Edition 3

ISSUE #3 July 2019


UJ Launches Digital Certificates

UJ Council Chair Mike Teke shares his insights on the role of Alumni

APHIWE DYANTI World rugby breakthrough player of the year

Dr BERNARD NTHAMBELENI UJ Alumnus becomes Vice-Chancellor of the University of Venda

PROF BEN FERINGA Nobel prize winner received honorary doctorate


World Rankings

ShanghaiRanking’s Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) QS World University Rankings Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP) U.S. News and World Report’s Best Global Universities Rankings (BGUR) Center for World University Rankings (CWUR) World University Rankings Webometrics Ranking of World Universities (Ranking Web of Universities)


601–700 (*654)























January 2019




Stay Connected www.uj.ac.za/alumni



UJ Council Chair Mike Teke shares his insights on the role of Alumni 3

CONTENTS + 6 UJ tackles fraud by pioneering Digital Cer tificates and a vir tual qualification verification system within Africa. ALUMNI PROFILES 8 Angelo Kehayas, CEO of Profweb 10 Lesiba Mosehla, public health administrator, educator and politician 11 Melina Mutambaie Katende, Emerging Scholar Award 12 Dr Colinda Linde, Clinical Psychologist and Chairperson of SADAG 14 UJ Alumnus, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni, becomes Vice-Chancellor of the University of Venda 15 Nomndeni Mdakhi,entrepreneur and woman empowerment coach 17 Karl Muller, international tax specialist at Unilever 18 Limpopo born alumni are rocking the mining industry EVENTS 20 UJ’s influential alumni cocktail dinner 23 Applied informations systems first alumni breakfast 24 Soweto Science Centre, engaging high school students within the community 25 Close to 8000 high school learners visit the Ar t Centre 26 UJ Choir making moves within industry RESEARCH 29 Prof Saurabh Sinha, digital research and innovation institutes future of education 30 Prof Thaddeus Metz, man vs machine, the ontology of machine rationality 36 Prof Reinout Meijboom, serendipity and oppor tunities in chemistry HONORARY DOCTORATES 37 Rober t Michael “Bobby” Godsell, together let us build this beloved South Africa 38 Andrew Jackson Young Jr, civil rights activist 40 An honorary doctorate in recognition of technological innovation, President Xi Jinping 41 Katherine Johnson, NASA pioneer and African-American icon 42 Prof Ben Feringa, Chemistry Nobel Prize winner

32 Prof Sarah Gravett, preparing children for the Fourth Industrial Revolution 9 World rugby breakthrough player of the year, Aphiwe Dyanti 28 Prof Mercy Mpinganjira, digital technologies and customer experience 4 The Vice-Chancellor, Prof Marwala emphasizes on the importance of social sciences in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Editorial Team

In this edition, you will find some of UJ’s recent success stories, that is why the magazine is called ALUMNI IMPUMELELO, which means success in IsiZulu. Through this publication we take time to celebrate some Illustrious Alumni, Events, Research and Honorary Doctorates. We invite you to follow us on social media and update your contact details on the UJ website. This will allow us to re-connect with you and for you to share in UJ’s journey. This journey includes positioning UJ as a leader in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

From left: Dr Tinus van Zyl, Prof Kinta Burger, Mr Lubuto Kalenga, Mr Nell Ledwaba





UJ Council Chair Mike Teke shares his insights on the role of Alumni

“Skills that are shared by the alumni with students, whether in time management, financial management, development of self-discipline and character, or in career management can be more easily trusted as direction and motivation by students”, explained Teke. Mentorship Rivalry in penetrating the workforce is becoming more intense as a result of a higher number of graduates in relation to a limited number of job openings. In the final year of their studies, alumni can aid students by mentoring them on available career possibilities in the industry. Teke emphasised that alumni further have a big role to play in assisting students to undergo work experience in the organisations in which the alumni work. Expertise and networking Alumni can further contribute by rendering their expertise in their occupation as a guest lecturer, advisor in committees, and collaborating partners in projects with the university. “In the field of industry research”, said Teke, “alumni can open doors for a university to enter into industry networks in the spirit of collaborative working. This opens possibilities for the university to advance in a particular industry by applying the theories that have been examined with other industry specialists”. Don’t miss out! Be a part of UJ’s future, today “UJ Alumni are part of a truly special family”, said Teke. “The Council values your continued interest in the existence and development of your University”. He stressed that it is not about giving money, but about giving your time. It is about giving back to the institution that played a role in your development. Contact the UJ Alumni office and let us know what you can do to play a role in the University’s development.

ALUMNI HAVE AN IMPORTANT ROLE TO PLAY IN UJ’S DEVELOPMENT. ALUMNI ARE MORE THAN JUST A DESCRIPTION. NOT ONLY IS IT A PART OF UJ’S AND YOUR PAST BUT ALSO A PART OF WHO YOU ARE TODAY. We spoke to the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) Council Chairperson, Mr Mike Teke, about the important role an institution’s alumni play in university development. A historical disadvantage One of the challenges faced by South African universities is that many people have a preconceived idea that being an alumnus is reserved for the rich and famous. Historically, it was perceived as a boys’ club of sorts where your societal status informed your membership. “Being part of such reunion groups has never been essential to African traditions”, said Teke. “And that is possibly why so many of today’s youth do not truly understand what it means to be an alumnus.” For this reason, Teke believes that institutions are responsible for ensuring that the traditions of creating alumni are spread into

communities and among the youth of today. He wants all graduates, both privileged and those from an underprivileged background, to understand the importance of being an alumnus. To look back and be proud of their association with the institution where they graduated. A lifetime relationship with the university A graduate’s partnership with an institution does not terminate with their graduation day. Yes, it is a breakthrough event, but ultima- tely it is really a transformation into a lifetime relationship with a university. “I read somewhere that it begins with interest and responsibility, it continues with relationships that are worthwhile, and it ends with benefit for all”, he said. That begs the question, what role do alumni have to play in university development? Every alumnus has undergone the journey from being a student to becoming a graduate, therefore there is potential for alumni to contribute to a university in various ways and scale. Role models and motivation Alumni are powerful role models and are usually readily received by students. Alumni bring with them trustworthiness and approval as part of a prosperous university, having been there and struggling with similar challenges encountered by the students.



The Vice Chancellor, Prof Marwala emphasizes the importance of social sciences in the FOURTH INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION

“So, although many jobs will be replaced by AI, it can never replace those that require the human touch. Thus, the social sciences remain an important component in technology-oriented courses”, he said, adding: “When I studied medical engineering, I also needed to incorporate human resource sciences into the degree. Social sciences are important for engineers serving in a public role especially.” The VC’s reading club Prof Marwala is spearheading several important programmes at UJ this year, including the VC’s reading club in which students are invited to read books recommended, including AI Super-Powers China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee; 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari; Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman; The Fourth Industrial

The human touch is as important as ever in the technological age, says Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Professor Tshilidzi Marwala The University of Johannesburg is keenly embracing the opportunity to create courses that prepare new generations for future jobs that have yet to be invented, driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution, says UJ’s Vice-Chancellor (VC), Prof Tshilidzi Marwala. Advancements in technology “Just 28 years ago, there was no Internet, no cellphone. Consider how dramatically the world has changed since that time, and how quickly it is changing now. UJ, as an international university, must adapt to this change, and prepare our graduates not only to survive, but to thrive”, said Prof Marwala in an interview with Alumni. Fortunately, thanks to advanced technology today, these adaptive changes at UJ are well within reach financially, assured Prof Marwala. “It is much easier to write a piece of software than create a manufacturing firm. The initial capital outlay was much higher for the first, second and third industrial revolutions”, he said. Addressing the position of Africa in the technological age, Prof Marwala gave the example of M-Pesa, a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service invented in Kenya. “Kenya was the first country in the world to invent digital money. It is a good example of the innovation that can and does happen on our continent”, he said. The importance of the human touch The questions facing universities, meanwhile, are: How many jobs are going to change and what are they? What jobs will be eliminated, and how many new jobs will be created in future? “A doctor today is not the same as a doctor 30 years ago. Today, artificial intelligence (AI) can read and interpret medical images, and a doctor needs to understand this technology. More than this, a doctor needs empathy to deal with patients, something AI cannot replicate.”

Revolution by Klaus Schwab; Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution requires us to be continual learners, and that means constant reading and learning. The only thing that comes without effort is sleep”, he said. Another important project is UJ’s Africa Biography Programme, the writing of 10 books over five years that will feature South African luminaries such as Helen Suzman and Miriam Makeba. An international approach In maintaining UJ’s track record as a top university, Prof Marwala said the heads of departments were all looking to improve student success, at the same time the University was focusing on furthering its international profile by attracting more students from all over the world. “The general idea is to bring students here from countries as far as China, while continually improving our online courses, which are available across all the faculties”, he said. “The aim is to have 20% of staff to be international by the year 2025, and 15% of UJ’s students to be international by the year 2020”, he said.



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UJ tackles fraud by pioneering Digital Certificates and a virtual qualification verification system within Africa.

qualification verification system that will enable its graduates to access their qualifications digitally. Says the Senior Director of Central Academic Administration,

UJ tackles fraud by pioneering digital certificates and a virtual qualification verification system within Africa A first for South Africa The University of Johannesburg is once again shifting frontiers by introducing more innovative virtual capabilities in real-time. In a first for a South African university, UJ has now introduced digital certification and a virtual

parties or prospective employers, at no cost to both parties.” The online system has been introduced further to increase security features related to the certification processes in order to prevent fraud, curb counterfeiting and to avoid fraudulent representation of awarded qualifications. “The digital certificate system gives our alumni access to their

Dr Tinus van Zyl: “Not only does this online system offer

graduates access to their awarded certification credentials securely and electronically, but it also gives the graduates access to share their qualification credentials for verification purposes with third



The Registrar of UJ, Prof Kinta Burger, pointed out that UJ’s new digital certificate system further protects the University’s certificates from fraud and preserve the reputation of the University and the integrity of qualifications. Prof Burger concludes: “UJ is committed to applying new technologies either in the form of artificial intelligence, machine learning or automation. This natural evolution brings about accessibility to technology and is only a small step as we are embracing the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We are pleased to offer this service to our alumni and at the same time protect UJ’s qualifications and reputation”. The introduction of digital certificates follows the launch of several online learning programmes aimed at creating a generation of informed and connected global citizens.

qualifications and put them in control of who can verify their qualifications.” Key features incorporated into the new system are designed around international security standards and are compliant with legislation in terms of the protection to personal information. “Once a third party or a prospective employer requests to verify an awarded qualification, the certificate holder must authorise the access. UJ is constantly reviewing and implementing security technologies to bring our clients the latest, cutting-edge systems and certification security

features”, says Dr Van Zyl. Included in the key features

which the new digital certificate system offers, is the ordering of lost or damaged certificates; the requesting of academic records or transcript supplements; a secure online payment portal; an optional delivery by courier (nationally or internationally) and the validation of awarded qualifications.





Seasoned professional As such, he has served as external faculty lecturer for numerous business schools and universities. “My passion lies in developing people, using change leadership, training, coaching and mentoring approaches. I am able to grasp and deal with complexity and diversity, and to devise and implement strategies using a systemic and holistic approach”, says Angelo, who has presented and spoken at numerous local and international events, and has designed, coordinated and delivered numerous conferences, including two international ICMCI events. Angelo is a Bachelor of Science graduate with two diplomas in business management (one postgraduate) and an MBA. He matriculated at Roosevelt High, Johannesburg, in 1972, and in 1977 graduated from UJ (then Rand Afrikaans University) with BSc Maths and Theoretical Physics, which he accomplished with distinction. To get formal training in computer science, he completed nine modules of a diploma in Datametrics at the University of South Africa, then 10 years later did a one-year Diploma in Business Management from Damelin College, where he was voted top Damelin student of 1989. Angelo completed his MBA at Henley University, London in 1992/1993. Studies at UJ “It was at UJ where I started to believe in myself. The Socratic teaching style there was conducive to academics and students working together, and I always felt I was treated with respect and dignity”, Angelo recalls, adding that although his home language is Greek, he became fluent in Afrikaans, “to the extent that my lecturers couldn’t tell the difference between myself and a native Afrikaans speaker”.

Angelo Kehayas is the CEO of ProfWeb, a consulting, coaching, and training company that he founded in 1995. He has extensive management, IT, consulting

and programme management experience in large organisations the world over. Angelo Kehayas CEO of Profweb



After his two years of army training in the SA Defence Force, Angelo worked for Olivetti as an analyst/ programmer and operating system specialist. In 1985, he started Archon Computer Products, importers and distributors of home computers, as well as Progressive Products, consultants on networks and business systems. Career development In 1989, he joined Deloitte (at the time Deloitte and Touche) as a senior consultant in its performance improvement unit. “It was at Deloitte that my business

which is the holistic training of people in various corporate management capacities to reach their full potential”, he says. Angelo has since brought his expertise to a broad range of industries, including mining, services, telecommunications, financial services, manufacturing, group procurement, parastatals, transportation, distribution, and others. He now spends much of his time delivering keynotes, coaching executives and entrepreneurs and developing new training material. King William’s Town in 2011, said it was “a massive opportunity” and that he was fully focused on making the most of it. Studies at UJ After being deemed too small for school rugby, he decided to play soccer when he started studying a BCom in Marketing at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in 2012. He focused on his studies and only became involved in rugby again when his residence mates persuaded him to help in the varsity’s koshuis league. “I did play a few times, but it was purely for fun”, recalled Dyantyi. University rugby “But the next thing, UJ asked me if I didn’t want to focus more on the game and to try out for the U19s. The management at UJ was very good, but it still took me a while to warm to the idea. Eventually, I was offered a sports bursary and as I was looking at the time for an academic bursary, I thought this was a win-win situation. So, I decided it could do no harm

knowledge really exploded”, he says.

In the early 90s, Angelo was senior IT manager at Spoornet and SA Rail Commuter Corporation, but was soon headhunted by IBM to head up its consulting services. Then in 1995, he founded BAI Consulting Group, a professional management consulting operation. Besides BAI, Angelo established numerous IT companies in the Cinergi Group, including a call centre and e-commerce ventures including ProfWeb and FreelanceHR. “I found my true calling around this time,


to be a nominee and to be a part of this. I’ve always watched people get these accolades, and I never really thought or imagined I’d be the one sitting here right now. For any youngster, sports as a platform allows them to express themselves. For me that’s a great platform, it puts a smile on my face. When I’m on the field, it’s playtime, fun time”, said Dyantyi, after receiving his award at the glamorous ceremony. School rugby Born in the small Eastern Cape town of Ngcobo, the 24-year old, who matriculated at Dale College in

In November 2018, Aphiwe Dyantyi was named the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year at the World Rugby Awards that took place at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo, Monaco. A first for South Africa This award comes after a season that saw him score six tries in thirteen appearances for the South Africa national team. He is the fourth winner of this award and the first South African. “I’m still shaking from disbelief, but above everything, I feel honoured

and gave it a go”. Professional rugby

The rest, as they say, is history, and Dyantyi has steadily moved through the ranks, graduating from the Varsity Cup to become a key player for the Lions Super Rugby franchise last year and ultimately being crowned the Breakthrough Player of the Year in November 2018.



to train as a teacher, sponsored by his sister who had just entered the nursing profession. He became a teacher in 1992, and also enrolled as a distance learner in a Further Diploma in Education (FDE) Management with UJ (then Rand Afrikaans University). Afterwards, he did a Bachelor of Education degree, specialising in curriculum development, also as a distance learner. Studies at UJ “I had a passionate curriculum lecturer who introduced me to the sabre-toothed curriculum, an ageless existentialist curriculum paradigm. UJ has a highly organised, well-resourced library, and on Fridays, I would leave the library around 11 pm without even noticing it was late … I miss UJ, the campus and its ambiance”, says Lesiba. Lesiba went on to do four modules of an LLB at Unisa, before enrolling in 2011 for his Master of Public Administration at the University of Limpopo, again as a distance learner. In 2000, he became one of the first councillors of the Mogalakwena Municipality in Limpopo, following the phasing out of the Transitional Local Councils (TLCs) where he was serving as the deputy chair of the Lephalale TLC. His political activism and participation in the life of the Lephalale community earned him a street named after him there, Lesiba Mosehla Street. A leader in transformation Lesiba takes pride in leading South Africa’s transformation agenda in his different capacities and platforms, and lives by two dictums: ‘Remain higher than hope’ – Fatimah Meyer; and ‘Tumeloke Thebe’…meaning your faith is your strength. He still plans to establish his own law firm one day. He likes working with the elderly and disabled, he says. “It makes me appreciate the life cycle of humans and humanity in its diversity”, he says, adding, “I believe that humans can only survive along with plants and locusts/fauna/fish … as long as there is soil and water”.

Lesiba Mosehla, 51, is the manager of intersectoral collaboration and policy at the Department of Health (DOH) in Limpopo, a position he has held for 15 years since leaving Olifantsdrift Primary School (now Ditloung Primary School) as its principal. “I see myself as a person who has the ability to make a difference in people at the lowest level, despite being at a higher level. I have remained an educator of note, with community members and former learners appreciating my contribution in their lives”, he says. In his provincial government seat, which he took in 2002, he coordinates planning within the DOH in line with national and provincial priorities and provides technical support for policy development. “I am ethical, and would go to extra lengths to ensure that ethical conduct is upheld in

performing duties”, says Lesiba. Humble beginings

Lesiba was born in Tshwane and raised by his maternal grandparents in Mapela Village, in the Waterberg district in the Limpopo province. He attended Mapela Primary School, then Mantutule High School where he matriculated in 1988. “At school, I wanted to go to the army, then I wanted to be a pilot. In Grade 11 we were abruptly switched to humanities due to strikes that led to our maths and science teachers running away from the school. I started writing letters to the then president of Black Lawyers Association, Ntate Petje, as I aspired to be a lawyer”, he recalls. Lesiba repeated his matric to get a university exemption to study law, but because of a lack of funding, he enrolled at Mokopane College

Lesiba Mosehla: Public health administrator, educator and politician.



Applied information systems Alumna, Melina Mutambaie Katende receives Emerging scholar award.

Melina Mutambaie Katende, a former University of Johannesburg student, has been selected as a recipient of the Technology, Knowledge and Society Research Network Emerging Scholar Award along with four other recipients from the United States of America, the Republic of India, and the Republic of Cyprus. Melina’s paper was accepted to be presented at the 15th International Conference on Technology, Knowledge and Society, which was held at ELISAVA Barcelona School of Design and Engineering in Barcelona, Spain in March Studies at UJ Melina started her studies at UJ in 2008. She completed her undergraduate degree, a BCom in IT Management followed by an Honours in Informatics. She completed her master’s dissertation in 2018 under the supervision of Dr Shopee Dube at UJ’s Department of Applied Information Systems. While furthering her studies, Melina worked as an IT Business Analyst and is well-versed in the electronic payment and collections space. Her experience ranges from African remittance systems, Know Your Customer (KYC), financial technology solutions (also known as Fintech), payments to customs clearing, and enterprise resource planning. The Conference Awardees are invited to attend the conference to present their work and play a critical organisational role in the conference by leading discussions, chairing parallel sessions, and helping in session rooms. Founded in 2005, the conference is brought together by

Autonomous Organisations’ was well rated and selected for presentation at the Third International Conference on the Internet, Cyber Security and Information Systems (ICICIS), at the University of Botswana Conference Centre in Gaborone. “The award and associated conference provide strong professional development opportunities for budding career academics”, said Melina. “The ability to meet and interact with experts in the field and socialising with colleagues from other parts of the world create lasting networks and connections”.

a shared interest in the complex and subtle relationships between technology, knowledge, and society. Representing UJ, Melina was also appointed as chairperson in the themed panel sessions. This year, the conference themes focused on the Social Impact of Artificial Intelligence (AI): Policies and New Governance Models for Social Change. Melina was also shortlisted to present at the International Business Conference in Mauritius. Melina’s research paper on ‘IT Governance in Decentralised



Dr Colinda Linde a clinical psychologist and chairperson of SADAG.



Dr Colinda Linde is a Johannesburg-based clinical psychologist specialising in Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), with 26 years of experience. She is also chairperson and a director of the SA Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), and created “TheCBTgroup”, a group of mental health care professionals focusing on CBT for various ages and disorders. A first for South Africa In 2013, Colinda launched the first CBT self-help website in SA, www.thoughtsfirst.com, and over the past two years she has teamed up with author and high- performance executive coach, Neil Bierbaum, to co-found and co- author the Practical Mindfulness programme, online course and book (www.practicalmindfulness. co.za). Currently, she is creating practical online self-help courses for assertion, sleep disorders, stress management, panic, generalised anxiety, panic disorder, social anxiety, among others. Born and raised in Johannesburg, Colinda was a serious student who loved school and became an avid reader, with a special interest in biology and astronomy, and later, physics based sci-fi and neuroscience. Her ambition as a child was to join NASA and become an astronaut, but she had

of 11, she had read about clinical psychology and was certain that this was what she wanted to do. After matriculating in 1986, she enrolled for a psychology degree (including genetics) at Wits University, relying on a student loan for undergraduate studies. Afterward, she enrolled at UJ (then RAU) for her Honours in Psychology and Master’s in Clinical Psychology. “The head of department at that time had been trained in CBT in the US and it resonated strongly with me. I received CBT training from him, and in addition to the formal course work, I did my master’s dissertation using CBT. I was fortunate to be selected for a master’s at age 22, and there was a degree of challenge being the ‘baby’ in the group age-wise, but I was delighted to have no gaps or pauses in my studies”, recalls Colinda. UJ lecturers showed flexibility UJ was a smaller and more contained campus than Wits, and being the 80s, quieter, she recalls. “I really enjoyed the flexibility lecturers showed, for example, teaching many of the courses in English, even though it was RAU, as many classes had up to 80% English speakers in them. The lecturers were also really progressive, and many had trained and worked abroad, so the experiences they shared were invaluable

see a range of what can go wrong in a brain/psyche close up”. She graduated in 1993, at only 24, and started work as a resident psychologist at a place of safety in Pretoria, and then in Durban, with a part-time practice on a weekend. She opened a full practice in 1995, and in 1997, returned to Johannesburg to continue her practice, still working from a CBT framework. She became involved with SADAG, as patient education and advocacy is a strong driver for her, and was elected to their board, becoming its chairperson eight years ago. She has trained several SADAG psychologists in CBT, which she says is the most effective therapeutic intervention for anxiety and depression. Colinda has attended several international congresses and received training in the US as well as locally, mostly in CBT and more recently in mindfulness enhanced CBT. “This has been a winning combination of working with the mind at multiple levels, and achieving lasting change”, she says. When her twins were born 16 years ago, she had to learn about work- life balance and ended up putting this into a book, Get the balance right − coping tips for working mothers (2005, Metz Press). When Colinda is stressed she uses her own techniques, including daily meditation. “I also remind myself of one of my favourite meditations, ‘the clouds are not the sky’ which is all about impermanence and surfing various emotions and circumstances rather than avoiding or trying to escape from the uncomfortable ones. I will be a student all my life, and never tire of evolving myself and passing it on to others”, she says.

for younger students like me who had not really travelled or been exposed to the rest of

the world”, she says. Colinda did her internship at Sterkfontein Hospital, where she volunteered to work in the closed (psychosis) female ward. “I got to

less than perfect vision, which is required, and turned her attention to exploring the brain, the mind and human behaviour. By the age



UJ Alumnus becomes Vice-Chancellor of the University of Venda, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni

Dr Nthambeleni was born and raised at a village called Madombidzha at Ha-Sinthumule, which is located about 70 km from the University in Thohoyandou, in the Limpopo province. Dr Nthambeleni completed his PhD in Sociology at UJ in 2008 after graduating with a master’s degree in the same field in 1999. Prior to that, he completed an Honours degree in Industrial Sociology and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, in 1994 and 1993, respectively, at the University of Durban. He spent several years working at the National Research Foundation (NRF) in Pretoria, which gave him the opportunity to acquire managerial experience. New challenges lie ahead He considers his appointment as the Vice-Chancellor of one of South Africa’s growing universities as a defining moment in his career. Yet, he is cognizant of the challenges that lie ahead. Univen faces challenges of underfunding, inadequate infrastructure development, and other service delivery issues. “I am familiar with difficulties in these areas, which are quite similar in nature. A lot of change has taken place in the area and a new set of challenges has arisen, which is different from the type of challenges experienced 20 years ago”, said Dr Nthambeleni. “I have been affiliated with the university due to my role as a member of Council appointed by the NRF, and I have been aware of the achievements by the university.

“This is a special occasion for me, my family, and my community”, he said. “I am humbled by the trust that the university has bestowed on me to lead this great institution”. Early career It is a historic occasion for the local community because

On 15 March 2019 University of Johannesburg (UJ) alumnus, Dr Bernard Nthambeleni, was inaugurated as the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Venda (Univen), making him the fifth Vice-Chancellor of Univen since it was established in 1982.



30 NRF-rated researchers at the University”, he said. “And these are not the academics that we have hired who were already rated”. The state of education in SA “My biggest concern about the state of our education system in the country is that we do not have a plan and good pipeline to ensure that there is synergy between basic and higher education”. Fond memories of UJ Although he is now focused on growing Univen’s stature, Dr Nthambeleni has fond memories of UJ as “a great university” that contributed to shaping his career.

I am glad that I did not come here as a stranger to the issues that the university is facing”. A vision for excellence Dr Nthambeleni’s vision is to improve Univen’s academic and research rankings and position it among the top universities in the country and on the continent. “My vision is to position the University of Venda for impact. The university has a big role in providing to the needs of the country by producing graduates that will meet the human resources demands of the country. The University of Venda should be known for

its excellence in teaching and learning. We also have to prepare our students to compete and benefit from the digital revolution that is brought by the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. He believes that Univen has already made strides in becoming one of the universities of choice in the country. “The only difference between us and other universities is that we have not been funded optimally in the past as compared to other institutions. Over the former ten years, the University of Venda has made good advancement in terms of our research output. To date, we boost

Nomndeni Mdakhi


Nomndeni Mdakhi is an entrepreneur with the advancement of women at heart. She has been instrumental in founding a number of initiatives, including Fuse Acadamy, a deejaying school for girls established in 2009 to help more women to break into the entertainment industry, and EDITS TALKS, which exposes

“I love creating brands and seeing ideas come to life,” she says. In 2016, Mdakhi established EDITS TALKS, a platform for budding female entrepreneurs to share their knowledge and experiences, and learn from successful role models in order to improve their business acumen and grow. “We all know that starting a business can be a tricky and lonely endeavour. For that reason, many look for a mentor to support and guide them during their new business

female entrepreneurs to business opportunities.

In 2011 Mdakhi established EDITS COMMUNICATIONS, a marketing agency helping entertainers position their brands and leverage collaborative opportunites with corporates. This agency now specializes in creating insights-driven strategy for brands whose primary target audience are black females.

startup,” says Mdakhi. EDITS TALKS has been

able to attract an excellent calibre of speakers, from all over the world, in the media,



tech, finance, entertainment and marketing sectors, to share their knowledge. Mdakhi herself is often invited to speak about the opportunities available to black women in Africa. “I realized from my own personal experiences as a entrepreneur that there was a need to create spaces where aspiring and established female entrepreneurs can feel safe to share their stories and also learn from others,” she says. Mdakhi was born and raised in the small town of Newcastle in Kwazulu-Natal. “When I was young I wanted to be a teacher. Then, from watching Generations , I decided to be a marketer. They had an agency called New Horizons on that soapie and I was always fascinated by what they did,” she recalls. In 2001, Mdakhi moved to Johannesburg to begin her studies at UJ. “I never put any thought to what it would cost. I just knew that university was what was expected of me. My grandmother volunteered to take over my

study costs, as I was raised by my mother’s side of the family and they had always taken care of me,” says Mdakhi. Entering entrepreneurship Years later, Mdakhi had her first child, now 13 years old. “I worked for Multichoice and Discovery in a space of 2-3 years, but quickly realised it was not for me. So I started my first business in 2009, the deejaying school for girls,” she says. “The deejaying school was my partner’s idea (DJ Oskido). For me, it was the opportunity to get started as an entrepreneur. We didn’t know much about business but we figured it out and the school is still running eight years later.” From this experience, she saw the need for an agency that understands corporate challenges and needs as well as talent potential and challenges. Thus “Edits Communications” was born. Recently, Mdakhi launched another empowerment platform called

AGENDA WOMEN. “AGENDA WOMEN” is my life’s work. I am excited to be embarking on this new journey. This is a global business that will not only touch the lives of South African women but women around the world,” she says. The importance of perseverance Perseverance is critical to success in business, she says. “It has certainly been key to my success. I never give up, and with maturity I have also learnt to allow the universe to guide me to the next thing. But I cannot imagine never getting up when defeated and trying one more time,” she says. Africa, she says, is her other passion. “I would love to see Africans embrace the beauty of our continent, wake up to the opportunities that exist and deeply understand just how badass we are as Africans,” she smiles. Although Mdakhi did not graduate, she has plans to study further in the near future. “I am keen to get an MBA,” she says.



Karl Muller (58) is a chartered accountant specialising in taxation, and is the International Tax Director at Unilever Industry and Trading Company based in Istanbul, Turkey, which manufactures food products. Highly experienced and qualified His focus at Unilever is on corporate income tax, indirect taxes and transfer pricing. “I have been in the fast moving consumer goods industry since 2005, and have been fortunate enough to spend time in both Singapore and Turkey in my current role as tax director”, says Karl. Born in Pretoria, Karl grew up in Centurion and attended Lyttleton Primary School, then Grey College where he matriculated in 1977. “I was a boarder at Grey College and it was there that I really learned to become independent, and many of the values I have were instilled there”, says Karl. An average scholar who enjoyed sport more than academics, Karl nevertheless worked hard enough to get university entrance. “Our headmaster always used to say, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, but I probably overdid the play part”, he laughs. Karl aspired to becoming a pilot after his first flight in a small private plane at the age of 10. “Unfortunately I failed my medical in the selection process to join the South African Air Force and that meant I had to consider other options.” An aptitude test pointed him in the direction of economics, so while doing his compulsory military training, he enrolled in economics and private law at UNISA, paying for his studies with his meagre military wages. Discovering his passion “I learn better if I can resolve issues myself, so I decided to continue studying through UNISA, but I had to find a job, so I worked as a cashier at Van Schaik’s bookstore and then joined a small auditing firm owned by the son of our neighbours. I had never done any accountancy, but I found I loved working with numbers, and working

full time allowed me to pay my own way through university”, says Karl. After completing his BCompt degree and BCompt (Hons)/CTA, he wrote and passed the PAAB Board exam in 1985, about the same time completing his articles. “I began immediately practising as a chartered accountant. I really enjoyed Income Tax, probably because I like law more than accounting”, he says. In 1990, he obtained his MCom Taxation degree cum laude, coming first in the class of 20. In 2000 he enrolled for the HDip International Tax Law programme at the University of Johannesburg, completing it cum laude in the same year. “I was exposed to an excellent group of lecturers who really contributed to my passing

KARL MULLER international tax specialist at Unilever

that are beyond my control. And I don’t dwell on failures

with distinction. It was very sad to hear of the passing of Prof Lynette Olivier, who was an inspiration”, says Karl. Karl sees one of his strengths as the ability to work on his own. “I’ve always been a self-starter. UNISA is seen as tough because you’re studying on your own, but doing it this way gave me much greater analytical and thinking skills, and enabled me to deal with complex issues without feeling overwhelmed. In the business arena, this has helped me to explain complex issues in a simple manner”, he says. Karl says he always tries to find the positive in any situation, or at least a lesson he can learn from it. “Being an introvert I sometimes withdraw to find space and time to think through the difficulty. I also do not try and change things

but see them as learning opportunities”, he says. The future Karl will be returning to South Africa in July to take on a different dimension of work for Unilever. “The tax world is changing and so must multinationals, to deal with not only the challenges of the fast changing tax environment, but also the rapid changes in the world of business”, he says. Once he retires, Karl plans to get involved in programmes such as those run by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the African Tax Administration Forum that help develop tax authorities. He also wants to pursue his hobbies, art and photography.



Limpopo-born alumni are rocking the mining industry

From left: Matete Phasha, Mpho Kgadima, Tebele Letswalo, Andronica Mathobela, Andronica Makhura

Excellence in academia Matete Phasha, having achieved her BTech Mining degree cum laude, is now area manager for Sandvik Mining & Rock Technology, which develops engineering solutions for mining and rock excavation. The top performing student in her faculty in 2012, Phasha received the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (FEBE) Deans’ Honour Roll award for exceptional achievement, and was the Association of Mine Managers of South Africa’s prize winner for the best Mining Engineering Student in 2012. She was also awarded a certificate for Highest Academic Achievement in BTech Engineering

Five Limpopo-born and -bred alumni – all graduates of the BTech mining degree in 2012 – are today making significant contributions to the mining sector at major mining com- panies around the country. Andronica Mathobela, Matete Phasha, Andronica Makhura, |Mpho Kgadima and Tebele Letswalo are all graduates of the BTech Mining degree at UJ’s Doornfontein campus (DFC), where, where they met, and since then, have remained good friends. Mathobela is a business improvement specialist at New Denmark Colliery in Standerton, Mpumalanga, owned by Seriti. Seriti is a major South African mining company responsible for supplying approximately 24Mtpa of thermal coal to Eskom’s Lethabo, Tutuka and Kriel power

(all disciplines) for women at the University of Johannesburg in 2012. Phasha says she is involved in a number of mining forays, also in her home province. “In Musina, Venetia mine (De Beers) is sinking a shaft, and sinking shaft operations in Ivanplats in Mokopane is also under way. Anglo American Platinum has also acquired Glencore’s Mototolo mine and they are in the exploration phase to mine Der Brocken ore body to expand the life of the mine. Another surface mine soon to go underground is Mecklenburg (Tjibeng), where Murray and Roberts will be doing shaft sinking operations”, she says.

stations, which collectively generate about 23% of the country’s electricity.



Mpho Kgadima, also a BTech Mining graduate in 2012, is Section Manager: Drilling, Blasting and Technical at Kolomela Mine near Postmasburg in the Northern Cape, owned by Anglo American’s Kumba Iron Ore, which supplies high- quality iron ore to the global steel industry. Of her time at UJ DFC, Mpho says “it’s true when they say, it’s the people that make the place … DFC is where I met my lifetime friends, my mentors, and my community away from home”. “The structure of the programme also allowed us a glimpse of the industry, which was an eye opener for me. I am a proud miner from UJ, a quality miner. I always say nothing prepares you for the mining industry, but UJ. Even today, I am still dependent on lecturers who are committed to shaping my future, including

The platinum in the Burgersfort area is also proving to outlive most”, says Mathobela. Kgadima agrees: “Limpopo is a province rich with the most valuable minerals in the world such as iron ore, platinum and diamonds. My personal feeling is we need to reimagine Limpopo back to the treasure that it is and empower our communities to educate themselves.” Tebele Letswalo is shift supervisor in Rustenburg at Sibanye Gold, South Africa’s largest gold producer, while Andronica Makhura is a shift boss at Harmony Gold Mine (Bambanani Operations) in Welkom, Free State. Harmony Gold is the third largest gold mining company in South Africa.

Ntabiso Ndiweni, Peter Knottenbelt and Ivan Wermuth”, she says. Mathobela recalls UJ DFC as a close knit family. “Almost everyone knew one another, even across departments. My biggest highlight was the mining tour, under the HOD at the time (Peter Knottenbelt). It was well worth the experience”, she says. She predicts that she, along with at least one or two of the class of 2012, might reunite one day in Limpopo, Africa’s “mining Eden”. The treasure in Limpopo “The mining sector in Limpopo is one of the biggest pillars of the economy after farming, with a lot of projects on small scale mining on the go. The coal in the Lephalale region (Grootegeluk Coal Mine) is stretching to a mining life of close to 30 years.

UNDERSTANDING TODAY. CREATING TOMORROW. To us, “The Future Reimagined”, is not a mere line under our logo. It’s a daily challenge. It’s what motivates us to integrate the 4th Industrial Revolution into everything that steers Africa to a place of intellectual leadership. Creating Tomorrow is active not passive. It’s a collection of minds coming together to make change happen, and we’re leading the way.

So, when you think of the University of Johannesburg, think of it as more than a just a world class, higher education facility. Think of it as the place where tomorrow is being created.


UJ’s influential alumni COCKTAIL DINNER

The ambience The evening began with a lavish spread of colourful cocktails and sushi platters, then moved into the Chinua Achebe Auditorium for dinner, speeches and a live music performance by the UJ Choir. The evening was themed on the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which is at the forefront of UJ’s planning strategy as a leading university on the African continent. The keynote Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, Vice- Chancellor and Principal, delivered the keynote speech. “My vision is to position UJ in the Fourth Industrial Revolution within the context of changes happening in the African continent”, he said, adding that South Africa’s fate was inextricably intertwined with that of the rest of Africa, and as such, UJ’s thinking had to embrace the continent as a

Influential alumni of the University of Johannesburg gathered for a cocktail dinner event on the Kingsway Campus Library on 1 March 2018, to enjoy an evening of insights, entertainment, and opportunities to network. In attendance was the Vice- Chancellor, Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, as well as some of UJ’s most esteemed academics and staff, including Deputy VC, Prof Angina Parekh, Prof Sehaam Kahn, recently appointed Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, UJ’s Chief Operating Officer, Professor Andre Swart, UJ Registrar, Prof Kinta Burger, Prof Saurabh Sinha, Deputy VC: Research and Internationalisation, Dr Nolitha Vukuza, Senior Executive Director in the VC’s Office, and CFO, Nolwazi Mamorare.

whole. “The median age of people in Africa is 18. This places a huge burden on us. How are we going to educate our people?”, he asked. He described the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a “confluence of technologies in the digital space”, which had huge implications for the world of work in the future. “We need to produce graduates who will not just survive, but thrive in these environments, irrespective of how complex they are, and our curriculums will adapt accordingly”, said Prof Marwala, adding that as the BA in PPE (politics, philosophy and economics) created great leaders in the past, so a BA in PET (politics, economics and technology) would create leaders of the future. New courses will be introduced at UJ this year, he said, “to create leaders in a world moving rapidly into automation”.



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