

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Order online at www.wits.ac.za/alumni Further information available on www.serica.co.za or contact Desireé on 082 787 1009

Reader response clears the mist


aunching a new magazine may well be described as Jeremy Maggs did in the last issue as, “a bit like driving over Van Reenen’s Pass in thick mist with no headlights.” So it was a huge relief to find that the online reader survey and the flood of spontaneous letters and e-mails we received burned away the mist to reveal that all four wheels are firmly on the tarmac and facing in the right direction. It has been an enlightening and extremely valuable experience hearing from so many alumni and I am very grateful to everyone who took the time to give us feedback. There was overwhelming support for the WITSReview and the survey results indicate that the current content mix is broadly in line with reader preferences. But, we are still negotiating the pass. We didn’t just receive bouquets. A few readers felt we had indeed lost our bearings and some felt the type was too small. We have increased the type size and encourage you to continue engaging with us, letting us know when you think we haven’t maintained the highest standards of journalism or kept your interest as a reader. The full results of the online reader survey can be viewed at the following webpage: www.wits.ac.za/alumni/survey. Confirm or update your address As we mentioned in the launch issue of WITSReview, future issues of the magazine will only be sent to those who have confirmed or updated their contact details this year. September 2007

Due to the high cost of printing and postage we unfortunately cannot continue sending the magazine to all 90 000 alumni on our database unless they have confirmed that it is being sent to the right address. Thank you to all those who have already confirmed their contact details or given us a change of address. Readers have until 30 November 2007 to confirm or update their contact details. You can do so online by completing a blank form on the alumni update webpage or by accessing your details through your alumni number (printed on the address label of the magazine), or by faxing, e-mailing or posting your confirmation or change of address to us. The address update website and all other contact details appear on page 5. Hope you enjoy this issue. Peter Maher Head: Alumni Relations Reader satisfaction rating on a scale of 0-5

5 4 3,5 3 2,5 2 1,5 1 0,5 0


Design Photography

Do you like the new A5 format? 74,71%


yes no maybe


Results reflect the views of those who participated in the online survey and are not scientific. WITSReview 3



WITSReview Wits Editorial Team Peter Maher Editor and Head: Alumni Relations Shirona Patel Head: Communications Ferna Clarkson Head: Marketing Future Publishing Editorial Team Jeremy Maggs Taryn van der Lith Publishing Director Richard Lendrum




Design Theuns Kruger Layout Michelle van der Walt Advertising Sales Manager Richard Lendrum


Wits News Bytes

32 Wits Snow Blitz

50 Alumni Achievers


Comments from our readers

34 Renewable Energy: Power for Africa

52 Social events at Wits

9 Lead feature: In-depth interview with George Bizos

54 Book Reviews

36 Global City: Global Studio, Local Lessons

16 Bidvest Wits 20 Profi le: William Kentridge

38 Media & Society: The crisis of the SABC as a public broadcaster

56 The ABC of Life 58 Traditions: The Hatters

24 Hidden Wits

42 Heritage: Celebrating Wits’ Architectural Heritage 47 Obituaries

For advertising please contact: PO Box 3355, Rivonia, 2128 Tel: +27 (0)11 803 2040 Fax: +27 (0)11 803 2022 E-mail: taryn@thefuture.co.za

Cover George Bizos, as pictured on the cover of Odyssey to Freedom, published by Umuzi, Random House. (See story on pg 9)

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Printed by: Typo Colour Printing Specialist Published by: Future Publishing (Pty) Ltd

40 Flyfi shing: The art of deception 23 Literature: Shakespeare acquires an African edge

Published on behalf of the Office of Alumni Relations, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg Tel: +27 (0)11 717 1090 Fax: +27 (0)11 403 4493 Private Bag 3, Wits, 2050, South Africa E-mail: alumni@wits.ac.za Website: www.wits.ac.za/alumni Alumni Shop: www.witsshop.co.za Update contact details: www.wits.ac.za/alumni/update

September 2007

WITSReview is a quarterly publication.The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the editor, publisher, Future Publishing or 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 Future Publishing.

Letters to the Editor are welcome and can be sent c/o the Office of Alumni Affairs WITSReview 5

News Bytes

News Bytes

Wits News TRADE AS A VEHICLE FOR PEACE IN AFRICA In an attempt to explore the challenges and opportunities for capacity building in Africa, the Mandela Institute and the Wits Law School hosted a high-level colloquium entitled Trade as a vehicle for peace in Africa in July 2007 at Wits University. National and international leaders participated in discussions on the trade and investment requirements of corporations and governments in Africa, on trade and commercial practices, the negotiating requirements of trading partners and the practical aspects of trade in Africa. The conference examined trade with global partners, intra-African trade, sources of trade-related friction, and trade and investment requirements of corporations and government. Wits alumni John Chalsty and Stanley Bergman participated, as did Bryan Montgomery (Chairman of the Montgomery Group and the World Trade Centers Association), amongst others. NEW CHAIR IN CLEAN COAL TECHNOLOGY Prof. Rosemary Falcon, a coal geologist has been named the first Chair in Clean Coal Technology in the Wits School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering. The Chair forms part of a host of energy research-related Chairs sponsored by the South African National Energy Research Institute (SANERI) under the auspices of the Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Minerals and Energy. WITSReview

WITS PROFESSOR WINS INTERNATIONAL POLITICAL SCIENCE PRIZE The American Political Science Association (APSA) recently announced the winner of the esteemed Victoria Shuck Award for 2007 - Professor Shireen Hassim from the Department of Political Studies at Wits University. This prestigious award is presented annually for the best book published on women and politics. This year, the accolade will have been handed to Professor Hassim at the 2007 APSA Annual meeting in Chicago at the end of August that brings together over 7 000 delegates from around the world. Professor Hassim won the Award for her third book entitled Women’s organizations and democracy in South Africa: Contesting Authority. DRAMA FOR LIFE PROJECT SET TO TACKLE HIV/AIDS IN THE SADC REGION Empowering young people to take personal responsibility for the quality of their own lives within the context of HIV and AIDS – this is the ambitious objective of the ‘Drama for Life’ initiative. A project of Wits University and the agency for German Development Cooperation (GTZ), it is designed to use Applied Drama and Theatre Practices to deal with the issues of young people in relation to HIV and AIDS across the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. September 2007

CHEMISTRY UNLOCKING FOSSIL SECRETS The dolomitic cave deposits of southern Africa arguably hold the most abundant hominid and fauna fossil record in the world. However these fossils are often covered in a brown/black deposit of manganese and iron oxides. This covering obscures fine surface details like the cut marks and scratches of the bone that are of particular interest to researchers. A new non-destructive chemical method developed to clean manganese coated fossil bones has been developed by PhD student Stephen Pole. His method successfully removes deposits of manganese oxides using hydrogen peroxide and a number of other non-destructive chemical methods. DEAFNESS AND EARLY CHILDHOOD DEVELOPMENT In August the Wits Centre for Deaf Studies hosted an international conference - Building Bridges in Africa: Early Childhood Development for children with hearing loss - focusing on issues of deafness and early childhood development. “In the field of deafness, meaningful early learning can only occur if the hearing loss is identified at an early age and the infant and family receive effective early intervention as soon as possible,” says Dr Claudine Storbeck, Head of the Wits Centre for Deaf Studies. “To this end, an Early Hearing Identification and Intervention mechanism (EHDI) needs to be established in South Africa to ensure equal opportunities for all infants (especially those with a hearing loss).” The conference highlighted EHDI as a critical factor for success within the field of deafness both in South Africa and on the continent. September 2007

NEW INSTITUTE FOCUSES ON SOCIETY, WORK AND DEVELOPMENT The Sociology of Work Unit has been granted the status of an institute in recognition of the critical role it plays in producing groundbreaking social science research on the world of work. The new status has been accompanied by a change in name to the Society, Work and Development Institute, to reflect the new research themes that underpin the new vision and research programme. According to Professors Eddie Webster and Sakhela Buhlungu, Directors of the Unit: “We believe the time has arrived for us to turn this research network into a vibrant, scholarly, internationally recognised Institute.” 88 KEYS FOR SUCCESS STRIKES A HIGH NOTE Wits University is home to a new Steinway Model D Orchestral Concert piano. It was selected by Malcolm Nay especially to suit the acoustics of the Linder Auditorium, the premier Johannesburg musical venue and home to the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra. The inaugural concert of the piano took place on Wednesday, 9 August 2007. The piano, which has 88 keys, was purchased through a fundraising campaign that encouraged corporates, individuals and families to donate R12 500 towards a key. Significant contributions from Sasol and the Nedbank Group gave a boost to the campaign which eventually achieved the target amount of R1,1 million. WITSReview


Comments from our readers Problems with quotas Dear Sir I take pleasure in reading my copy of the newly designed WITSReview. One thing I have always recalled from Wits lectures on social anthropology, sociology, psychology and philosophy, is to look at what a person says and what s/he does and match the two. Logic and history. And the alarms reverberate around Vuyo Jack and his entrepreneurship(sic). {Interview by Sven Lunche, Vol.1, June 2007.}The distinct forcing of racial entry into anything, be it business or game playing, is one of the items we protested against those many years ago. Many a tear and muscle and sore head were badges of those days. And yet here is a government programme designed to quota a colour, force a percentage, allowing a smart accountant to make his fortune, following just the same pattern of intervention and duplicity that the former government had.While the codes may be technically voluntary, they are, in effect, compulsory for almost all businesses. I hear echoes of economic and social takeovers worldwide. Show me I am wrong. Bill Knott (BA 1967)

Thirsting for News Dear Sir Yes, I like it! In fact I like it a lot.Let me present my congratulations on the adopted format of the WITSReview magazine. As an alumnus that is very far away from the university, even though my academic bonds with the earth sciences endure, I am constantly thirsting for news from Wits. Please keep up the high standard of reporting. Best wishes, Daniel PS de Oliveira (PhD. -Witwatersrand) See www.wits.ac.za/alumni for more comments on theWITSReview. WITSReview


Indebted to Wits Dear Sir, I write to congratulate you on your outstanding first issue of the magazine WITSReview. I graduated from Wits in 1975 after having attained my qualification attending evening classes and working for a firm of attorneys. I am indebted to Wits, which gave me the opportunity of transcending my background, having been brought up in Bertrams and Yeoville by an underprivileged family. Being the son of proud Holocaust survivors I was not permitted to take a bursary and attend Wits full-time (notwithstanding the fact that I attained a first class matric) as my late father perceived same as charity. I could never have achieved the aforesaid without Wits, to whom I will always be eternally grateful. Sincerely, Billy Gundelfinger, Attorney-At-Law

Email Inbox

I really like the new A5 format, and the comment seems meatier. What about including more general book reviews as well? Arja Salafranca, Arts and culture and Sunday Life editor,The Sunday Independent Congratulations, it was a breath of fresh air to get the new WITSReview. The size makes it easy to read whilst in bed. Interesting content makes it a great read. Alderman Dawn Stephens I actually really liked the old format but I guess there are good reasons for changing it. Anneliese Stewart, BArch Well done! The magazine is slick and very well laid out. It is user friendly and appears to have a lot more content than the old A4 version. This may be a perception but still! Thanks and well done! I have always enjoyed reading your magazines but must admit that I enjoyed this one even more than many that preceded it. Keep the great work up. Bronwen Griffiths September 2007

Talking over old times with Nelson Mandela in his Houghton garden, Johannesburg, 1995. Š GiseleWuifson

Bizos – Legal Icon It began at Wits Tara Turkington


t was 1941, the height of World War II in German-occupied Greece. George Bizos was 13 and living in the small southern village of Vasilitsi, where his father, Antonios Bizos (Antoni), was the local leader and former mayor who had been unfairly deposed. George was the oldest child, with two younger brothers and a sister. A young shepherd came to Antoni with a startling story; whilst following his goats, he had come across a group of New Zealand soldiers living in the wild, trying desperately to avoid capture by the Nazis. September 2007

Antoni set out to find them, taking George along. The first soldier of the seven to introduce himself was Lewis, the only name George would remember, and the only one who could speak a little Greek. Antoni had brought some food, and George was struck that even though the soldiers were ravenous, they ate with dignity, slowly. Antoni quickly enlisted the help of other villagers, including the local baker, who concocted a story about needing to chop wood on an uninhabited island as a reason to buy a simple boat, with two sets of oars and a sail. WITSReview

All images appear in Odyssey to Freedom and are © to Umuzi, Random House, with the exception of Koko’s image on page 14.


The young George begged and threatened his way into going along, saying he would swim behind the boat and drown if left behind. A lamb was slaughtered for their departure and Antoni, George, the seven New Zealanders and two local fishermen set sail, not knowing what would become of them. For three days, they sailed in the Mediterranean, encountering strong winds and coping with a torn sail and dwindling supplies. On the evening of the third day, they ran into an Allied convoy on its way to evacuate troops from Crete, which would soon be occupied by the Germans and were rescued by the HMS Kimberley. George would not see his mother again for more than 20 years. A few months later, George and his father who were refugees speaking no English and with little money, stepped onto the dock at Durban Harbour to begin a new life. For the boy who had had ambitions of


becoming a ship’s captain, it was to be an extraordinary life … Now nearly 80, Bizos has become the world’s greatest human rights lawyer, defending thousands of ordinary people along with famous figures of freedom including Nelson Mandela,Walter Sisulu, Bram Fischer and Morgan Tsvangarai. Bizos’ 600-page memoir, recently published by Random House and written “for those who let me walk with them”, is entitled Odyssey to Freedom, an apt reference to the epic nature of his lifelong journey, in search of a golden fleece as evasive but ultimately more rewarding than Jason’s. The assisted escape of the soldiers is surely allegorical of Bizos’ lifelong courage to sail uncharted waters in pursuit of freedom. Sitting late on a Friday afternoon in his fifth-floor office at the nongovernmental organisation where he still works, the Legal Resource Centre (LRC) at

This photograph of the small fishing vessel that carried me, my father Antoni and the seven New Zealand soldiers was taken from HMS Kimberley in 1941. © ImperialWar Museum, London.

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the wrong end of Rissik Street, downtown Johannesburg, Bizos waves off the suggestion gently, with characteristic modesty. “For me, freeing the soldiers from the Nazis at 13-years-old was an adventure. My dad was the hero.” One of Wits’ most illustrious alumni, Bizos started his studies in 1948, the year the Nationalists seized power in South Africa and ironically, the year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The student body was mature, says Bizos, because many students had fought in the war on the side of the Allies, “including people like George Clayton and John Coaker. They came back and here were the Nationalists [who had sympathised with the Nazis]. It was a great insult.” He adds, “We who were too young to fight were old enough to understand it was against imperialism. We believed in the brave, new world – that there would be social justice, peace and prosperity and all the things that were promised. The Nationalist Party’s victory was a negation of that.” The list of his contemporaries at Wits reads like the names in an index of Southern African history: Nelson Mandela, Nthatho Motlana, Arthur Chaskalson, Harold Wolpe and Eduardo Mondlane, who later became president of Frelimo in Mozambique. “These people were very angry, because of what was happening in South Africa,” remembers Bizos. “Perhaps it was my good fortune that I came across Nelson Mandela [a parttime law student at the time], Nthatho Motlana and other people in the Youth League. I could identify with them.” He was also influenced by two charismatic student leaders at Wits, president of the Students’ Representative Council, Sydney Brenner, who was to become a molecular biologist and Nobel laureate and Phillip Tobias, September 2007

president of the National Union of South African Students and later a world-renowned palaeoanthropologist. Brenner and Tobias were critical of the government’s increasingly discriminatory policies and of the Wits council, senate and principal at the time, Humphrey Raikes, for not taking a stance against discrimination for black students. Bizos served three terms on the SRC himself and was as outspoken as the rest. He remembers advocating a student strike when the University implemented a quota limiting black enrolment “to tumultuous applause” in the Wits Great Hall. This prompted a frontpage headline in Die Transvaler: “Links gesind en trots daroop!”/ “Leftist and proud of it!” and DF Malan then singled Bizos out in Parliament for saying black students should be treated the same as whites. Bizos also recalls standing up to the dean of the law faculty, Prof. HR “Bobby” Hahlo, who refused to allow eight black students to attend an annual law dinner at the Ambassador Hotel in Hillbrow. Bizos ignored him and the students attended. Hahlo later refused Mandela permission to write a final supplementary exam that would have allowed him to graduate with an LLB and to fulfil his dream of becoming the first black advocate admitted to the Johannesburg Bar, suggesting instead that he set his sights on being an attorney. Mandela had to settle for a law diploma from Wits but did eventually finish his LLB while in prison, through UNISA. Comparing the Wits of 60 years ago with today, Bizos says: “We had our problems with the University over the exclusion of black students from social and sporting functions. The problems today are different and exacerbated by poverty. There are limited admissions because of financial constraints and the quality of secondary education isn’t what it’s WITSReview 11


meant to be.” Bizos says he still attends most law faculty graduation ceremonies and is pleased that “most graduates are now from previously disadvantaged groups and there are more young women than men.” There were only three women in his first-year class, and all three dropped out before graduating. Bizos remains a committed and involved alumnus. Says Vice-Chancellor Professor Loyiso Nongxa: “Mr Bizos is one of the most remarkable South Africans I’ve come across. What strikes me most about him is his sense of integrity and principle in almost everything he says and does. He has really stayed in touch and always attends important functions. Three years ago we were looking at how alumni could get more involved in the institution and we invited him to speak at a function. He gave an important address on how Wits alumni should contribute to the institution not only financially but by being available when needed.” While Bizos says, “I was radicalised at Wits, for lack of a better word,” he also believes his eternal quest for freedom was spurred in part by family heritage. “Freedom and freedom songs were part of the life, in our schooling and in our family. My grandfather was a freedom-loving man, who lost a son in World War I [after whom he was named]. It was no accident my father took the step he did [to rescue the soldiers],” he says. Bizos, in turn, shared that culture with many he defended over the years. He points out that the Greek national anthem is entitled Hymn to Liberty and says he made loose translations for people in jail. The second stanza reads, according to a translation by Rudyard Kipling: “From the graves of our slain,/Shall thy valour prevail,/As we greet thee again,/ Hail, Liberty! Hail!” 12 WITSReview


With Nadine Gordimer at the Johannesburg Fort, now a museum and the seat of the South African Constitutional Court © Odyssey to Freedom.

“They didn’t have much to talk about,” remembers Bizos with gentle humour. “The people that I defended would say, ‘You know man, this poet, he writes for us as well!’” Bizos met his wife, Rita (formally Arethe), an artist, while he was studying at Wits, “on the upper deck of a tram clanging along Main Street towards Bezuidenhout Valley,” according to the Odyssey to Freedom. “I sat next to her even though there were many empty double seats. She looked at me and blushed.” A still life she painted in 1952 still has pride of place on his office wall. George and Rita married in 1954 and have three sons, Kimon and Damon, both surgeons and Alexi, an engineer, all Wits graduates and seven grandchildren. Says Nicholas Bizos, his oldest grandchild, who matriculated from Saheti last year with seven distinctions, “He’s the most humble man and modest – he will never take credit alone for something, he always says he had help.” He says the Bizos family is very close. “We have lunches with him once a week. He’s September 2007

always involved us.” Nicholas Bizos says his grandfather is considered and unrushed. “He’s never in a hurry to get anywhere.” At the same time he adds, “George is very headstrong.” He says of Rita, “She’s very friendly and very kind. They complement each other very well, they’re very loving.” Bizos has an interest in gardening and growing vegetables and every morning and sometimes in the evenings too, tends the perivoli (vegetable garden) his mother, Anastasia, who lived to 98, planted in their Parktown North home in 1962. “She said she couldn’t sit in an easy chair all her life.” He grows cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, three or four kinds of lettuce, peas, beans, mielies and peppers, among other things. The diversity conjures up mental images of a farm big enough to supply Woolworths, but is only “about the size of a suburban pool”, he says. Another lifelong passion is one for education, which Bizos says was stirred when he was 14 and working full-time in a café in Main Street, Johannesburg. Cecilia Feinstein, a Wits alumnus wearing her University blazer, stepped into the shop and recognised him from a picture that had appeared in the Sunday Times, with an article describing the father-and-son escape from Greece as “an odyssey”. Feinstein, who later married and became Cecilia Smulowitz, was appalled that Bizos was not going to school and helped him to enroll at Malvern Junior High, and then Athlone High.Though Bizos did not see Smulowitz for more than 30 years, he writes in Odyssey to Freedom that when the University of Natal conferred an honorary doctorate of law on him in 1996, she was top of his list of invited guests. Just as Smulowitz had helped Bizos, many September 2007

years later he provided the opportunity for education through the Saheti School, which he started in the 1970s. The school has a Greek influence – Greek is compulsory for all children, though no one is excluded for not speaking it. “We were quite cheeky; we started admitting black children in the apartheid years, including Chris Hani’s children,” says Bizos. “The school wasn’t there for our own children.” He is proud that there are “29 ethnicities” in the school today. A Saheti scholarship for children from disadvantaged backgrounds is named after him and he still attends important school events. Bizos’ more famous case was the Rivonia Trial in which his client and friend, Nelson Mandela, was sentenced to life imprisonment, along with seven others, including Walter Sisulu, Raymond Mhlaba and Ahmed Kathrada. The defence team included Bizos, Bram Fischer, Joel Joffe and Arthur Chaskalson, who, through acumen and skill, managed to avoid the trialists being sentenced to death. Says Chaskalson of Bizos: “He is an extraordinary, generous, outgoing person who has been absolutely committed to the struggle for human rights and for the freedom

George Bizos with long-standing colleague Arthur Chaskalson © Bizos family archive & LRC archive. WITSReview 13



of South Africa, from his time in university to the present.” He adds, “He’s a good storyteller, he loves food and loves being with people. We’ve been friends for almost 50 years now.” During the course of the Treason Trial that preceded the Rivonia Trial, Mandela left his first wife and married Winnie Madikizela. Not long afterwards, Bizos writes, he heard Mandela’s booming voice, chuckling on the

of the death penalty. “During my presidency of the Republic of South Africa, I often sought and received, always generously, George’s counsel on many legal, constitutional and personal matters. He never once hesitated to assist where and however he was able and is considered a member of our family. Most of my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are rather partial, in fact, to their ‘Uncle George’!” Bizos writes of the Delmas Treason Trial which lasted from 1985 to 1989 as being a particularly unpleasant case. During the trial, he and Chaskalson were part of the defence team for three United Democratic Front leaders, Mosiuoa Lekota, Popo Molefe and George Bizos with Amartya Sen, winner of the 1998 Nobel prize for Economics, atWits Moss Chikane and on 20 April 2007. Photo by Koko. 19 others charged with treason, terend of the phone, “George, I have married rorism and furthering the objectives of untrouble!” And so Bizos defended Madikizela- lawful organisations. Mandela for the first of more than 20 times, A particularly biased judge, Kees van Diin a case she won in which she was accused jkhorst, gave Lekota 12 years’ imprisonment of assaulting a policeman who had come to and Molefe and Chikane 10 years, though arrest her. they were all acquitted after serving a year. In his foreword to Bizos’ autobiography, As a footnote to the trial, Bizos recounts Mandela speaks warmly of their friendship an incident that happened long afterwards, and of Bizos’ contribution to human rights when Molefe had been appointed Premier of in South Africa, including his role in helping the North West Province and hosted an into write the Bill of Rights and in shaping the augural party, to which he invited the legal new constitution and his successful represen- team and the judge. Molefe made a speech tation at the Constitutional Court on behalf appealing for reconciliation and then asked of the government to argue for the abolition the three of them to each make a speech. 14 WITSReview

September 2007

Does Bizos have any favourites among his who came bearing gifts – wonderful gifts many illustrious clients? – that have greatly benefited his adopted “You don’t talk about favourites,” he says. country. He has brought honour to a profes“They were all brave, optimistic, prepared to sion that is more frequently associated with sacrifice their liberty if needs be, their life. personal interest and not public interest. My life was enIn recent years, riched by walkGeorge has made ing with these himself available persons.” as a mentor, or After 1994, more typically, Bizos says Manan elder brother dela asked him to young lawyers what work he who aspire to folwanted to do, low his footsteps.” perhaps even beAnd despite his come a minister age, Bizos conHanding the Olympic torch over to Dawn Hare in Rondebosch Main in his Cabinet. tinues his odysRoad, Cape Town, on 12 June 2004. “I told him, I © Denzil Maregele/Cape Argus/Trace Images sey unabated. In must continue to 2004, he defenddo what I know how to do – to make justice ed Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan more available to the people.” Tsvangirai, who had been accused of plotting Bizos has been true to his word, fight- to assassinate President Robert Mugabe. ing class actions on behalf of the poor and When he took the case he was told it would marginalised in a number of environmental last for a couple of weeks but it dragged on and equality cases, including a land claim for a year. Though he was lonely in Zimbaon behalf of the dispossessed people of bwe, he approached the case with typical tethe Richtersveld and a case on behalf of nacity. “When you defend someone charged asbestosis sufferers. with political crimes in a dispensation where Says his friend, Chaskalson: “He has been the administration of justice is already unconsistent as an advocate, undertaking a huge der stress, it is not enough to confine yournumber of cases, where he is concerned self to the technical argument that there is a about injustices, not only high-profile cases ‘reasonable doubt’ concerning the guilt of the but injustices against the poor.” accused,” he writes. “I would consider it my He still works full-time in the Constitu- duty to take as long as necessary to destroy tional Litigation Unit of the LRC, which pro- the prosecution’s case and prove that my vides free legal services for the vulnerable client was not only ‘not guilty’ but innocent.” and marginalised. “I enjoy the work,” Bizos Tsvangirai was subsequently acquitted and smiles. “I’m surrounded by bright and in- the Mugabe regime only further discredited. dustrious young people who flatter me from Will he ever retire? Bizos shrugs. It is time to time by asking my advice.” a question that his family has long Richard Rosenthal, a private attorney and bothered him with. “There’s always another LRC trustee, remarks, “George is a Greek case,” he smiles. September 2007

WITSReview 15


Come on, the Clever Boys! Photographs: Peter Maher

Wits University has always been unique in having a soccer team that is in the national top-fl ight competition, the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Gareth Richards


ith a membership of more than 1500 players, Bidvest Wits is thought to be the largest football club in Africa and one of the largest on the planet. The club predates the University - it was formed when the SRC succumbed to pres1 WITSReview

sure from students at the University’s forerunner, the Transvaal Technical Institute. The Club’s three teams took part in the league for the first time in 1922, the year Wits was formed. Since then it has had several ups and some downs but is now on a more secure footing September 2007

than ever, thanks to a restructuring two years ago from a non-profit organisation to a fullyfledged professional club. This happened at the time electrical engineer Derek Blanckensee, a Wits lecturer since 1982, became full-time general manager of the Club. Blanckensee, now the Club’s Chief Executive Officer and his staff were unpacking files and moving furniture into the Club’s new offices in the Atrium Building in vibey Stanley Avenue, Auckland Park, inbetween signing up new players, when he spoke in an interview of some of his hopes and plans for the Club. It was the same day the SABC went to court to try to block a deal whereby rival broadcaster SuperSport had signed up soccer rights for R1.6 billion, which was about four times what the SABC was paying previously. “The SuperSport involvement has certainly shaken things up,” says Blanckensee. “It is definitely good for soccer. You could say that soccer is at long last starting to achieve its true value.” Clubs like Bidvest Wits stand to benefit enormously because the PSL distributes most of the broadcast rights income to its member teams. “The estimated value of a PSL franchise and the right to take part in the top league has been put at approximately R45-million. That figure is likely to escalate hugely with the new broadcasting dispensation,” Blanckensee says. It is also only in the past two years that Bidvest Wits has become a properly professional outfit says the CEO. “Now players practice twice a day. They are full-time footballers, where previously many were part-timers.” This was made possible by the Bidvest connection. “The whole nature of the Club has changed. With their funding we have been able to start rebuilding the team and establishing a new brand for the Club.” The profesSeptember 2007

TheWits team enthralled their supporters with a stunning 1 – 0 victory against Orlando Pirates in a Castle Premiership League match on 25 August 2007 at the BidVest Stadium,Wits University.

Wits goalkeeper Moeneeb Josephs managed to stop Orlando Pirates from getting this one into the net.

Clever Boys mascots, Lungisa Douse (opp. Page) and Senzo Phungula (above), attend every match firing up supporters to spur their team to victory. WITSReview 17



Wits on the attack in their recent match against Orlando Pirates. Left wing, Calvin Sosibo sends the ball forward to Noah Chivuta (15), David Radebe (31) and Marawaan Bantam (7) who scored the match-winning goal forWits.

sional Club embraces the top team as well as under-19 and under-17 feeder teams. “I must stress that all the other teams continue to be important to us and to our sponsors. The top people at Bidvest are mostly Wits graduates and the connection with the University is important to them and to the brand. The sponsor’s contribution to development efforts are an important part of their whole support package to Bidvest Wits,” says Blanckensee. The amateur teams also make use of the Club’s facilities, which the University leases from the Johannesburg City Council. The facilities include five floodlit fields and a central complex consisting of change-rooms, a lounge area, shop and storage facilities. The amateur teams consist of 10 student teams taking part in various Gauteng leagues, the development section consisting of seventeen teams from Under 6 to Under 19; three divisions of student teams consisting of a total of 28 teams; two divisions of accounting graduates’ teams consisting of 20 teams; a women’s team that takes part in tertiary 18 WITSReview

institution competitions and a women students’ league consisting of 10 teams. As with most similar professional organisations, the Club runs a website with news and views to keep fans and any other interested parties up to date. The site also gives a fairly detailed club history. Having won the Transvaal Second Division in its first year, the Club was promoted to the first division in 1923. That glory was short-lived and the Club was relegated the next season. Things got steadily worse and it found itself in the third division. It was only in 1930, eight years after the club was formed, that the team played its first match on grass. The first major trophy was won in 1943 with the Southern Transvaal First Division title. The National Football League (NFL), the country’s first professional league, started in 1959 and it was 17 years later when Wits earned a place in the NFL first division. The Club joined the NFL in 1961 as amateurs in the second division. September 2007

The official history records: “Unfortunateto cater for students who were not selected ly the Club still suffered with poor training for the professional or reserve teams and for facilities, no lights and no official coach. Unthose wishing to play only social soccer. surprisingly the Club was relegated to the In 1996 the professional team dropped third division for the 1963 season. The only dangerously low in the league table. By good thing about 1962 was that it heralded 1998, the Club had recovered to finish in the arrival of Ronnie Schloss, who has gone eighth place. on to serve the Club in various positions The Bidvest group sponsorship was anfrom then until very recently – an unbroken nounced in 2002. Later that year, former stint of 44 years!” midfielder Stanton Fredericks made his final In 1963 Wits won promotion to the secappearance for South Africa. He was one ond division, where they stayed until proof only a handful of players to have motion in 1975. scored on debut for Bafana Bafana. MeanThe Club’s first big star arrived as a firstwhile, defenders Ashley Makhanya and year student in 1975 and immediately made Tony Coyle both earned their first national a strong impression: Gary Bailey went on to caps that year. play for Manchester United and received his The 2002-03 season was one of the Club’s first England cap in 1985. best: a run of 14 unbeaten matches helped The year 1978 was one of the most memthe Club finish third on the PSL. Several playorable for the Club with a momentous win ers also received national call-ups including over Kaizer Chiefs to clinch the Mainstay promising midfielder Benson Mhlongo. Cup. The Club also finished second in the After a fourth-place finish in 2003-04, a league behind Lusitano. dismal campaign the folRichard Gough reprelowing year saw the Club It was only in 1930, sented the club in 1979. eight years after the relegated. Former MaritzHe went on to be a Scotburg United coach Boetish international and club was formed, that bie Solomons, assisted by played for Everton and former Bafana midfielder the team played its Glasgow Rangers. first match on grass. Eric Tinkler, immediately The Club’s next major secured an Mvela Golden win was the BP Top Eight League title and a return in 1984 under new coach Julie Kaplan. to the top flight for the Clever Boys. 2005In 1985 Mike Kenning took the students 2006 was less than ideal with Bidvest Wits to a JPS Knockout Final win over Chiefs in a slumping to 13th place after leading the tie that stretched to three matches. league at one point. The next major trophies were to come in The Club’s home ground remains the 1995 when Wits won both the BP Top 8 and “compact but high-quality” 5 200-seater Bidthe Coca Cola Cup under John Lathan. vest stadium on the East Campus. During this period the Junior Club introKeep a close watch on the team as duced Under 6s and Under 7s and the insoccer and infrastructure develops in the ternal University leagues grew in leaps and country in the lead-up to the 2010 World bounds. Several amateur teams were formed Cup in South Africa. September 2007

WITSReview 19



Art meets Opera – the world of William Kentridge Alan Swerdlow


Portrait of William Kentridge

illiam Kentridge, possibly the best-known and internationally regarded contemporary South African artist was born in Johannesburg in 1955 to lawyer parents. His mother, Felicia, helped establish the first Legal Resource Centre in South Africa. His father, the eminent Sydney Kentridge QC, defended Nel20 WITSReview

son Mandela in the Treason Trial and represented the Biko family in the inquest into Steve Biko’s death. Sydney was later knighted by Queen Elizabeth II after he relocated to the United Kingdom. William, however, has always claimed Johannesburg as his home, despite spending extensive time abroad. In some ways the city has acted as a kind of inspirational muse for him: its landscape, topography and architecture can be discerned in many of his works. Kentridge’s primary and secondary education was completed at local government schools.With his parents’ human rights activism and their social circle of notable friends, it is difficult to determine just how much impinged on the mind of a young boy growing up in a bleak, transitory city lacking any real distinction and definition other than its mining past. However, Kentridge does recall the impact of seeing a photograph of the aftermath of the Sharpeville massacre and the impression it left on him. His tertiary studies were completed at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he graduated with a BA, (majoring in African Studies and Politics) in 1976 - the year of the Soweto student uprising. Whilst at Wits University, together with like-minded friends and associates, he became a founding member of The Junction Avenue Theatre Company. The group included other Witsies like Malcolm Purkey, Pippa Stein and Steven Sack, amongst others. September 2007

Protest Theatre in South Africa had not yet been named as such and was yet to reach its pinnacle in the early 1980s but the tradition of alternative, confrontational theatre-pieces was already well-established in township theatre. The Market Theatre opened its doors in 1976, during the student riots.

a seed in the evolution of Kentridge’s fictional, exploitative industrialist, Soho Eckstein, who figures as the major protagonist in a key cycle of animated films. Kentridge followed his studies at Wits with a fine arts course at the Johannesburg Art Foundation under the critical, if genial, tu-

William Kentridge, Drawing from ‘Preparing the Flute’ (Stage setting), 2004/05, Charcoal and pastel on paper, 80 x 120 cm

The energetic and articulate work of the Junction Avenue Company was critically acclaimed and it seems that some of its thematic concerns stayed with Kentridge. The Fantastical History of a Useless Man (performed at The Nunnery on Wits Campus) considered what it meant to be white, English-speaking and bourgeois in South Africa. An early production of Alfred Jarry’s Ubu Roi finds an echo in Kentridge’s later collaboration with the Handspring Puppet Company and Jane Taylor (Wits Professor of Dramatic Art) for Ubu and the Truth Commission and Randlords and Rotgut may well have planted September 2007

telage of the late Bill Ainslie. A seminal and inspirational figure, Ainslie’s indivisible fusion of his artistic expression and his political activism provided the perfect role-model to many artists in training. Yet Kentridge had not decided on a career as a fine artist and was still drawn to the concept of performance, which he found more appealing. He then went to Paris, to study at the Ecole Jacques Lecoq, the ground-zero for training in mime and performance art. At some point in this period he confronted his limitations as an actor and after his return he began work as an art director for WITSReview 21



film and television. Much of this work was rect his relocation of the Buchner classic. The commercial in nature but he was learning the techniques were further refined for Faustus in mechanics of film imagery as well as its pos- Africa, and both productions toured internasibilities and limitations. It was at this time tionally, bringing acclaim and a commission that he began his first experiments with stop- from the Belgian La Monnaie opera house to motion animation. tackle his first opera, Monteverdi’s Il Ritorno He was using a primitive form of ‘moving d’Ulisse, which references its central staging pictures’, drawing then erasing and re-draw- metaphor from his film, The History of the ing with variations and photographing a few Main Complaint. frames of each development at a time. The Time has long been considered a delineaend result, when projected, was remarkably tor of Kentridge’s vision, moving from the fluid, with his imagery frozen imagery of his morphing hypnotically Kentridge has exhibited at drawings through his into new drawings. The to his stagesome of the most notable animations technique of drawing in works, where time is charcoal and then eras- international art events. always circumscribed ing the image meant by the demands of stagthat traces of the original ghost image would ing. Now we have the production of Mozart’s haunt the new. The Magic Flute in which he literally immerses For Kentridge, this is the perfect metaphor his characters in his imagery through the use for the way in which South Africa’s history, of both front- and back-projection. But the both immediate and remote, informs the subject matter of the opera is of as much inpresent, and in particular, how unintentional terest and concern to the artist and by setting complicity could blight the experience of it in a late 19th century context, traces what any white male who, like himself, had grown he sees as the decline of Enlightenment prinup in the apartheid years. It is also the ciples into a degraded form – colonialism. perfect physical representation of his Kentridge has exhibited at some of the concerns about memory. most notable international art events. His It was in this cycle of films that two of creations are to be seen at the Tate Modern Kentridge’s primary characters first emerged in London and the Museum of Modern Art – the avaricious, troubled Soho Eckstein and in New York. His work sells for record prices his mocking nemesis, the artist Felix Teitel- for a living South African artist and contrary baum, whose physical appearance began to to the usual expectation, he is as recognised resemble Kentridge, the more we saw of him. and acclaimed locally as he is abroad. In 1988, Kentridge was one of the founders Some international critics find it disquietof the Free Film-makers Co-operative. ing that the most significant and acclaimed Kentridge managed to find a satisfying if artist of contemporary South Africa is a challenging synthesis of his differing incli- middle-aged, Jewish, English-speaking, melnations in his collaborative work with the ancholy, intellectual white man. Others apHandspring Puppet Company. Woyzeck on preciate the irony but William Kentridge has the Highveld utilised his animations and de- always been highly individual and equally unsigns, allowing him to conceptualise and di- expected and unpredictable. 22 WITSReview

September 2007

Shakespeare acquires

an African edge by Shirona Patel


he relevance of the works of William Shakespeare in the South African educational curriculum often raises questions from various sectors. Why should Shakespeare be recommended as a national setwork year in and year out, when we have internationally renowned works from African writers like Chinua Achebe and Wole Soyinka? Victor Houliston, Associate Professor of English at Wits University says: “Shakespeare continues to be central to the English curriculum not only because of his unequalled influence on contemporary authors and his unparalleled fame as a writer but because people throughout the world find that he tells their story, here and now.” However, schoolchildren can now have the best of both worlds. Nasou Via Afrika, a leading educational publisher in South Africa has partnered with Wits University to produce a series of books that mark an exciting new approach to teaching and learning Shakespeare in an African context. “Instead of trying to ‘Africanise’ Shakespeare, we encourage learners to be inspired, by their enjoyment of Shakespeare, to read works by African writers that raise similar issues or develop similar situations. This gives the text currency and links it to contempoSeptember 2007

rary African issues which schoolchildren relate to and engage with,” says Houliston. “The book introduces the rich tradition of African literature while supporting the teaching of Shakespeare and the text is designed to enhance learners’ understanding and enjoyment of the play.” The series offers the original text, together with line-by-line notes that explain the text and offer comprehensive background information. It includes a clear commentary after every scene and act and includes practical exercises. Houliston’s team includes experienced teachers such as Harriet Davis, Peter Farrands, Zwelakhe Mtsaka and Joanna Parmenter, all of whom have close connections with Wits. Davis and Parmenter are graduates of the prestigious MA in English Education programme, developed by Denise Newfield of the English Department. The first book of this innovative series, Macbeth, was launched at the Cape Town Book Fair in June 2006 followed by a seminar entitled Exploding Shakespeare: What place for Shakespeare in a world of small minds and tight fists? The seminar addressed the trivialising of the humanities in our culture dominated by corporate business and consumerism. A teachers’ workshop is also scheduled to take place in Gauteng later this year. WITSReview 23

Photo Essay

Photo Essay

Hidden WITS... Photo Essay


hey say a picture tells a thousand words. And it’s true. We proved it. We had an overwhelming response to our debut photo-essay on hidden parts of the East campus. And so here’s part two - the West campus. We hope it brings back a few memories of student times and that you see a campus that is steeped in tradition but also not afraid to change. You’ll agree that this essay shot by Peter Maher shows the campus in an entirely different light and gives new meaning to the phrase that Wits is the heart of Jozi. Or should that be the brain?

Ernest Ullmann statue in rest area behind Rembrandt Gallery 24 WITSReview

September 2007

Alumni House fromWits Club courtyard September 2007

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Photo Essay

Photo Essay

Barn door at The Barns, Wits Club complex

Lift in Chamber of Mines Building 26 WITSReview

September 2007

Pedestrian tunnel linking East and West campuses September 2007

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Photo Essay

Concatenation by Paul Stein in front of the Tower of Light

Photo Essay

Staircase between Donald Gordon and AlbertWessels buildings,Wits Business School

Bridge over stream below D J du Plessis building 28 WITSReview

September 2007

View of Wits Club courtyard from The Barns September 2007

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Photo Essay

Photo Essay

View of Chamber of Mines atrium from top floor

View of Chamber of Mines atrium 30 WITSReview

September 2007

Frieze above entrance to First National Bank building September 2007

WITSReview 31



Wits Snow Blitz


A Photo Essay

n July this year for the first time in decades, snow fell in Gauteng. In some places it was heavy enough for snowmen. In others it looked more like light frosting on an airy summer cake. But who cared, it snowed, yes snowed in Jozi. With thoughts of global warming far from mind, Joburgers made the most of the opportunity and none more so than on our campus. Never ones to miss a photo-op, Peter Maher and the Head of the Academic Planning Office, Lynda Murray, grabbed their cameras and captured the day the campus turned white.

Lynda Murray

Peter Maher 32 WITSReview

September 2007

Peter Maher September 2007

Lynda Murray WITSReview 33

Renewable energy

Renewable energy

Power for Africa

The worldwide renewal of interest in energy and the security of energy supply, is resounding throughout the electrical engineering community the world over.

By Prof. Willie CronjĂŠ


he debate around the security of the supply of electrical energy versus environmental considerations is also at the forefront of discussion. It is acknowledged that worldwide energy consumption cannot be sustained at the current rate. Fossil fuel reserves are being depleted at an increasing rate as more and more 34 WITSReview

nations like China and India move up the development ladder with an insatiable need for more electrical energy. This gives rise to geopolitical problems as nations vie for the scarce resources. Only higher efficiency in energy usage and the development of alternative sources of energy, preferably renewable energy, can defuse this situation. September 2007

In South Africa, there is a steady rise in These were some of issues raised and the the demand for electrical energy as a prime challenges posed at the recent Power Africa vehicle for economic and social upliftment. 2007 conference hosted at Wits University The country is already facing a crisis with re- by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics gard to electricity generation capacity that is Engineers and co-sponsored by the Southern currently being addressed by Eskom through African Power Pool and the South African an extensive new-build programme and the Institute of Electrical Engineers. Industry revival of some venerable, retired power experts and academics from 22 countries exgeneration facilities. The environmental im- changed ideas on the electrical power supply pact of these plans cannot be escaped, as they challenges facing South Africa, the continent are all based on the burning of non-renew- and the world. able fossil fuels. This makes the investigaThe conference focused on new develtion of renewable and clean (green) energy opments in renewable energy generation, options critical. HVDC and HVAC transmission, distribuThe emphasis on tion technologies and The environmental impact customer utilisation renewable energy is overshadowed by of these plans cannot be patterns on the contirenewed interest in nent. Technical experts escaped, as they are all nuclear power as a were given the opporbased on the burning of tunity to network on means of supplying the worldwide hunnon-renewable fossil fuels. research and develger for energy while opment taking place limiting the carbon footprint of electricity elsewhere on the continent in these areas and generation worldwide. to discuss technical challenges to widescale So, is there an alternative solution? implementation of the various technologies. It is well known that Africa is blessed with Policy makers and regulators were exposed abundant natural resources, including the to the possibilities and limitations of different majestic Congo River that promises a vast technologies. Industry experts and students amount of free, clean, hydropower, which also participated in the sessions. The conferwill fulfil almost all of Africa’s needs should ence was supported by a supplier exhibition the investment for building the Inga Rapids with both local industries and those from as Project materialise. The challenge would far afield as China being represented. be to transmit the power generated here to This provides testimony to the fact that reremote areas on the continent in the most search and development in renewable, clean efficient way. energy affects everyone. It should, therefore, High Voltage Alternating Current (HVAC) be reflected on the agenda of every stakeand High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) holder if we are to avoid geopolitical conflicts transmission are seen as technologies that as nations vie for the scarce resources. may solve this problem. There are also issues around the protection, planning, materi- Prof. Willie Cronje holds the MONDI Chair for als handling, operations and maintenance of Electrical Machines and Drives in the Wits School such a continent-wide SuperGrid. of Electrical and Information Engineering September 2007

WITSReview 35

Global City

Global City

Global studio, local lessons Wits University was home to city building professionals, students, academics and professionals from 26 countries, representing over 50 universities worldwide as part of the Global Studio (GS) Johannesburg Project.

By Prof. Peter Rich


he participants were hosted by the School of Architecture and Planning and worked closely with the City of Johannesburg. They engaged with communities in the townships of Alexandra, Diepsloot and Marshalltown in an effort to help the residents from these areas to develop creative, innovative solutions to improve their living conditions. Global Studio (GS) is an innovative design and planning studio exercise spearheaded by the United Nations Millennium Project 36 WITSReview

Task Force on Improving the Lives of Slum Dwellers. GS aims to contribute to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, especially goal 7 – to ensure environmental sustainability. Central to the GS is a community-based action and research agenda with the aim of helping to improve peoples’ lives in disadvantaged communities through empowerment and engagement. The engagement took place at various levels – on one level architects, planners, urban designers, landscape architects, social reSeptember 2007

searchers and international relations students from 26 countries shared their expertise and experience. At another level there was constant interaction with the City of Joburg that will continue to facilitate the development of projects coming out of GS Johannesburg. More importantly, participants also engaged with communities in Alexandra, Diepsloot and Marshalltown. Communities are themselves key agents of change and they participated in this project in order to better their lives. They were the most knowledgeable about the issues they faced daily and had the most local knowledge about what would and would not work in their respective environments. Through this engagement, the GS participants began to comprehend the detail that was necessary to develop tailored solutions to the various issues plaguing these communities. But what are the benefits of this entire project? • The outcomes are big and small, with short-term achievable goals and longterm potential. • Many community leaders and individuals who were part of the process are now taking the lead in developing their own change. • There are students who have chosen to continue working with various communities and projects, while others are beginning research projects focused on these communities. International students have taken powerful life lessons back to their home countries and they have in turn shared knowledge and expertise with African students and professionals. • There are many academics within the School who already engage with September 2007

communities, are strong advocates for change, for empowerment and for improving peoples’ lives. • There is great potential for continuing engagement with communities and government, of exploring teaching methods and the potential leadership role that Wits can take through research and application in moving several processes forward. Positive immediate outcomes within the undergraduate and honours level of teaching in the School include second year architecture students assisting the Gauteng Education Department to develop proposals for prototypical High Schools adapted to 21st Century curriculum changes, effective teaching and best practice in creating amenable teaching and learning environments. These ideas will be applied to the Minerva site in Alexandra. Planning students will be carrying forward their collaborative work with the New School students from New York and the groundwork has been set for stakeholders within and representative of the community in both Alexandra, the City and Diepsloot to work with academics, professionals and City officials to find ways and funding to implement the strategic planning proposals resulting from the GS initiative. In putting the people of these townships first and by learning from and with them, a process has been put in place that enables and establishes the potential for meaningful and achievable change to take place. GS is a catalyst for change. Now it is a question of what happens next. Peter Rich is an Adjunct Professor in the School of Architecture and Planning and is the convenor of Global Studio Johannesburg WITSReview 37

Media & Society

Media & Society

The crisis of the SABC as a public broadcaster Since 1994, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) was intended to be a public service broadcaster free from government and party political control. It enjoys full editorial and programming-independence from any external influences including advertisers.

Illustration: Michelle van der Walt

by Prof. Tawana Kupe


his vision for the SABC was intended to be a decisive and irreversible break with practices during apartheid when the SABC was the voice of an undemocratic and unrepresentative government propagating ideologies that offended against universal human rights including freedom of expression and freedom of the media. The SABC is now expected to be a voice for all South Africans in their diversity and to promote freedom of expression. As a publicly owned organisation, only the SABC is allowed to collect licence fees from those who own television sets. It is also entitled to public funding from the national treasury. It is important to focus on the SABC because it commands the largest audiences in South Africa and is therefore the closest to a communications medium reached and accessed by all South Africans or the broadest 38 WITSReview

possible public. In its radio services, it best approximates the constitutional imperative to use all the 11 official languages and therefore has the potential to advance multilingualism and multiculturalism, which in turn promotes diversity - a core value of the new democratic order in South Africa. The SABC also has five television services that have programming in all the 11 official languages. In some geographic areas, especially the rural areas where the print media does not reach audiences, SABC radio services are the only source of regular information and entertainment. It is important, therefore, that programmes from the SABC meet the public service broad requirement of being independent and not unduly influenced by political and commercial imperatives. The SABC has some talented, award-winning journalists and competent managers September 2007

who are sometimes poached by commercial competitors and the communications sector in general. It has made some notable attempts to advance and to air creative programmes that explore South African society in a post-apartheid context through producing locally made programmes. Some of these programmes, such as Generations, a soap opera, have become very popular with audiences. In recent years, the SABC has come under severe criticism for appearing to be influenced by external forces in its news and current affairs programming. Several controversies around news and current affairs appear to confirm to those who value and are vigilant about media freedom that the SABC is slipping into habits and practices of the past. In particular, a controversy over an apparent banning of commentators has damaged its editorial reputation because it appears that independent and critical voices have been censored. The departure of the respected broadcaster John Perlman who confirmed on air that he had been asked not to use some commentators deepened the controversy, especially when the SABC has not brought any of its managers to account for the ‘blacklisting’. It did not help matters that the SABC went to court to try to stop a respected and critical newspaper, the Mail & Guardian from publishing a leaked, full version of the report on its website. Yet another controversy, over the failure to broadcast a documentary on President Thabo Mbeki, further raised serious questions of programming independence and the possibility of internal censorship. The SABC’s explanation that the independent makers of the documentary had produced an ‘incurably defamatory’ documentary created a suspicion September 2007

that they had either been pressured to drop the documentary, or feared to broadcast controversial material for political reasons. The controversy has, like the blacklisting one, refused to go away and creates a shadow over the SABC’s editorial integrity. Matters have not been made easier by the fact that a large number of the SABC Board members are known to be African National Congress (ANC) members or close to the ruling ANC government. Suspicion has arisen in a country with a long history of political control of broadcasting that the SABC Board pushes the interests of the ANC at the expense of independence and impartiality. What is often not publicly debated is that the SABC is a public broadcaster that is vulnerable to commercial influences in ways that undermine its editorial and programming independence. Its news and current affairs programmes are interrupted by advertising slots that reduce their duration in a 30-minute programme by nearly half. Most public broadcasters do not allow advertising in news and current affairs. The entertainment and cultural programming of the SABC is skewed towards imported programmes from Europe and the USA and lacks balance with locally made programmes. This situation is a direct result of a funding model that is heavily dependent on advertising for as much as 80% of its revenue needs, with licence fees and public funding contributing the balance. It is no surprise then, that it is the piper who calls the tune. The SABC seems to be facing both a crisis of editorial integrity and funding that undermines its ability to be a genuine public broadcaster. Prof. Tawana Kupe is Dean of the Faculty of Humanities atWits University. WITSReview 39

Fly-fi shing

Fly-fi shing

istry. Fly-fishing casting also doesn’t rely on strength, so male and female alike can learn to cast with the same elegant wizardry. Fly-fishing is increasingly becoming a favourite pastime, and where once it was synonymous with the catching of trout it has now widened its scope to include many other species including yellowfish and tiger fish and even to fly-fishing in our oceans. Business lunches and golfing days are being superseded by the fly-fishing outing. It thus pays to develop your double-haul as well as your wedge on the green. Fly-fishing’s growing popularity is perhaps also due to the stress and pace of modern life. Taking the family away to a beautiful moun-

The art of deception

By Malcolm Meintjes The essence of fl y-fi shing is deception. On the end of your line is a fl y, an artifi cial concoction of natural materials that is cunningly crafted on a fl y-tying vice to look like a real fl y. The artistry of the deception lies in both the crafting of the fl y and the technique of the cast.


his is pretty much what the first recorded fly-fishers, the Macedonians, did 16 centuries ago and it’s what we wish to emulate when we pack our rods and tackle and head to the Belfasts or Dullstrooms of the world. What we tie on and how we fish these crafted concoctions will determine whether success is achieved or not. Trout, in particular, can be extremely picky about what they will eat. Don’t make 40 WITSReview

A group photo taken at the inaugural Alumni Flyfishers outing at Eendekuil on theVaal River where novices were inducted into the art of catching yellowfish

the mistake that they only need to see one’s fly in order to have a go at it. One can, of course, buy flies from others who slave over a hot vice but it’s still necessary to learn to cast properly with tackle which, though modern in technological terms, is ancient in practice. Cast your mind’s eye back to A River Runs Through It and recall being enthralled by the sight of a fly line being cast back and forth with enchanting artSeptember 2007

Fly-fishing guru, Malcolm Meintjes September 2007

tain resort where you can indulge in this timeless pastime has few equals in stimulating the mind and refreshing the soul. Fly-fishing also gives you the opportunity to experience the most outstanding and diverse scenery. As a fly-fisher I have seen not only the majesty of the Drakensberg and the azure seas off Mozambique but also the turquoise lakes and rivers of New Zealand, the imposing volcanoes of Chile, the lagoons of Tasmania and the ruins of ancient Egypt from the crystal waters of the Nile.

Fly-fishing’s growing popularity is perhaps also due to the stress and pace of modern life. Alumni Flyfishing Club launched The Wits Alumni Flyfishing Club was launched at a function held at the Wits Club on 15 May 2007. The club is open to any alumnus who wishes to learn about this ancient art as well as for those who wish to develop their existing fly-fishing skills. Malcolm Meintjes is the convenor of the Alumni Flyfishing Club and can be contacted via e-mail at alumni@wits.ac.za or flyfisher@icon.co.za. The first novice’s fly-fishing outing was held on 20 May 2007 and many more outings are being planned. Visit www.wits.ac.za/alumni/clubs for the programme of future outings. Malcolm Meintjes (BCom 1976, LLB 1978) is one of South Africa’s pre-eminent fly-fishers and the author of many articles and books on trout fishing. He was also the writer and producer of the popular television series The Flyfisher’s Beat. WITSReview 41



Celebrating Wits’ Architectural Heritage

Photographs: Peter Maher

Where cows once grazed and horses were groomed, graduate students now engage in debate about the 21st century economy. Where carriages once rambled along, cars now whiz by; where governesses once tutored, lecturers now teach, and where children once played, students now live.

By Prof. Katherine Munro


North Lodge, although substantially altered over time, is more than a hundred years old” 42 WITSReview

isitors to the Wits Parktown Campus are often taken aback by the beautiful surroundings in which they find themselves. More than that, it is the story behind each building that seeps through, inviting guests to take a nostalgic walk through history. The Campus forms part of Parktown (originally Park Town, named after Park Station) an old residential part of Johannesburg dating back to the end of the 19th Century. Park Town became a desirable new suburb from 1892 to 1910, housing the elite residents of Johannesburg. Bordered by St David’s Place, Victoria Avenue, Blackwood Road, Oxford Road and St Andrew’s Road, the Parktown Campus is now an academic and residential hub, extending over seven hectares. It is home to the Wits Business School and the School of Public and Development Management but it September 2007

also serves as a residential hub, housing the 22 double-storey cluster units of Parktown Village 1 for postgraduate students and the older, substantial sturdy blocks of the Ernest Oppenheimer Hall dating back to the 1960s, affectionately called EOH by generations of undergraduates. Wits University invested in properties in Parktown from the early 1960s and remains a major landowner with an interest in maintaining its educational presence. Sadly, even in recent decades, much of the past vanished as new buildings were erected. Today there is a far greater consciousness of the need to preserve our architectural heritage than there was even 20 years ago. A powerful legislative framework ensures that older buildings cannot be demolished or even altered without permission and consultation. In terms of the National Heritage Resources Act of 1999, permits are needed to demolish or redevelop any structure older than 60 years. Wits faces the challenge of conserving and celebrating the past while at the same time adapting old buildings to suit modern educational purposes. We would like to further develop the Parktown Campus as a premier South African management education campus to shape global leaders in Africa in the 21st Century.We are actively seeking support to build a conference centre, to enhance accommodation for students and delegates and to upgrade teaching and library facilities. Drawing on Australia’s Burra Charter of 1999 (The ICOMOS Charter for the Conservation of Places of Cultural significance) Wits is committed to understanding the cultural significance of its buildings through documenting the fabric of the buildings and researching the history of all its properties. To this end, the Faculty of Commerce, Law September 2007

and Management commissioned architects Henry Paine and Johann Bruwer to present a Heritage Status Report to assist Wits in preserving and developing the Parktown Campus and to ensure that it meets all legislative requirements. Wits believes that old houses, outbuildings, servants’ quarters, coach houses, a block of flats, and even boundary walls, trees and gateposts can be saved and imaginatively included in plans for new activities. Wits seeks to work with the Parktown Heritage Association to ensure that the richly layered history of this portion of Johannesburg is preserved, protected and appreciated. Paine and Bruwer have researched the history and buildings of seven of the original Parktown Campus stands. The core of the Wits Parktown Campus is the historic piece of land once known as The Oval. The 1896 Plan of Johannesburg drawn by AE Kaplan, shows the Parktown Oval positioned at the centre of the original eight stands. In 1939, the Oval was renamed by the City of Johannesburg to the John Forrest Oval which later became an additional playing field for the Park Town Preparatory School (PTPS). In 1970 the City Council donated the Oval and the Oval Road to the University. Regrettably, much of the land was used for the residential Parktown Village cluster in the 1980s. Today, it is only a slight bend in the road behind EOH that picks up the outline of the original oval space. The name The Oval was also given to the double-storey, symmetrical small block of flats facing St Andrew’s Road built in 1926 in Early Modernist style. Minimal alterations have been made to the four original apartments and the original design is still visible. Wits acquired the property in 1963 and is WITSReview 43



currently using it for residential accommodation. Wits is planning to make this building the new home of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies. On the corner of Blackwood Avenue and St Andrew’s Road is Beaulieu or Annie’s House. This modest, single-storey home was built in 1901 by Simon Zwarenstein. The style is late Victorian and a Cape Dutch-style gable was added in 1904. The house is of importance because it was the first of two residences built next to the Oval. Wits acquired the house and its associated buildings in 1972. One of the two most imposing extant homes on the Parktown Campus is Outeniqua. This home has been described as a Parktown Baronial, built in 1904 on the corner of St David’s Place and St Andrew’s Road. The original residents were the Robert Kantor family. It is an eclectic mix of architectural details - Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau as seen in the glass panes and the imposing Burmese teak staircase. The house was also

known as Ohlsson House but in 1912 when ownership passed to Abraham Aaron Atkins, a Russian Jewish immigrant, the name of the house changed to Streatham. Over the next half-century there were four owners. The present name, Outeniqua was given to the house by Johanna Theron who from 1957 ran a boarding house for Wits students and the Overseas Visitors Club. Wits acquired Outeniqua in 1964 as a suitable home and location for the newly established Wits Business School (WBS). New buildings were added to the rear of the old house. The success of the WBS and the generous support of donors has enabled additions and extensions to be made, linking the old and the new. The house is in excellent condition but the alterations and additions have compromised the integrity of the original design of the house. In 1999 the Albert Wessels Building was completed followed by the Bert Wessels building in 2004. Equally important from a heritage perspective is North Lodge on the corner of Victoria

Avenue and Oxford Road. The house was toria. It was restored in 1996 and the stained completed in 1906 for Henry S Wilson in a glass fanlights bring back that fantasy feel of style called Free Renaissance. It was an ar- the faux Gothic design. chitectural fantasy featuring a steeply sloped Mwalimu House, today the home of Wits’ Gothic roof with turrets. Over the years there Link Centre for research and teaching in were several changes in ownership and func- telecommunications policy was built in the tion - the house was at 1930s for a Mrs Fanny one stage a school, then a It was an architectural Segell and was called boarding house and later House Segell. It is a fantasy featuring a a private hotel before its double-storey modernist steeply sloped Gothic house built on the site of acquisition by the University in 1964. North an original 1918 house. roof with turrets. Lodge became part of The 1938 house had a flat EOH and the Dean and his family lived on concrete roof but in 1953 this was converted the ground floor with senior students accom- to a hipped slate roof, compromising the inmodated on the first floor. In 1982 the house tegrity of the art deco design. The servants’ became a national monument. However, the quarters of the original 1918 home were reintegrity of the original design was lost with tained and today this more humble structure the changes to the roof and the demolition is considered to be of cultural significance. of the turrets of the original house and the Despite the loss of the original setting of this coach house and stables. The conservatory to house, the period woodwork, brickwork, the western side of the house is reminiscent fittings and flooring are still appreciated. of the conservatory of Melrose House in Pre- The University acquired the property from

Outeniqua, now the heart of theWits Business school, is a heritage building admired and appreciated by students daily

A curved wooden fence is all that remains to demarcate the Oval. ParktownVillage residence lies in the background

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September 2007

September 2007

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had the distinction of being the first Professor of Architecture in South Africa. The Foundation stone was laid by Sir Lionel Phillips in 1913 and the project was completed in 1914. The PTPS building was itself demolished to make way for EOH. Wits acquired the building in 1963 and it served North Lodge (above and below) - a flavour of French chateau blended with practical Highveld verandah as the home of the Institute becomes “Parktown baronial”.The conservatory behind the stained glass windows has been restored for Adult Education and the Schmerenbeck Centre for several years and also as the location of a holiday centre for the children of Wits staff and students. Wits is currently exploring a range of development and planning options in light of the historical age and importance of the Parktown Campus. Despite so much being lost in the past, there is much to preserve, celAlfred Segell in 1971 and renovations were ebrate and enjoy. We invite completed in 1981. you to take a walk along the jacaranda-lined Today Wits is preserving but giving new roads of the Parktown Campus and to take life to Trematon House on the corner of Vic- a peep into our buildings to see how Wits toria Avenue and Trematon Place (formerly blends the past and present.You have only to Queens Place), to create additional quality read a bit, park your car and pay a visit to the residential accommodation. Trematon House Parktown Campus to experience the echoes started as a modest home for E Holmes in of the past. 1902. In 1910 the house was redeveloped as Part II of this feature, focusing on hera boarding house with dormitories and beditage buildings on Jubilee Road, will rooms, a dining hall, kitchen and communal appear in the next issue. bathroom and toilets for the PTPS. The style is late Edwardian and Geoffrey E Pearse was Prof. Katherine Munro is Acting Dean of the Facthe architect. Pearse was appointed the first ulty of Commerce, Law and Management at Wits Professor of Architecture at Wits in 1921 and University. 46 WITSReview

September 2007

In Memoriam

Wits University fondly remembers those who have passed away.

Hilary Barker (1947 - 2006) Hilary Barker joined Wits on 1 June 1991 as departmental secretary for Political Studies. In 2001 she was appointed as secretary to the Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, Professor Gerrit Olivier. Hilary was born on 5 August 1947 and died on 15 November 2006 after a long illness. She leaves a son, Bruce and a daughter, Colleen, and three grandchildren.

Neville Curtis (1947 - 2007) Neville Curtis, former president of the National Union of South African Students, died in Tasmania at the age of 59. Neville was central to the emergence of radical white student opposition to apartheid in the early 1970s. He was banned by the National Party government in 1973 and fled to Australia a year later. Neville was born in Johannesburg on 16 October 1947 and attended Jeppe Boys High School before enrolling at Wits where he obtained a BA degree in political studies.

Michael Dennis Grossett (1959 - 2007) Michael Dennis Grosset died in the Kenya Airways plane crash in the Cameroon in May 2007. He graduated with a BSc in Engineering in 1981 and in 1987 received a Graduate Diploma in Civil Engineering. He was a Director at Jones & Wagener Consulting Civil Engineers and specialised in structural civil engineering projects in South Africa and internationally. He is survived by his two sons Douglas and Gordon and his wife Lesley (née Gilchrist) who graduated in 1985 with a BA degree. Peter Hunter (1928 - 2007) Prof. Peter Hunter was born in Pietermaritzburg and attended Scottsville Primary and St Charles High School. He served as president of the National Catholic Federation of Students from 1949 - 1950. In 1957, he married Lucienne and the couple moved to Roma in the then Basutoland where he took up a position in the Education Department at Pius XIIth College. He stayed in Roma until 1975 apart from a one-year break during which he took up a scholarship at UCLA and did a brief spell spent at Rhodes University. Peter joined Wits as September 2007

a Professor of Education in January 1976 and was appointed Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Education in 1987, later managing the incorporation of Johannesburg College of Education into Wits. He was involved in the development of national policy in several sectors of South African education, including the restructuring of higher education. He was advisor to the Northern Province in the establishment of their provincial education department and as chairperson of the multiparty National Education Review Committee, was responsible for drafting proposals on the organisation, governance and funding of schools. WITSReview 47



Alexander von Holy (1952 - 2007) Alexander von Holy, Professor in the School of Molecular and Cell Biology at Wits passed away on 27 March 2007. He was a founder of Von Holy Consulting and was well known in the fast moving consumer goods sector for his work as a food safety consultant, trainer and auditor. He was a pioneer of formal adult education and in-service training on food quality, hygiene, sanitation and food microbiology. He is survived by his wife, Corene and their three sons. Richard Lurie (1918 - 2007) Richard Lurie rose from tea boy at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) to become its President in 1960. Born in Johannesburg in 1918, Richard matriculated from King Edward High School and worked part-time at the JSE. In 1940 he graduated with a BCom degree and returned to the JSE. In 1946 he became a practicing member of the JSE. He was president of the JSE in 1960 and again from 1972-1973. Richard loved animals and bought a farm which is today known as Innesfree Farm close to the M1 in Sandton. In 1990 he donated all but 25 hectares of the farm to the former Sandton Town Council to be used as a botanical garden. He retired from the JSE in 1990. Richard died in Johannesburg, aged 89.

Jens Mende (1944 - 2007) Jens Mende, a staff member in the Department of Information Systems in the Faculty of Commerce, Law & Management, was tragically killed during a robbery at his home in March 2007. Jens served the University since 1979 and was a Senior Lecturer and a longserving member of staff. He devoted the last 28 years of his life to teaching information systems at the University. Jens will always be remembered for his humorous and eccentric character and his love of learning and teaching. His intellect and level of scholarship were an inspiration to all with whom he came in contact. He will be sorely missed. WITSReview relies on the Wits community to keep us informed of alumni deaths. To notify WITSReview about the recent death of a Wits alumnus, please e-mail alumni@wits.ac.za

Imraan Sayed (1984 - 2007) Imraan Sayed, a recent graduate of Wits, passed away on 8 January 2007 as a result of injuries sustained in a car accident that occurred on 22 December 2006. He enrolled at Wits University in 2003 and completed his BA in 2005 majoring in Geography and Archaeology. He did his postgraduate studies in Human Geography in 2006 and would have graduated on 17 May 2007. Imraan was passionate about cricket and by the age of 18 was already playing Premier and President’s League cricket for the Lenasia Cricket Club. 48 WITSReview

September 2007

Bruce Sephton (1929 - 2007) Bruce Sephton died in Derby, England on 1 June 2007 aged 78. After matriculating from Dale College in 1946 he enrolled at Wits to study mechanical engineering. After graduating in 1951 he went to the UK to take up the position of rail transport expert in the services of the then Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland railways. In 1954 he married Betty Worsley. Their married life began in Rhodesia where their children Anne, Craig and Claire were born. In the 1960s he was sent to the UK as the supervisor of the team that introduced electric locomotives to the Rhodesian Railways. In 1963 he joined General Electric, eventually moving to British Rail where he rose to the rank of Assistant Chief Mechanical Engineer based in Derby. Samuel Wayburne (1912 - 2007) Samuel Wayburne came from a large, poor family and put himself through medical school at Wits by tutoring other students in anatomy. He won the prize for the best anatomy student in the Commonwealth and graduated in 1935. Whilst at medical school he met Hilde Ginsberg (who became Professor of Anaesthetics at Baragwanath Hospital). He married her in 1938 and they remained together for nearly 70 years. Sam did service as a physician in the South African army in World War II where he rose to the rank of major and was mentioned in dispatches. After the War he spent some time as a general practitioner and then took his family to Britain as he worked towards attaining membership of the Royal College of Paediatricians. He then returned to work as an academic paediatrician at Baragwanath Hospital and was awarded a Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. Shortly thereafter he was promoted to professor and head of the Department of Paediatrics. After a career as a clinician, teacher and researcher, Samuel retired in 1976. In 1987 he and Hilde emigrated to Miami, Florida. Whilst in the USA he was an active member of the internationally renowned Fairchild Gardens where he tended to and taught about plants. He maintained his ties to teaching by recording scientific texts for blind students. In 2003 he and Hilde moved to the United Kingdom. He died on 4 May 2007, aged 95. Heather White (1946 - 2007) Heather White who worked in the School of Anatomical Sciences for Prof. PV Tobias passed away in July 2007. Heather would have completed 23 years of service at the University this October. Her career in the University started with Prof. Tobias as a Research Assistant in 1984 and she went on to become a Senior Administration Officer for the Palaeoanthropology Research Unit. Recently, she was the Senior Administration Officer for the Sterkfontein Research Unit and also supported Prof. Trevor Jenkins, Acting Director of the recently established Institute for Human Evolution. September 2007

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Alumni Achievers Anvir Adam Dr Anvir Adam (MBBCh, 1964; DTM&H, 1986; DPH, 1988*) was awarded the Counsellor of the Order of the Baobab by President Mbeki on 24 April 2007 in recognition of the exceptional contribution he has made to the community. Earlier in the year he also received the award of Cavaliere of the Order of the Stella della Solidarieta Italiana for his humanitarian assistance to Italian prisoners during the war. Dr Adam, who has distinguished himself as a tireless champion of worthy social and human upliftment causes, received the Wits Gold Medal award in 2004 for his contribution to the community and to the University, especially the Faculty of Health Sciences where he co-established the Wits Health Sciences Library Endowment Fund. *Dr Adam also obtained a BSc from UCT.

Mark Blumenthal Blumenthal (BSc, 1999), has been awarded his PhD at Cambridge University for his research in the field of nanotechnology. Nature Physics has published an article he wrote describing his doctoral research which included building an electron pump capable of controlling and measuring the flow of a single stream of electrons at speeds of up to 3,4 billion per second (3,4 GHz). This is several orders of magnitude faster than anything else currently available. High speed, high accuracy transport of single electrons in nanoscale devices is predicted to underpin future electronics, according to Blumenthal. 50 WITSReview

Arthur Chaskalson Retired Constitutional Court Chief Justice, Arthur Chaskalson (BCom, 1952; LLB, 1954; LLD, 1990) and Kenyan environmental activist Wangari Maathai were awarded the 2007 Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights at the Castle in Cape Town earlier this year. Chaskalson received the award for his lifelong contribution to establishing a rights culture in SA.The award, established twelve years ago by the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation, honours “outstanding dedication to improving the health and life chances of disadvantaged populations in SA and worldwide”. September 2007

Johnny Clegg Johnny Clegg (BA Hons in Anthropology, 1977) was awarded an honorary doctorate in music from Wits at a graduation ceremony held on 13 June 2007.The citation for Clegg outlined his phenomenal contribution to music that started in the early 1970s when he joined Sipho Mchunu to form an acoustic Zulu musical duo called Juluka. He later formed the band Savuka which achieved phenomenal success on the music charts, at one stage holding the numbers 1 and 2 position

on the singles and album charts at the same time. This was a momentous achievement, and in 1990 the band members received the Victoires award from the French recording industry for the best-selling international artists over two years. In the same year they also received the world music award for the biggest selling world music group internationally. Clegg, who was now known throughout western Europe as Le Zoulou Blanc, was awarded the “Legion d’Honneur” Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the French Government in 1991. Clegg also played an important role in the struggle against apartheid where, as chairman of the South African Musician’s Association (SAMA) during the late 1980s, he was the political spokesperson and representative to the Mass Democratic Movement for performers. Today he continues to tour as a performer overseas on a regular basis.

Brenda Gourley Professor Brenda Gourley (CTA, 1966), Vice-Chancellor of The Open University, is the new chairperson of the Council of the Association of Commonwealth Universities (ACU). She has been Vice-Chancellor of The Open University since January 2002 and is currently a member of the board of the International Association of Universities. She became South Africa’s first woman Vice-Chancellor when she was appointed to the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1994.Prof. Gourley has been awarded several honorary degrees for her contribution to higher education and has been named as one of the Global Business Network’s ‘remarkable people’ Professor Gourley has chaired the ACU Council before, from 1996-97. Stephen Sergay Dr Sergay (MBBCh, 1970) was elected the 30th president of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) at its 59th Annual Meeting held in Boston in April this year. Dr. Sergay, a general neurologist practising in Tampa, Florida, has previously served the AAN as Vice-President and member of the board of directors, chairman of Strategic Planning, and chairman of a task force that led to the development of a consortium that created the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties.With over 20 000 members, the AAN is the world’s largest group of neurologists. September 2007

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Alumni Mentorship Workshop

About 45 participants attended an Alumni Mentorship Workshop entitled Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders, from 2-9 June 2007 at the Wits Club complex. The Workshop was a joint venture between Alumni Relations, the Counselling and Careers Development Unit, the Centre for Learning, Teaching and Development and the Graduate School’s World of Work Training and Internship Programme. The aim of the Workshop was to establish a programme for alumni to mentor new graduates. The workshop was facilitated by Dr Hilary Geber and Lesley Emanuel (left).

Meeting alumni in the workplace

The Gauteng Chapter of the Wits Alumni Association was established at an event held at the Wits Club on 30 June 2007. Bruce Fordyce (above) presented an entertaining motivational talk entitled A winning recipe for success that was attended by about 60 alumni. Other speakers at the occasion were the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Loyiso Nongxa, the President of Convocation, Prof. Dave Kolitz and the Head of Alumni Relations, Peter Maher. A steering committee was formed at the meeting to take the Chapter forward. The

members of the Committee are Justice Ralph Zulman (BCom 1959; LLB 1961; HDip Tax Law 1974), Thom Luhning (BA 1978; PDM 1979), Dave Hodgskiss (BCom 1971), Viresh Vallabhbhai (BA 1998; BAHons 1999; MA 2000), Tumishi Malepa (BCom 2006), William Baker-Duly (BSc Eng 2003), Billy Katumba (BA 2004) and Moushmi Vallabhbhai (BAcc 2006). The Committee held its first meeting on 28 July 2007 and is already working towards developing a programme of action.

International alumni gatherings An alumni reunion took place at the Hilton Hotel in Nairobi, Kenya on 16 July 2007. About 40 alumni, their partners and friends attended the cocktail function which was hosted by Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Loyiso Nongxa. The Vice-Principal, Prof. Yunus Ballim, hosted a cocktail party for alumni in Toronto,

Canada on 18 July while the Registrar, Dr Derek Swemmer hosted a dinner for alumni in San Francisco, USA on 25 July. The ViceChancellor together with the Chairperson of the Board of Governors, Lazarus Zim and the Director of the Wits Business School (WBS), Prof. Mthuli Ncube hosted a function for WBS graduates on 10 August 2007 in London.

Alumni Diary

On 27 July 2007 about 70 alumni employed at the KPMG head office in Parktown engaged with the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Loyiso Nongxa on Wits’ aspiration to be a top 100 university by its 100th anniversary in 2022 at a presentation held at KPMG. 52 WITSReview

Gauteng Alumni Chapter launched

• The annual Founders’ Tea for alumni who graduated 40 years ago or longer will take place at Vice-Chancellor Prof. Loyiso Nongxa’s residence, Savernake, on Thursday 25 October 2007. • All alumni are invited to join us in celebrating Wits’ 85th Anniversary at a musical festival for the whole family on the Library Lawns on Sunday, 21 October 2007. September 2007

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Book Reviews

Book Reviews

Wits University academics and alumni have a fi ne tradition of producing titles across a wide variety of disciplines. In every issue of the WITSReview our team of reviewers will put on their reading glasses and do some serious page turning on your behalf. This is our selection this quarter. All the books reviewed in this issue have been published by Wits University Press. Riddles in Stone – Controversies, Theories and Myths About Southern Africa’s Geological Past

By: Hugh Eales The author is Professor Emeritus of Geology at Rhodes University, South Africa. He founded the School of Exploration Geology in 1978 and is a Life Fellow of the Geological Society of South Africa. This splendid book is nothing short of a geological detective story and covers a variety of fascinating controversies and startling differences of opinion that have accompanied the evolution of the study of Earth Sciences in southern Africa. Those who engage in these matters know that over the centuries, debates have raged among geologists and between geologists and biologists, physicists and theologians, on controversies such as the age of the Earth and its lifespan; the Apocalypse; Noah’s Flood as myth or fact; Continental Drift; the origin of ore deposits of gold, diamonds, copper and platinum; and Schwarz’s well-meaning but forgotten Kalahari Scheme. Eales takes all of the above and with crisp analysis and strong opinion produces a page-turning read. It’s not ideal for an easy Sunday afternoon under the sun read but read it you must. This encyclopaedic book is the result of a lifetime’s work. Although scrupulously rooted in scientific literature, it maintains an accessible and entertaining tone and shows how consensus amongst a majority may be proof of nothing. Geologists challenged to interpret events that took place billions of years ago, often beneath the Earth’s surface, have drawn up theories and hypotheses which may appear either absurdly dated or, from other perspectives, as cutting edge. The introduction of fresh ideas (as in the Plate Tectonic model) or new techniques (as in the dating of rocks using radioactive decay) can re-align the thrust of science, leading to the abandoning of traditional ideas and the embracing of new ones. This is one for the December shelf. – GrahamWarning 54 WITSReview

September 2007

Sterkfontein – Early Hominid Site In the Cradle of Humankind

By: Amanda Esterhuysen Apart from the deep historical value of this region, it has also become a major tourist site as it seeks to promote Africa’s unique position in the development of mankind. This guide to Sterkfontein is the second in a series of short books on South Africa’s World Heritage Sites. Written by specialists and generously illustrated, the series aims to provide accurate and accessible introductions to the sites and to make the visit more meaningful and enjoyable. Mapungubwe was published in 2005. There is no doubt that this book lives up to the promise of its earlier shelf-mates. It provides an easy-to-read overview of the geological and fossil history of the Sterkfontein Valley in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site. Most famous for ‘Mrs Ples’ and ‘Little Foot’, the Sterkfontein Caves have produced more australopithecines than any other site in the world since excavations began in the 1930s. The fossil record – comprising thousands of animals, plants and hominids is simply presented and current debates are explained. An overview of the pioneers in the field and of the role played by the discovery of gold, provide an informative historical context to the early discoveries, while the use of visual markers from Sterkfontein Caves enables visitors to identify essential features and formations. Amanda Esterhuysen is a lecturer in archaeology at the University of the Witwatersrand. She writes with a clarity of purpose and patently has a deep love and understanding of her subject. This is an ideal gift for any South African or visitor who intends exploring this part of the world. We only have two words left – well done. – GrahamWarning Stars of the Southern Skies – An Astronomy Field Guide

By: Mary Fitzgerald The author is well-known to those of us who have visited the famous dome on the campus and even better known to her colleagues. There have been many field guides and popular books on amateur astronomy produced over the years but few are devoted entirely to the rich skies of the southern hemisphere. Now updated, Stars of the Southern Skies draws on the knowledge of South African experts to offer stargazers some unique insights into the night skies in their hemisphere of the world. Superb photographs, star charts and graphics complement the text. This is a book for anybody who has ever gazed in wonder at the glory of a star-filled sky, a must for all amateur astronomers and an interesting addition to the shelves of the experts. All that’s left to say is get in your car and go and buy that telescope you’ve been threatening to do for so long. – GrahamWarning September 2007

WITSReview 55

At your wits end

At your wits end

The ABC of life By Michelle Swart

56 WITSReview

that we try to imagine experiencing, and have said something along the lines of: “I would never cope if that had to happen to me.” But humans are amazing beings. I, too, have looked at some poor soul who has befallen a terrible fate and said: “If that happened to me I would never cope.” Yet the terrible fate happened and I coped. It is only in times of adversity that we realise our true strength as a person and sometimes it takes the bad to highlight and allow us to really appreciate the good. We can never be totally prepared for the things that life throws our way – there is a constant mix of the good, the bad and the ugly in everyday living. Even though there are many apt quotations or cheesy clichés I could use to illustrate various points throughout this article, I have chosen just one in closing: “Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well” - Josh Billings Illustration: Michelle van der Walt


am convinced that each of us, in our last moments of drawing breath on this earth, will find the answer to the universal question on the meaning of life. I can clearly hear myself say “oh, so that’s what all the fuss was about!” But until we reach that ultimate epiphany, we have places to go, things to do and people to meet. So just how do we know where we need to go, what things need to be done and who we are going to meet? Well, for me there is a dash of destiny, a touch of serendipity and a lot of luck that is intricately entwined into what should ultimately be a pretty straightforward formula. But the path is never straight and that is exactly what makes life exciting in places, heartbreaking in others and downright impossible to figure out for the most part. As people grow and develop, they will reach various ‘points B’ in their life and then inevitably their goals will shift and change. Life is dynamic and therefore nothing can ever really be cast in stone - we all need to be flexible to survive in this fast-paced and unpredictable world. People will have different goals and ideals that are important for them to achieve at different ages or life stages. It could all come down to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – once

we have achieved the goals of one level, we have the need to move onto the next. That is a very simplistic take on the complexity of life but then again, maybe we do overcomplicate things. We all like to think that we control our own lives, destinies and fates and because most of us believe that we set our own course, we work hard to achieve certain goals and plan strategies to get from point A to point B. And although, for some, there may be untold frustrations at not achieving goals and disgusting platitudes of ‘maybe it wasn’t meant to be’ for others, we all ultimately have some September 2007

instinctual antenna that goes on red alert when we seem to be steering off the path. The good thing to know is that all roads lead to Rome, and should we take what we perceive as the wrong path somewhere along the line, there is always an opportunity to make a Uturn. Maybe it’s just that some of us will take a more scenic route than others. And who wants to be straightforward anyway? Ultimately, we don’t know what will be waiting for us around the next bend and it is the not knowing what is going to happen next that can be exciting for some and can incite fear in others. There are always certain situations September 2007

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The Hatters By Dr Mike Wright


58 WITSReview

The ‘Hatters’ taken in 1960: (from l to r) Bill Gibson, Fred Kalk, Des Martin, Charlie Morris, MikeWright, Malcolm Funston, John Pringle, and Bruce Henderson. Absent: Nev Weston and Dennis Beamish

Hatters reunion in Colesburg 2007: (back row) Des Martin, MikeWright, Bruce Henderson, Malcolm Funston and Nev Weston. Seated are John Pringle, Dennis Beamish and Charlie Morris. Absent: Bill Gibson and Fred Kalk

This year we decided to have a reunion and as our group was spread across the country we opted for a central venue and ended up in Colesberg for a weekend. We were accompanied by wives and partners and we all had a great time. The Saturday night dinner was a formal affair with everyone appropriately attired in suits and bowler hats. Believe it or not, some of the original hats were still being worn by their proud owners! September 2007


e were second year Medical and Dental students in 1960 and I suppose that you could call us ‘spirited’. We felt that student life was rather dull and during one of our regular bouts of revelry, we made a decision to spice things up a bit. We were certainly not the best-dressed group of students and so we decided that we would remedy this by importing bowler hats from the United Kingdom and dress up one day each month, rounding off with a celebration of ‘The Mad Hatters’. Eventually the hats arrived from Dunn and Co. in London and we chose the last Friday of the month as our day of celebration. On the duly appointed day we arrived at the old Medical School in Hillbrow dressed in dark suits and bowler hats and carrying brollies, much to the amusement of our fellow students. We made our grand entrance into the old Harvean lecture theatre suitably late, as Prof. PV Tobias had already started his lecture and punctuality was the order of the day. We made our way towards the back when the great man stopped us, ushered us to the front row and continued his lecture with us feeling distinctly exposed. At the end of his lecture he summoned us to his office where he wanted the details of our escapade. When he was informed that we planned to do this on a monthly basis he was most excited and offered us his full support. We met regularly during the next few years and were quite an item at the Medical School. However, time caught up with us and we more or less disbanded after a few years.


Lebo Ramoreboli

Wits Shop

branded items, souvenirs and gifts

For more information call or visit the Shop at Senate House Concourse, Wits University Business hours: 08h30 to 16h30 on weekdays or you can telephone: +27 11 717-      4071/2 Fax: +27 11 717-     4079 Online purchases can be made with a credit card at


(Deliveries are made nationally and internationally)

www.witsshop.co.za A5 wits shop ad for wits review.1 1

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