ISSUE #2 September 2018
OFFICIAL UJ ALUMNI MAGAZINE
Prof Marwala shares his vision on the Fourth Industrial Revolution
CHIEF JUSTICE MOGOENG MOGOENG Acknowledged for his notable contributions within the judiciary sphere.
PROF ROBERT FRY ENGLE The 2003 Nobel laureate in economics.
ESTHER MAHLANGU recognised for her legacy as a cultural entrepreneur.
NEW! FULLY ONLINE Our Programmes are nowmore accessible. NE ! FULLY ONLINE Our Programmes are nowmore accessible.
Towards the end of 2017, UJ launched four 100% online only programmes. These first-of-its-kind online degrees were the Master of Public Health, the Master of Public Management and Governance, the Master of Education Management, and the Master of Education in Information and Communication Technology. UJ has now launched its second batch of 100% online only programmes, including the following four additional online programmes: - Bachelor of Commerce in International Accounting UJ has now launched its second batch of 100% online only programmes, including the following four additional nline programmes: - achelor of Co merce in International Accounting Towards the end of 2017, UJ launched four 100% online only programmes. These first-of-its-kind online degrees were the Master of Public Health, the Master of Public Management and Governance, the Master of Education Management, and the Master of Education in Information and Communication Technology.
- Bachelor of Human Resource Management - Advanced Diploma in Financial Markets - Advanced Diploma in Transportation Management - Bachelor of Human Resource Management - dvanced iplo a in Financial Markets - Advanced Diploma in Transportation Management
To find out more, visit online.uj.ac.za and for any specific questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 980 354 (toll free). By going online, UJ is offering learning opportunities that accommodate logistical challenges such as full-time employment, geographical location, family obligations, and a host of other challenges that our modern student body faces. To find out more, visit online.uj. c.za and for any specific qu stions, email email@example.com or call 0800 980 354 (toll free). By going online, UJ is offering learning opportunities that accommodate logistical challenges such as full-time employment, geographical location, family obligations, and a host of other challenges that our modern student body faces.
Sharing his vision on The Four th Industrial Revolution
Prof Basie von Solms Research Professor in UJ’s Academy for Computer Science and Software Engineering
Burn survivor, media personality and motivational speaker
6 Esther Mahlangu recognized for her legacy as a cultural entrepreneur. 8 Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng acknowledged for his notable contributions within the judiciary sphere. 9 Prof Rober t Fry Engle, the 2003 Nobel laureate in economics receives an honorary doctorate from UJ. 10 Prof Omotayo Arotiba is honored with Professorial Inauguration. 13 JIAS, advancing excellence and diversity. 18 Professorial Inaugural address of Prof Marlize Lombard.
20 UJ researchers discover family of silver-based anti-cancer drugs. 24 Motheo Khoaripe, eNCA business journalist and markets anchor. 26 Mike Sharman, living his best life. 28 Roger Haitengi, Namibian athlete and head of UJ’s Athletics Club. 31 Unbeaten UJ women take USSA football title. 32 UJ takes seventh USSA squash title. 34 UJ Choir wins at the World Choir Games 2018. 39 UJ Library hosts a series of events.
PROFESSOR TSHILIDZI MARWALA WAS APPOINTED AS THE UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG’S SECOND VICE-CHANCELLOR AND PRINCIPAL IN JANUARY THIS YEAR. AN EMINENT SCHOLAR WITH A DISTINGUISHED RECORD. HE HOLDS MORE THAN 45 HONOURS AND AWARDS, INCLUDING THE ORDER OF MAPUNGUBWE, SOUTH AFRICA’S HIGHEST HONOUR, GRANTED BY THE PRESIDENT FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN THE INTERNATIONAL ARENA.
“My vision is to position the University of Johannesburg in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, said Professor Tshilidzi Marwala in his inaugural speech. “Those who will thrive in the Fourth Industrial age will have to understand the world, and the University of Johannesburg should therefore be at the forefront of laying down a foundation for the University of the 22nd century”. But what exactly is the Fourth Industrial Revolution? And what does it specifically mean for UJ? Prof Marwala described the Fourth Industrial Revolution as one which is going to integrate humans and machines, the physical and the cyber, a technological revolution that will transform the world. He explained how the First Industrial Revolution occurred in England in the 17th century, bringing the steam engine and the mechanisation of goods. The Second Industrial Revolution happened largely in the United States and was connected to the generation of electricity. The Third Industrial Revolution came about because of the invention of semiconductors in the 1950s, giving us a transistor and ushering in the electronic age. The Fourth Industrial Revolution, he said, is the advent of cyber- physical systems involving entirely new capabilities for people and machines as technology becomes embedded within society and even within our bodies. He used examples such as genome editing,
new forms of machine intelligence, breakthrough materials and approaches to governance that rely on cryptographic methods. Prof Marwala said that UJ was
a leading university in such technologies and it should be linked to the innovation architecture of South Africa
playing “a critical role in increasing the productivity of our industrial sector and, thereby, reducing the challenges of unemployment, inequality and poverty”. “We should create an environment for our staff and students to master the tools of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, he said. “We should bring technology into our classrooms, whether by means of blended learning or robotic tutors. We should use technology to monitor the progress of our students”. “We should increase the graduation rates of our students. We should increase the qualification levels of our staff. We should deepen our international profile by bringing the world into our classrooms and taking our staff and students into the world. We should aim to have 20% of our staff to be international by the year 2025 and 15% of our students to be international by the year 2020”. “We are required to train scientists and engineers who understand humanities and social sciences. We are to train social scientists who understand technology. Our
graduates must have fluency of ideas. Fluency of ideas means that our graduates must be able to come up with multiple ideas about a topic. Our graduates must be active, agile and adaptive learners”. Prof Marwala stressed that the other vital skill for the Fourth Industrial Revolution is judgement and decision making. “A robot will not be able to decide how we should deal with migration of destitute people or about ethics or how to convince a leader of a country that war is an inappropriate way of handling disputes”. He said students should be treated well and that campuses should be safe spaces for generating new and very often provocative ideas. “UJ will master the Fourth Industrial Revolution only if we invest in
Prof Tshilidzi Marwala shares his vision
“I have visited divisions and faculties on all four campuses. I have interacted with our students and unions to deal with all the outstanding issues, especially around salary negotiations. We have overhauled our systems of financial governance to prevent future lapses in governance. I have met with industrial players to create programmes and projects that are of mutual benefit. Now is the time! I therefore call all our stakeholders in society, industry, government, domestic and international as well as our alumni, staff and students to join me in this great initiative of taking our University into the Fourth Industrial Age. Let us jointly mobilize our intellectual and physical resources to facilitate success in this great initiative”.
Prof Marwala told Impumelelo recently that significant progress had been made in the course of the year, from streamlining registration to resolving labour issues. He said that his major challenge was increasing the graduation rate of students. “Also how do I create a culture of responsible behaviour, of working hard and of being ambitious in our students?” he asked. “How do I take UJ to industry and bring industry to UJ, especially given the serious financial governance challenges we experienced last year that led to the departure of senior leaders of our university? How do I deal with outstanding issues around accreditation and how do I create a university of the Fourth Industrial Age?” He said he had adopted a strategy of communication.
our implementation capacity and infrastructure. Our approach should facilitate open engagements. It should facilitate blended learning where technology is the integral part of teaching and learning”. He said one of his immediate priorities was the newly established Johannesburg Business School, which would “facilitate the flow of the latest technology, leadership and management to our industrial and government sectors”. Another was to establish a Medical School.
“Again, we need to mobilise support from both local and
national governments to achieve this. We will be seeking also the participation of the private medical industry. Our Medical School should allow graduates with three-year degrees to complete a medical degree in four years”.
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The Future Reimagined
College of Business and Economics
— ANATO L E F R ANC E
Mahlangu, who with song, cheers and a standing ovation accepted an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Monday, 9 April 2018. “With this honorary doctorate, we recognise Esther Mahlangu for her legacy as a cultural entrepreneur, skillfully negotiating local and global worlds, and as an educator. Indeed, as a visionary, she traverses what to others are
“Through my art, I have seen the world. In turn, the world learned about my Ndebele
heritage. I speak isiNdebele, I walk isiNdebele and I wear isiNdebele – it is my culture. I am humbled and honoured to receive this prestigious accolade for keeping my culture alive for the generation to come after me.” This was the sentiment of South Africa’s foremost Ndebele artist and international icon, Esther Nikwambi
insurmountable political barriers. From now on it is Dr Mahlangu!” said Professor Federico Freschi, the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at UJ. Ms Mahlangu began painting as a child. At the age of 10, her mother and grandmother, in accordance with tradition, taught her the art of Ndebele homestead wall painting and beadwork. Her work came to international attention in 1989 after her inclusion in the important exhibition Magiciens de la terre, held at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. In 1991, she painted the 525i model for the BMW Art Car Series, the first woman and the first person from outside Europe or the United States to do so. Her designs also covered the tails of British Airways aircraft in 1997, and the new Fiat 500. In 2017, artist Imani Shanklin Roberts celebrated her with a mural on a Tribeca boulevard in New York. In collaboration with
Swedish fashion designer, Eytys, who embroidered Ms Mahlangu’s designs on to the Doja Mahlangu series. Over the past three decades, Ms Mahlangu has exhibited both mural and canvas paintings throughout Europe, Asia, North and South America, also capturing the imagination of more than one generation on social media through charitable campaigns. She collaborated with American singer, songwriter, musician and actor John Legend in a 2017 Belvedere Vodka advertising campaign, along with RED (a Bono-founded charitable organisation) to raise awareness and raise funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS in Africa. As a national icon and custodian of heritage Ms Mahlangu has been honoured with awards and medals by Government many times, and by more than one South African president. She received the Order of Ikhamanga, silver class, in 2006, as well as the Mpumalanga Arts
and Culture Award, an award from the French Ministry of Culture, two awards from Radio Ndebele, and many others from South Africa and abroad. “In the context of current debates in South African institutions of higher learning on questions of decolonisation of the curriculum, Ms Mhlangu is a living example of how authentic African knowledge systems can be articulated meaningfully and sustainably”, said Prof Freschi. “In her, we have an icon worthy of being looked up to by the next generation of creatives, and the University, in particular. FADA is greatly honoured to confer the degree of Philosophiae Doctor honoris causa upon her.” Ms Mahlangu concluded: “This honour bestowed on me today binds me to this institution that shares my passion. I have respect for the University
and its endeavours to promote Africanism.”
“THIS HONOUR BESTOWED ON ME TODAY BINDS ME TO THIS INSTITUTION THAT SHARES MY PASSION. I HAVE RESPECT FOR THE UNIVERSITY AND ITS ENDEAVOURS TO PROMOTE AFRICANISM.” Esther Mahlangu
Honorary Doctorate Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng
“The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa challenges all of us to recognise that once upon a time there were injustices in this country and today, we believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it and may God bless South Africa.” These were the sentiments of Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng, who was acknowledged with an honorary doctoral degree by the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Tuesday, 27 March 2018. The University conferred an honorary doctorate on Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng in recognition of his pioneering commitment to serving humankind by upholding the independence of the judiciary and by promoting access to justice in tangible ways. This has earned him widespread respect and admiration for serving humankind. Speaking ahead of the conferral, the Chancellor of UJ, Prof Njabulo Ndebele highlighted the significance of such an honorary degree – both to the recipient and to the University, pointing out that this honorary doctorate is conferred upon Judge Mogoeng as an acknowledgement of his notable contributions within the judiciary sphere - which should remind South Africans to take the Constitution as a guide that will give us unity to build our country and to reconcile us all as South Africans. Mogoeng Thomas Reetsang Mogoeng, born in 1961, is the Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, having assumed office on 8 September 2011. Through his exemplary leadership of the judicial branch of government, he has steadfastly advanced the
From left: The Registrar, Professor Burger Kinta, and chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng.
THIS HONORARY DOCTORATE IS CONFERRED UPON JUDGE MOGOENG AS AN ACKNOWLEDGEMENT FOR HIS NOTABLE CONTRIBUTIONS WITHIN THE JUDICIARY SPHERE - WHICH SHOULD REMIND SOUTH AFRICANS TO TAKE THE CONSTITUTION AS A GUIDE WHICH WILL GIVE US UNITY TO BUILD OUR COUNTRY AND TO RECONCILE US ALL AS SOUTH AFRICANS.
constitutional values of human dignity, equality and freedom; non-racialism and non-sexism; the supremacy of the Constitution and the Rule of Law. “Through his actions, Judge Mogoeng has been concretising each of the core values of the University. An unquestionable ethical foundation is evident from his judgements in the Constitutional Court, delivered without fear or favour, as well as from his public addresses and publications. He has earned trust and credibility through judgments that were critical of executive decisions and conduct; of parliamentary rules and conventions; and of legislation that does not conform to the Constitution, resisting political pressure and maintaining judicial independence”, said the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof Letlhokwa George Mpedi. Judge Mogoeng’s commitment to judicial independence has a wider purpose: promoting access to justice by regenerating the judicial system. “His quest for institutional legitimacy of the judiciary is rooted in the realisation that many South Africans felt alienated from the court system”, said Prof Mpedi. During his tenure as Chief Justice, Mogoeng Mogoeng has made a decided impact on and contribution to South African society. This is clear from two awards made to him in 2017. Mogoeng Mogoeng has received the Biko Fanon award from the Pan-African Psychology Congress for contributing to psychological liberation. The award commends him for contributing to public awareness and creating a source of hope for morality in the country. He was also voted 2017 South African of the Year in a public poll hosted by News24, having been
Prof Robert Fry Engle WORLD-RENOWNED ECONOMIST
The 2003 Nobel laureate in economics, Prof Robert Fry Engle was acknowledged with an honorary doctoral degree by the University of Johannesburg (UJ) on Monday, 19 February 2018. “This is a proud moment for both the college and myself. An honorary doctorate is conferred upon an individual as an acknowledgment for his/her notable contributions to a specific field or outstanding service to society which relates to the universities vision, mission, values, and strategic goals and objectives. Association with the university forms part of the reason why we confer honorary doctorates. Today we honor and celebrate Professor Robert Fry Engle” says the Vice Chancellor of the University of Johannesburg, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala. “His research has also brought into being, innovative statistical methods such as co-integration, common
features, autoregressive conditional duration and more recently, dynamic conditional correlation models,” says Prof Van Lil, the Executive Dean of the College of Business and Economics. Prof Engle’s Autoregressive Conditional Heteroscedasticity models (ARCH) have become indispensable econometric tools employed by private and public sector economic researchers and practitioners operating as financial market analysts and economic decision makers. Prof Van Lill points out that the University is honoured by Prof Engle’s acceptance of a UJ honorary doctorate in Economics. “The commitment of the CBE School of Economics to quality econometric education and training will be enhanced through association with Prof Robert Engle - a global leader in econometric risk-modelling”, he says.
nominated by a panel of journalists and experts.
From left: Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, Professor Omotayo Arotiba, Professor Debra Meyer, Professor Emmanuel Iwuoha
PROFESSORIAL INAUGURATION Prof Omotayo Arotiba
biosensors and sensors (Sense it); 2) Electrochemical technologies, such as electrochemical oxidation, photoelectrochemical oxidation, electrocoagulation, ionic diode for water treatment (Treat it); 3) Materials science, nanotechnology, membrane composites, and electrochemical characterisation. Sensors and biosensors are analytical devices that are capable of providing qualitative, semi-quantitative and quantitative information about an analyte. They are characterised by low cost, simplicity, fast response/analysis, ease of use, possibilities of on-site or point of care application, miniaturisability, etc. Electrochemical technologies offer a complementary or alternative approach to water treatment. These technologies are sustainable, easy to design and operate, environmentally benign, sustainable and can remove recalcitrant pollutants. Prof Omotayo Ademola Arotiba was born in Nigeria into the family of Chief David Omotayo Arotiba (from Ipele, Owo, Ondo State) and
Mrs Margaret Bamidele Arotiba (Ughoton, Okpe, Delta State). He completed his BSc Honours and MSc in Industrial Chemistry at the University of Ilorin and the University of Benin, respectively, both in Nigeria. He proceeded to South Africa for a PhD in Physical Chemistry (Electrochemistry speciality) with a scholarship from the National Research Foundation
The Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Johannesburg (UJ), Professor Tshilidzi Marwala, and the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science, Professor Debra Meyer, hosted the professorial inauguration of Omotayo Arotiba, Professor in Applied Chemistry at UJ. The inauguration took place at the Council Chambers, Madibeng Building, Auckland Park, Kingsway Campus on Monday 6 August 2018. The inaugural lecture titled, Sense it, Treat it, Electrochemistry in Action, highlights research in the fields of electrochemistry, photoelectrochemistry, analytical electrochemistry, nano- electrochemistry, materials science and electrochemistry of materials from 2006 to date. Professor Arotiba’s research is based on the application of electrochemistry to solving environmental, water, biomedical and industrial challenges. More specifically, Prof Arotiba’s research looks at: 1) Electrochemical
South Africa at SensorLab, Department of Chemistry,
University of the Western Cape (UWC) under the supervision of Prof Emmanuel Iwuoha and Prof Priscilla Baker. He joined the Department of Applied Chemistry (UJ) in 2011 where he is now a full Professor (since Oct 2016). Prof Arotiba is the Director of the Centre for Nanomaterials Science Research at UJ; the pioneer and leader of the Electrochemistry Research Group at UJ; and also the current Chairperson of the Electrochemistry Division (ElectrochemSA) of the South African Chemical Institute (SACI).
Alumnus, Research Professor and one of UJ’s longest serving employees
Prof Sebastiaan Hendricus (Basie) von Solms is a Research Professor in the University of Johannesburg’s Academy for Computer Science and Software Engineering, and the longest serving UJ employee, with nearly five decades (48 years) of IT research and innovation under his belt. He is also the Director of UJ’s Centre for Cyber Security, and an Associate Director of the Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre of the University of Oxford in the UK. A specialist in research and consultancy in the field of information and cyber security, Prof von Solms has written and presented more than 150 papers, most of which have been presented at international research conferences and/or published in international subject journals. He has supervised more than 150 postgraduate students, and is well known in the media as one of South Africa’s most authoritative cyber security experts.
Prof von Solms joined UJ as a lecturer in 1970, in the newly established Department of Computer Science. He completed his PhD in Computer Science at UJ in 1972 – one of the first in South Africa – and was promoted to senior lecturer. In 1978, he became Chairperson of the Department of Computer Science, a position he occupied until 2006. “I started out long before anybody had even heard of the Internet or cyberspace. Back in those days, there were basically only big mainframe computers, and students had to prepare their
converted by a punch card machine to a set of punch cards for submission to the mainframe. There were no such things as desktop computers”, recalls Prof von Solms. In the early 1980s, the University created its first hands-on laboratory for Computer Science students, consisting of Burroughs B20 mini-computers – one of the first such labs in South Africa. “A few years later, the IBM PC was launched, and labs were refitted with these new ‘wonder machines’.
programs on coding forms. The programs had to then be Still, the idea of portable computers didn’t yet exist”, remembers Prof von Solms. Prof Basie von Solms
members across all industries. At UJ, we have been widely involved with accountability of members of boards, as cybercrime is the number one threat for companies across all sectors”, he says. Thus the demand for IT graduates is huge, says Prof von Solms. “It is acknowledged globally that the demand for expertise in the cyber field is among the highest, if not the highest, among all professional disciplines”, he says. As a result, the certificate courses in the Centre for Cyber Security are constantly oversubscribed by IT employees, while full-time students can barely finish the four-year degree before they are head-hunted. “We struggle to get lecturers and postgraduate students, because the demand out there is so high”, he says. In 2011, Prof von Solms was awarded the Alumni Achievers award by the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU) in Port Elizabeth, where he actually started his academic studies, in 1965, when it was still the University of Port Elizabeth. In 2016, Prof von Solms was elected as a member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, which honours the country’s “most outstanding and celebrated scholars”. He is also a Fellow of the Computer Society of South Africa, a Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Oxford Martin School of the University of Oxford and a Chartered Information Technology Professional (CITP).
In the late 1990s, computer networks developed faster as the Internet evolved. “I was very privileged to have seen the dawn of this discipline, to be part of and experience the massive developments in the IT fields over the years. “I am proud that I could, over the years, be part of establishing Computer Science and Informatics as an academic discipline, and be part of the internationally acclaimed Academy for Computer Science and Software Engineering that we now have at UJ”, says Prof von Solms. In 2005, Prof von Solms was awarded the ICT Leadership Award by the South African IT industry and the Computer Society of South Africa for “exceptional thought leadership qualities and sustainable contribution to the development and growth of the South African IT Industry”. A year later, the South African Academy for Science and Arts awarded him the MT Steyn Medal for Scientific and Technical Achievement. In 2009, the book Information Security Governance , co-authored with his brother, Professor Rossouw von Solms, was published internationally by Springer. The book documents the experience and research resulting from cooperation between the two brothers over 10 years. The following year, he received the Computer Society of South Africa (CSSA) Distinguished Service in ICT Award, as well as the 2010 IFIP TC-11 Kristian Beckman Award, for “his never tiring work towards broadening the meaning of Information Security in various aspects”. Also in 2010, the SA Institute for Computer Scientists and Information Technologists awarded the Pioneers in Computer Science and Information Technology Award to Prof von Solms for his contribution to IT, and specifically Information Security, over the last 40 years. Prof von Solms says cybercrime is now massively pervasive worldwide, with Africa being a “hotbed” of cybercrime. “Cybercrime is no longer a technical issue, but an issue that concerns company board
He is a past president of the International Federation for
Information Processing (IFIP), which he is now an honorary member of, and is the vice-chair (Africa) for the IEEE’s Special Interest Group on Big Data and Cyber Security. “My journey started early and is coming to an end, but the future lies open for the present generation to develop applications that we cannot even envisage at this stage”, says Prof von Solms.
JIAS: Advancing Excellence and Diversity
The Johannesburg Institute of Advanced Studies (JIAS) promotes advanced research in the humanities and natural sciences, and is the city’s first fully fledged institute of its kind. JIAS is a joint initiative of the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in South Africa, and Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore, and is based in an elegant Roman style building in Westdene, Johannesburg.
“New conversations start here”, says JIAS director, Professor Peter Vale. We are sitting in the Cartoon Room, one of the Institute’s conference spaces, its walls lined with the works of contemporary South African political cartoonists. “JIAS creates the conditions in which scholars can deliver cutting- edge interdisciplinary thought and research at the highest academic level”, he says. “This is a place to work, think, talk and deliberate, and the greatest luck of all was finding this property. It’s made all the difference because of its wonderfully conducive atmosphere. It’s like a little college in Oxford or Cambridge in the heart of an African city.” Built on a hillside, with playful concrete cherubs adorning its rooftops, the landmark JIAS building was formerly a guesthouse, and JIAS now uses it for conferences and workshops and accommodation for participants, visiting fellows and academics. The building also houses the JIAS staff offices. The accommodation is gracious; and there are shaded courtyards, generous lounges and libraries, conference spaces and a communal dining area. “Institutes for advanced studies have their early origins in monasteries”, explains Prof Vale. “The modern versions of institutes like these began with Princeton in the USA in the 1930s, when they
imaginative collection of short stories featuring funerals and ancestors and satirical flair. While Mhlongo recently led a JIAS seminar about African myth and magic realism, the subject of African ontology was the concern of another Writing Fellow, Dr Elvis Imafidon who teaches in the Department of Philosophy of Ambrose Alli University in Nigeria. Ontology is the study of metaphysics and the nature of being, and he looks at how African concepts of reality affect the African idea of the good. In another field, that of urban planning, Writing Fellow Melissa Tandiwe Myambo, did a comparative project on spatial inequality in urban spaces in
main programmes is the Writing Fellowship. A dozen residence Writing Fellows come to stay at JIAS for four months to work on their chosen subject. The writers apply for the fellowship and a selection is then made. Last year there were over 300 applicants from South Africa, Asia, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, the USA and India. South African author, Niq Mhlongo, was one of the Writing Fellows who stayed at JIAS this year to work on his new novel. Born in Soweto , Mhlongo’s first highly acclaimed novel Dog Eat Dog was published in 2004 by Kwela Books and was translated into Spanish under the title Perro Come Perro . His most recent book Soweto under the Apricot Tree (Kwela 2018) is an
started an institute for advanced studies that aimed to be at the very top of research and higher education. One of the first fellows, would you believe, was Albert Einstein”. Today’s institutes of advanced studies locate themselves in different ways within the global academic world. JIAS is a university-based institute as opposed to free-standing institutes such as those in Princeton, Berlin, Radcliffe, and Stellenbosch. Although rooted within UJ and linked to NTU, JIAS collaborates with other institutions of higher learning throughout the country. Launched in May 2015, JIAS is in its fourth year now, and one of its
JIAS is an ongoing conversation...
JIAS IS A JOINT INITIATIVE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF JOHANNESBURG (UJ) IN SOUTH AFRICA, AND NANYANG TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY (NTU) IN SINGAPORE
and donate books. And they also visited a prison, where the Writing Fellows engaged with more than 100 inmates. JIAS gave readings and talked about how to produce written texts and poems. “It was incredible what came out”, says Prof Vale, “it was agreed that an anthology of poetry written by the inmates would be published.” JIAS and individual writers donated books to the Correctional Services Library. Apart from the Writing Fellowship, JIAS also hosts a series of workshops, conferences and colloquia throughout the year. “We host visiting lecturers and academics, we do book launches, we have conferences on everything from the decolonisation of thought to artificial intelligence”, says Prof Vale. “JIAS is an ongoing conversation”. The annual JIAS work program- me is divided into three terms of equal length, the summer term (mid-February to mid-May); winter term (from the start of June to end August); and spring term (from mid-September to mid-December). In the summer term, JIAS has its open session for students from any discipline, encouraging them to pursue intensive reading, research or writing. In the winter term, JIAS has university sessions, which are open to departments and faculties within UJ. These sessions aim to encourage UJ staff to broaden the scope of their research and to
connect with leading scholars in their fields. These sessions feature intense collaboration with scholars at the NTU, as well as with Nobel Laureates. In the spring term, JIAS has topic sessions, which include colloquia – the jewel in the crown of JIAS events – in which international experts in the public and professional sectors gather for intense debate about a specialist subject. In 2016, for example, JIAS hosted a hugely successful colloquium on Why the Brain Matters, which was attended by more than 50 participants from more than 27 countries. The colloquium led by Prof Willem Hendrik Gispen, Professor Emeritus of Neuroscience and former VC of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and a range of global experts made presentations. On 22 October 2018, JIAS is hosting a colloquium on Digital Finance in Africa’s Future: Innovations and Implications. Trevor Manual will deliver the keynote address at the opening session. With some 50 experts participating in panels and workshops, the colloquium seeks to map out developments in the fields of digital finance and try to understand the social and political implications. For more information visit the JIAS website www.jias.joburg
Delhi and Johannesburg. In 2016, she did research in India while based at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies in New Delhi, enabled by Fulbright-Nehru Academic and Professional Excellence Research Award. Pamela Maseko, an associate professor at Rhodes University in the Eastern Cape, was researching language policy and planning in education, language development, and the historiography of isiXhosa literature. The Writing Fellows host a series of weekly seminars during their stay at JIAS, and one gets a sense that there is real academic and critical thinking across an incredible range of subjects here. “As you can imagine”, says Prof Vale, “the lunch conversation at JIAS is totally dynamic and can include from poetry and dark matter to the nature of the universe. There is real multi- disciplinary thinking here. JIAS is a wonderful experiment”. JIAS also works in the field and within communities, says Prof Vale. In April this year, for example, a team of the new Writing Fellows went to the Polokwane Literary Fair in Limpopo. The Fair is held by the Polokwane Cultural Services Department and JIAS has attended for the last few years. This time the JIAS team went to three high schools in Mankweng township to engage with learners
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Professor Alexander Broadbent and Professor Marlize Lombard
Professorial Inaugural address: Prof Marlize Lombard
THE FUTURE OF HUMAN ORIGINS RESEARCH LIES IN INTER-DISCIPLINARY RESEARCH PROGRAMMES, AIMED AT UNDERSTANDING GENE-CULTURE, BRAIN-CULTURE AND GENE-BRAIN CO-EVOLUTION.
According to Professor Marlize Lombard, the Director of the Centre for Anthropological Research at the University of Johannesburg (UJ), human origins researchers will need to integrate fossil, archaeological and genetic records with state-of-the-art methods, and global trends and debates; while dedicating the knowledge thus gained to the Professor Lombard explored the questions what make us human (Homo sapiens or modern human, i.e., ‘us’), and how, where and when did we gain our humanness, when she delivered her professorial inauguration address, Human Origins in Southern Africa: A Stone Age Archaeologist’s Reflections on the Past and Future. Prof Lombard sketched some of the paradoxes and puzzles around the discovery of the first fossil skull of a young hominin child in South Africa almost a century ago. youth and to their futures in a region that gave birth to our humanness.
“Around two million years ago when these early hominins roamed our grasslands and where many fossil discoveries have been made since, mostly by non-South African researchers in a still male dominated field. Yet, the work of South African women scientists is greatly influencing what we are learning about the genetic and cognitive origins of our own species, Homo sapiens”, she said. Prof Lombard pointed out that Prof Himla Soodyall was a trailblazer in the field of mitochondrial DNA, which showed that all living humans stem from one ‘great, great, great … grandmother’, a woman who lived in sub-Saharan Africa (perhaps even southern Africa), and most closely resembled a San woman of today. “Her mentee Carina Schlebusch now works from Uppsala in Sweden, from where she is exploring ancient human DNA in a collaborative project with myself and other scientists in an endeavour to reconstruct
the population history of sub- Saharan Africa, aligning it with the archaeological records of the region.” She highlighted that the artefacts excavated by archaeologists are human-made material culture, the tangible products and extensions of the human mind. “Lyn Wadley, my mentor, A-rated scientist, and the first woman professor in archaeology in South Africa, worked several prominent Stone Age sites, and her cognitive archaeology on material culture from these sites demonstrates how ancient hunter-gatherers had fluid intelligence that allowed them to conceive of and use complex knowledge systems to resolve everyday problems innovatively”. “It is then to the human mind – a mind that is capable of wisdom and reason, and a mind that is flexible enough to think simultaneously both scientifically and creatively – that I find myself drawn to explore the origins of our
humanness here in southern Africa. Working with cognitive scientists from Scandinavia, we are delving into the earliest symbolic behaviours, what stone tools can reveal about human cognitive evolution, and the evolution of causal cognition”, said Prof Lombard. In a first study of its kind they used EEG (electroencephalography) scanning that provided the first direct neuro-archaeological evidence for praxis, the human ability, based on ‘ideas’ or ‘imaginings’, to knowingly play out different scenarios in our minds before enacting them. “Such conscious imagination and ideation are quintessential traits
of our humanness – there can be no science, no art, and indeed no Fourth Industrial Revolution without them. This way of thinking has its neurological foundations in the precuneus, an area of the brain in which only Homo sapiens displays a general enlargement.” Prof Lombard stressed activities such as bow hunting was instrumental in shaping the modern human brain. “A brain with which Africans colonised the globe – outwitting and outlasting all other human groups, becoming ancestral to us all. It also alludes to our abilities to gain causal knowledge, and to reason about outcomes based on it, which is key to the human way of thinking.” Prof Lombard concluded that a few decades ago, lines of research
such as neuro-archaeology, and reconstructing the full genomes of people who lived millennia before us were inconceivable. “The future of human origins research now lies in inter-disciplinary research programmes, aimed at understanding gene-culture, brain-culture and gene-brain co-evolution. As human origins researchers, our task will be to integrate fully our fossil, archaeological and genetic records with state-of-the-art methods, and global trends and debates; whilst dedicating the knowledge thus gained to the youth and to their futures in a region that gave birth to our humanness.”
UJ researchers discover family of silver-based anti-cancer drugs
Fewer side effects Apart from needing a much lower dose than an industry standard, UJ3 is also much less toxic. “In rat studies, we see that up to 3 grams of UJ3 can be tolerated per 1 kilogram of bodyweight.
A new family of potential silver- based anti-cancer drugs has been discovered by researchers at the University of Johannesburg (UJ). The most promising complex in the UJ3 has been successfully tested in rats and in several human cancer cell lines in laboratory studies. The complex is as effective against human esophageal cancer cells, as a widely-used chemotherapy drug, but at a ten times lower dose, and much lower toxicity against non- malignant cells. In research published in BioMetals, UJ3 is shown to be as effective against human esophageal cancer cells, as a widely-used chemotherapy drug in use today.
Esophageal cancer cells are known to become resistant to current forms of chemotherapy. “The UJ3 complex is as effective as the industry-standard drug Cisplatin in killing cancer cells in laboratory tests done on human breast cancer and melanoma, a very dangerous form of skin cancer, as well”, says Professor Marianne Cronjé, Head of the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Johannesburg. “However, UJ3 requires a 10 times lower dose to kill cancer cells. It also focuses more narrowly on cancer cells, so that far fewer healthy cells are killed”, she says.
This makes UJ3 and other silver phosphine complexes
we have tested about as toxic as Vitamin C”, says Professor Reinout Meijboom, Head of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Johannesburg. If UJ3 becomes a chemotherapy drug in future, the lower dose required, lower toxicity and greater
create cancerous tumors. To do this, they need far more energy than healthy cells do. UJ3 targets this need for energy, by shutting down the “powerhouses” of a cancer cell, the mitochondria. The complex then causes the release of the “executioner” protein, an enzyme called caspase-3, which goes to work to dismantle the cell’s command centre and structural supports, cutting it up for recycling in the last stages of apoptosis. Unusual compounds UJ3 complex and the others in the family are based on silver. This makes the starter materials for synthesizing the complex far more economical than a number of industry-standard chemotherapy drugs based on platinum. “These complexes can be synthesized with
standard laboratory equipment, which shows good potential for large scale manufacture. The family of silver thiocyanate phosphine compounds is very large. We were very fortunate to test UJ3, with an unusually ‘flat’ chemical structure, early on in our exploration of this chemical family for cancer treatment”, says Prof Meijboom. Research on UJ3 and other silver thiocyanate phosphine complexes at the University is ongoing. Research funders The research was funded by the Technology Transfer Office of the University of Johannesburg, the National Research Foundation of South Africa, and the Technology Innovation Agency of South Africa.
focus on cancer cells will mean fewer side effects from cancer treatment. UJ3 appears to target the mitochondria, resulting in programmed cell death to kill cancer cells - a process called apoptosis. When a cancer cell dies by apoptosis, the result is a neat and tidy process where the dead cell’s remains are “recycled”, not contaminating healthy cells
around them, and not inducing inflammation.
Certain existing chemotherapy drugs are designed to induce apoptosis, rather than “septic” cell death which is called necrosis, for this reason. Cancer cells grow much bigger and faster, and make copies of themselves much faster, than healthy cells do. In this way they
From left: Professor Reinout Meijboom, Professor Marianne Cronjé, Dr Zelinda Engelbrecht
against all odds Itumeleng Sekhu
“I WAS ABLE TO PUSH PAST THE BARRIERS OF LOW SELF-ESTEEM AND DISCOVER MY STRENGTH, RESILIENCE AND UNIQUE ABILITY TO SEE THAT BEAUTY GOES DEEPER THAN SKIN.”
Itumeleng Sekhu is the founder and MD of the Itumeleng Sekhu Foundation, a philanthropic NPO, and author of the book What do you see ?, which is her story of courage and fortitude in the face of the permanent disfigurement she suffered after being burnt in a fire as a toddler. Sekhu, 30, graduated from UJ in 2014 with a BA in Audiovisual Communications, majoring in communications, psychology and media studies, sponsored by the Dischem Foundation. By then, she was already a media personality, working with a number of Christian programmes including ONE Gospel channel (DStv) and Friends Like These on SABC 1, as well as The Sound Revival and The Sacred Space on Metro FM, and Making Moves on Bonngoe.tv. “My psychology major equipped me to have good relations in the media and in my life. I have been able to relate to almost everyone in both the workspace and in my
Sekhu’s mother was her guiding light throughout her childhood – “through her strength and tenacity, she continued in life, no matter what storms hit her” – but ultimately it was Sekhu’s faith that enabled her to find her path in life. “I was determined to live my life as God intended. It was my acceptance of Him as my Father that was instrumental in helping me to navigate my way through the obstacles that constantly threatened to overwhelm me”. “I was able to push past the barriers of low self-esteem and discover my strength, resilience and unique ability to see that beauty goes deeper than skin. My challenge to readers of my book is to look beyond the scars on the outside, and see who I am, a strong woman with a beautiful soul and indomitable spirit”, she says. While at UJ, Sekhu became a project manager for the Sbusiso Leope Education Foundation, which assists hundreds of students with bursaries to continue with tertiary education. She was in
Tshwane, Sekhu got severely burnt when a candle fell on her at home. She was only 11 months old. Her right hand, as well as four fingers on her left hand, were amputated as a result. “I was practically raised in Muelmed Hospital in Pretoria until I was about 15 years old. I had 104 surgical procedures, and in-between I attended Hope School in Johannesburg and Pretoria School, which are both schools for physically challenged learners”, she says. Although she was a bright learner, school was difficult at times, she says, because “the other children were mean and continually called me names, even though we were all disabled”. “I grew up with low self-esteem, as 90% of my face is scarred. The word beauty was rare. I even tried to commit suicide on numerous occasions”, she recalls. What do you see ? takes the reader on her emotional and spiritual journey, firstly through the physical pain, and then through the pain of being rejected and ridiculed as a young girl because she was different.
personal life”, says Sekhu. Born in Makapanstad near
As a motivational speaker, Sekhu has delivered talks to
for the past seven years. Through these candles, I want to assist other people to discover their inner light, to ensure that they reach their full potential”, says Sekhu. Sekhu has also conquered the keyboard of her computer, as well as the steering wheel. “Even though I have only one finger, my thumb, I can type 35 words per minute and can drive myself anywhere in the world”, she says.
charge of organising seminars in South Africa, which brought together entrepreneurs. She was also communications manager for Map Christ, and a brand Ambassador for Dove Unilever. She is also a social media manager for I Do magazine, and recently launched her new venture, manufacturing candles. “I have found my inner light, and been fulfilling my purpose in the media industry, in both TV and radio,
numerous corporates, institutions, organisations and events, focusing on the power of self-esteem, and of a persistent and confident mind. “Tell yourself that I’m going to do it, it will happen”, she says. To students, her advice is, “study, and study very hard, you can get a bursary. My dreams push me to success. Reach your dreams and dream more dreams of where you want to see yourself”.
eNCA business journalist and markets anchor Motheo Khoaripe
they’ve developed into fully fledged businesses is gratifying. “I want to help black people to be part of the economy, to give them the right tools to equip them adequately to get ahead in business, and to learn and talk about money comfortably”, he says. His TV job aside, Khoaripe has also partnered with a financial advisor to improve financial literacy and educate high school learners as well as young professionals. “I want to teach as many people as I can, as soon as I can, to become money wise, to learn how to keep money, not only spend it”. To this end, he is also working to introduce a workable financial literacy programme into the South African curriculum system. “The practical aspects of finance need to be understood by all”, he says. He is inspired by the underdog. “Everyone has a war story. Those who make it to where they want to be, despite the odds stacked against them. Those people inspire me”. Last year, Khoaripe was named among the Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 young people. Plans for the future? “I want to get into the agriculture technology business. It’s something I have been passionate about for a long time. So going back to school to get a new set of skills is part of the plan. I would also love to lecture a course on financial journalism and journalism in the modern era. So lots to do!”
and by midday, I’d be at work, then return for a 7.30 pm psychology class”, he says. It didn’t get easier afterwards. Despite Khoaripe’s degree, he sold pots for two years in order to make ends meet. “I managed to get by. We all have fight in us, and I rely on my unassailable faith that my life is part of a bigger plan. I am here to add something to the world, so even when things don’t go according to plan, I take that as only a life lesson more than something that would break me. So always rise above the challenge, knowing it will be a reference point for my next challenge”, he says. Khoaripe was 24 when he started working at YFM, under the guidance of Zukile Majova, the editor of the station at the time. At Power FM, he was mentored by Siki Mgabedeli, and produced Power Business and Power Perspective shows. At eNCA, dissecting his first budget speech remains the highlight of his career. “It was a chance to delve into its depths, fully unpack it and help people understand its significance. A chance to serve others”, he says. Khoaripe says he has noticed how many people encounter “glass ceilings” when it comes to money. “The financial jargon doesn’t help the masses to understand their financial issues. That’s why I love the world of finance, and business journalism. It’s a platform for me to bridge that gap”, he says. For the same reason, telling stories about start-up businesses and how
Motheo Khoaripe, 32, is a business journalist and markets anchor for eNCA, best known as anchor of the channel’s Moneyline show. He cut his teeth in broadcasting on YFM radio station, which he joined in 2012 as a news and sports reporter before moving to Power FM as a business reporter in 2014 for a year. He joined eNCA in 2015. “As a business reporter, I’ve discovered there is a section of society that will never get to know how money works. It’s not that people don’t have money, it’s that they just don’t know how to use it”, he says, adding: “I’d like to teach young people about money before they get money. And to tell the stories untold”. Khoaripe matriculated at Wordsworth High School in Benoni, with merit, in 2006. “My mind wandered and I found it difficult to concentrate. I loved sport more than my books, to be honest. I did really well in the Quiz and JSE challenge team”, he recalls. As a boy, he had his mind set on being a soldier or Navy officer. “I also did well in cricket so I also had a dream of representing the Proteas”, he says. Instead, he enrolled at UJ, completing his BA in Corporate Communications in 2010. Money issues made it a tough journey. “It was also very important to me to prove to my parents that I was deserving of all the sacrifices they’d made for me to go to varsity. I did promotions and odd gigs to help them pay the fees. I would go to class in the morning
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