UJ Alumni Impumelelo Magazine Edition 8

We are pleased to release the 8th edition of the Alumni Impumelelo magazine.  In this edition we showcase the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA), from the new leadership in place to the futuristic innovation at the FabLab.  Also in this edition, we have the address by the UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof. Tshilidzi Marwala and we profile a few prominent UJ Alumni that are moving and shaking in their respective industries. 

ISSUE #8 March 2022


Faculty of Ar t, Design and Architecture

The FADA fab-lab opens – 4IR innovation and design

The FADA Fab-Lab opens - 4IR innovation and design

The USA Alumni Chapter meet

The GSA - Leading in architecture

education for seven years


Latest Edition

Rank in the World

Rank in Africa

Rank in South Africa

World Rankings





QS World University Rankings (QS WUR)

Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings (THE WUR)



Joint 17th

Joint 7th

University Ranking by Academic Performance (URAP)

2020 - 2021




U.S. News and World Report’s Best Global Universities Rankings (BGUR)





Impact Rankings

Times Higher Education (THE) University Impact Rankings (THE UIR):





Overall Ranking

Regional Rankings

Times Higher Education (THE) Emerging Economies University Rankings (THE EEUR)





Young Rankings

Times Higher Education (THE) Young University Rankings (THE YUR)





Employability Rankings

QS Graduate Employability Rankings (QS GER)





Stay Connected www.uj.ac.za/alumni


1 Message from Prof Tshilidzi Marwala - Vice-Chancellor and Principal

The University of Johannesburg came into existence on 1 January 2005 as the result of a merger between the Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), the Technikon Witwatersrand. Prior to the merger, in 2004, the Daveyton and Soweto campuses of the former Vista University had been incorporated into RAU. UJ is one of the largest comprehensive contact universities in South Africa from the 26 public universities that make up the higher education system. UJ has a student population of over 50 000, with close to 3 000 international students

VICE-CHANCELLOR AND PRINCIPAL’S MESSAGE 1 Message from Prof Tshilidzi Marwala PRESIDENT OF CONVOCATION MESSAGE 2 Message from Prof Boitumelo Diale UJ NEWS 4 Dean of the Johannesburg Business School, Professor Randall Carolissen, digitising JBS to create ‘fit for future’ business leaders 6 Prof Roelien Brink, Leading the way for work integrated learning 7 Jessica Tandy profile – A UJ Alumna with talent 10 Introducing UJ’s SAICA 35-under-35 finalists and overall winner Nic Riemer 23 UJ Alumnus Morné du Toit appointed CEO at the Ikusasa Financial Aid Programme 25 UJ scientists receive top honours at the 2020/2021 NRF Awards 26 Mteto Nyati, recipient of a PhD Honoris Causa in IT Management EVENTS 28 Retired Academics luncheon 29 USA Alumni chapter meet 30 Intersection of 4IR and creatives may hold the key to Africa’s future 33 GSA Events article – Graduate School of Architecture builds upon its success, despite COVID-19 FADA 35 Prof Stéphane Laurent – Executive Dean, FADA 39 The FADA fab-lab opens – 4IR innovation and design 41 UJ design students clinch first place in Furniture Design Competition 44 The GSA – leading in architecture education for seven years 45 Kamal Ranchod – Regional winner at the 34th Corobrik Architectural Student of the Year Awards 2021 47 Muneyi Masibigiri – Continues to connect and create 49 Ayobola Kekere-ekun, full-time student/part-time artist 51 Osmond Tshuma 55 Paolo Grippa – Award winning Visualist 57 12 questions to industrial designer Joe Paine 59 Neo Matloga, Visual artist 62 Nontokozo Tshabalala – Creating Afrofuturism through graphic design and poetry 65 Contemporary Illustrator, Activist and Street-artist – Sindiso Nyoni 67 12 things about Adriaan Hugo, industrial designer INSIGHTS 72 Black Sonic: Heritage as Heresy SPORT 74 UJ wins 2021 FNB Varsity Football tournament final 76 UJ Men’s Rugby 7s Team crowned Kings of Africa Rugby 7s tournament in Uganda 79 Rising rugby stars, Brown and Williams, make Blitzboks debut in Canada, win title

26 Mteto Nyati,

recipient of a PhD Honoris Causa in IT Management

Prof Stéphane Laurent - Executive Dean, FADA 35

72 Black Sonic: Heritage as Heresy

Editorial Team

EDITORIAL NOTE 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 and Research. 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. Don’t forget to register on the UJ Alumni Connect to gain access to job opportunities, mentorships and more.

Mareza Christensen Graphic Designer

Prof Kinta Burger

Mr Nell Ledwaba

Dr Tinus van Zyl

Mr. Victor Khangale


indivisible bond with UJ and our achievements are yours. Now, as we look to the future – one where campus life is once again a reality, we are thankful for the lessons learnt in the past two years. We will take many of these shifts forward to reimagine higher education. Though there is still a great deal of uncertainty, we cling to promise of tomorrow. Wherever we may be heading, we are a University that needs you to continue to walk with us to reimagine and reinvent the future. As this period has demonstrated, UJ has to be and will be leading and challenging conventional stereotypes. Against this exciting but uncertain backdrop, I am reminded of the poem Turn on your Light by Nigerian poet Ben Okri. “We could use the new era To clean our eyes, To see the world differently, To see ourselves more clearly. Only free people can make a free world. Infect the world with your light. Help fulfill the golden prophecies. Press forward the human genius. Our future is greater than our past.” We look forward to another year with your support and with the promise of this gentle reminder that our future is greater.

The last two years have been characterised by great upheaval. “Unprecedented”, “unchartered” and “pandemic” have had an almost uncomfortable resurgence in our lexicon. At the beginning of the year in 2020, full of hope, few could have predicted that this would be have been our trajectory. Added to our lexicon is the phrase “the new normal” – this strange context we find ourselves in but one I must admit we have adapted to with great resilience and tenacity. We now find ourselves on the precipice of another shift. As vaccines and booster shots rollout through the world, borders open and restrictions ease, there is a sense that we could be emerging from this dark period that has characterised our recent history. It has been fulfilling to be at the helm of a University that has made a name for itself in South Africa, Africa and across the world,

even amid the most trying of times. This would not have been possible without the support of our community. You have ensured that even as we battle a tumultuous context, defined by the pandemic, technological disruption on a grand scale, climate change and global upheaval, that we have emerged as a University truly worth talking about. Our research output and our rankings are testament to this great feat. We have certainly been thrust at a lightning speed into the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) as we had to eke out new forms of teaching, learning and working based on remote processes and a blend of technology. Yet, since the start of the pandemic, UJ has been agile and responsive and as a result seen pockets of great success. We are cognisant of the fact that you as our convocation and alumni have made this possible with your unwavering support. You have an



Convocation welcome message: Prof Tumi Diale

Looking back over a challenging 2021, the pain the COVID-19 pandemic caused is top of mind, says Prof Tumi Diale, President of the UJ Convocation. At the same time, she is keenly aware of the gifts the pandemic delivered. In her 2022 welcome message, Prof Diale references the trauma many alumni, together with millions of people worldwide, experienced: the loss of loved ones, friends and neighbours, people who faced and survived the virus personally, the plunging economy and job losses, as well as the pandemic’s effect on mental health. “We need to acknowledge this pain and the two challenging years that we had to deal with. That said, I want to reflect on the lessons learned and the gifts received and how they can take us forward into 2022,” she said. A particularly successful event was the hosting of the first retiring academics lunch. UJ academics retiring at the end of 2021 were invited to lunch in October to bring them back into the system through the Convocation of which all retired academics are members. “We are re-dash-membering them,” she said. Prof Diale discussed the progress of the Convocation’s five projects: the SWC Female Residence, the Alumni House and Wellness, the

number of groups and chapters. We currently have the School of Tourism and Hospitality, the Applied Information Science, the Mining Engineering and Mine Surveying, and the Commercial Accounting Affinity groups. New affinity groups will include a law affinity group, a psychology affinity group, and a School of Management Sciences affinity group. The psychology affinity group will consist of educational, industrial, counselling and clinical psychology groups. “We have alumni chapters in Gauteng and in the USA. However,

“I’m excited to say that the alumni house is well under way, and we hope that we will open the alumni house at the Johannesburg Business School in the second half of the year. It is one of our big projects, and we are looking forward to launching it,” said Prof Diale. The Convocation’s employee wellness programme is also available to immediate family members who live with members of convocation. “In terms of the affinity groups and chapters, we plan to extend the

Prof Tumi Diale, President of the UJ Convocation.

Affinity Group and Chapters, Graduate Employability, and Development & Fund-Raising.

“Sadly, the Soweto female residence project had to be put on hold due to funding challenges from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). The project, under the supervision of Mr Msizi Khoza, was dependent on this funding, and when the funds were not forthcoming, we had no choice but to park it “We however appreciate and acknowledge this change from the DHET, like many of us, they had to prioritise other key issues when the pandemic hit us all. We hope that the DHE rethinks financing a residence in Soweto and that a future executive will run with it” said Diale.


how graduates’ prospects can be improved. Ms Zanele Modiba, Deputy President of Convocation, is hard at work on that particular project in collaboration with the University and external key stakeholders. Lastly, the fundraising projects under Ms Confidence Tshilande are making good progress.

Working closely with Ms Daphney Nemakhavhani, Director: Development & Fundraising at UJ, fund-raising projects are in place, working towards an improved financial state for the University and assistance for students in need. Prof Diale’s message to UJ alumni is to please engage with the UJ Convocation.

we are aiming to launch an ambitious four more International chapters, namely; Namibia, Zimbabwe, Nigeria. We will be opening 4 Provincial chapters, namely; Eswatini, KwaZulu- Natal, Western Cape and Limpopo,” said Prof Diale. With graduate employability a national crisis, UJ is investigating

About UJ Alumni Chapters Volunteering to be a convenor A UJ Alumni chapter is a regional, town or city based group of University of Johannesburg (UJ) Alumni who want to formalise their relationship with UJ. Any verified alumnus may volunteer to convene a chapter. Contact us If you are looking to establishing an Alumni chapter in your region, please contact the UJ Alumni office on Alumni@uj.ac. za. All UJ Alumni can connect with us on Alumni Connect, www.ujAlumni.co.za . The Alumni connect platform allows UJ Alumni to, offer mentoring services, receive mentorship and connect with UJ in a unique way and participate in UJ Alumni chapters and affinity groups. Please click here for more Information .




Digitalising JBS to create ‘ Fit For Future ’ Business Leaders

By Helen Grange


its challenges. “Some executives continue to regard change management as a human resources function; this despite rapidly growing evidence from those companies that successfully traversed the digital migration that the extent of change required compels strategic shifts that must be driven from the office of the CEO. But despite this reluctance, most of our international partner schools are elated that an African school has embraced this challenge” “The Centre for Entrepreneurship in the JBS has become well known for its success in connecting SMME’s to big business and has embarked on a programme to link these companies to a digitally connected ecosystem, opening up opportunities for platforming and thus elevation up the economic ladder. We have included business leaders from successful technology companies as professors of practice into our faculty to ensure practical application of theory, with a focus on best practice.

Technical savvy is critical in the toolkit of business leaders today, and it’s this aspect of business training that Prof Randall Carolissen, appointed Dean of the Johannesburg Business School (JBS) in March 2021, has laser beamed his full attention on. “The University of Johannesburg has attained global recognition on the repositioning of itself to address the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). For the JBS, this translates into a mandate to create leaders fit for the future, empowered to effectively respond to the 4IR in general, and digital transformation in particular. Cognizant of the African context, JBS is primed to address the challenges of this continent and supersede the growing digital divide. Thus we have reconfigured and increased our suite of academic programmes up to doctoral level to reflect this transformation,” says Prof Carolissen. The departure from traditional leadership development pedagogy has not been without



administrator of the National Student Fund Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for one year, which eventually extended to 30 months. It is common cause that NSFAS had collapsed in 2018 and failed hundreds of thousands of students who didn’t receive stipends for periods of up to eight months. He reversed the fortunes of NSFAS and provided the financial reassurance to more than 700,000 students to focus on their academic programmes. “My job as Dean of the JBS remains daunting, but quite different, yet taken as a whole complimentary from what I’ve done in the past. Believe me, I’ve had sleepless nights thinking about the radical shift, but I remain convinced that we are on the right path, ” he says.

Cape. In 2005, he completed an MBA (cum Lude) at the University of Stellenbosch specialising in International Finance, receiving the Old Mutual Gold medal. This was followed by an MCom in International Tax at the University of the Northwest in 2009. More recently, Prof Carolissen served three terms as the chairperson of the University of the Witwaters- rand council. In his career, he has occupied a diverse array of roles, including industrial engineer, senior lecturer in physics, Managing Director of the South African Bureau of Standards, Chief Operating Officer of Damelin group of companies, and General Manager of Quality Management at SARS. In August 2018, he was appointed by Minister Naledi Pandor as the

“We will be allowing students to specialise and explore digital transformation in their respective disciplines through elective courses presented by our international partners. In our newly constructed PGDip, certification with selected technology providers to promote employability and relevance has been incorporated. Other initiatives in the pipeline include an executive coaching centre, and addressing the lack of financial resources among deserving students by facilitating affordable, unsecured bank loans. Prof Carolissen’s biography reveals that he is an ideal fit to manage the new direction that JBS has embarked on. Born and raised in the Western Cape, he obtained his PhD in 1995 in nano-physics at the University of the Western

Thank You for playing your part in raising R916 million for our missing middle campaign since 2016. Your efforts have managed to assist 13 978 students with full bursaries. Help us raise R27 million towards clearing our students’ outstanding debt. Give to our Student Debt Campaign Reimagine the Future by investing in the Future.

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Prof Roelien Brink, Leading the way for WORK INTEGRATED LEARNING (WIL)

Professor Roelien Brink, appointed Associate Professor in UJ’s Department of Applied Information Systems (AIS) in 2020, has been interested in learning about computers from the time she matriculated from Hoërskool Die Burger in 1984. “I knew my parents did not have the funding to send me to a university. But I was always eager to learn new things, so I enrolled for every computer short course I could during my early career as an assistant at the SABC (from 1985 to 1988) and after that, at Technikon Witwatersrand,” she recalls. Prof Brink, who holds a PhD in Information Management, started her academic journey in 1992 when she registered for her first qualification, a National Diploma in Personnel Management, completing it in 1995. She then did a BTech: Human Resource Management, and in 1996, she started at UJ as a junior lecturer in End-User Computing.

to five research executives in Educational RTV 2/3. She also assisted with video editing and general office administration. In 1988, she joined Bankcorp Properties (Ltd) as a secretary, and later that year, became a secretary at the Technikon Witwatersrand, working for the assistant Registrar. In 1992, she was promoted to training officer within the HR department, training admin staff in the use of software. “It was at this time that I realised I had a passion for software programmes, and learned every possible new programme I could,” she says. “My philosophy in life is that life is a process of lifelong learning, supported by experience and interaction. As Richard Branson said, ‘If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later’. Success in life can only be through the 3P’s: Patience, Perseverance, Persistence.”

In 2005, Technikon Witwatersrand merged with the Rand Afrikaans University and became UJ. With the merger came a new vision for its academics, who needed a master’s degree to be a lecturer, so Prof Brink did her MEd Computer Based Education, graduating in 2009. “UJ being a dynamic university, it expected academics to study further, and it wanted to increase the number of PhD qualified academics. Given my passion for people and facilitating initiatives to assist with empowerment of the youth in South Africa, I decided to do my PhD in the field of Work- Integrated Learning (WIL). The day I received my PhD (graduating in 2014), it was proof that if your dreams scare you, they can become a reality,” she smiles. Born in Parys, Free State, in 1965, Prof Brink grew up in a rectory with two sisters and two brothers. She started her career as a first female assistant at the SABC, responsible for control of all typing and telephone calls, and reporting


Jessica Tandy a UJ Alumna with talent

Jessica Tandy – over 23 years of consulting

1997. “I’ve always been about acquiring knowledge to run my own thing. I come from an entrepreneurial family. So applying yourself and creating something is second nature to me. I like solving problems and setting direction rather than just working for someone,” she says. Jessica is also a co-owner of African Talent Unearthed (ATU) together with her 19-year-old daughter Lerai Rakoditsoe. ATU is a creative arts company that seeks to facilitate the convergence of authentic African talent with global opportunity by providing access to the global stage as well as equipping them with entrepreneurial skills through technology solutions. ATU does not view talent merely as a source of entertainment but rather capitalises on its capacity to act as a vehicle for self-

development, nation-building, and the facilitation of social cohesion right from the ground up. Since its inception in 2016, ATU has taken more than 15 students to The World Championships of Performing Arts in Long Beach California, USA. These students won multiple medals, and some were even awarded scholarships to institutions like New York Film Academy, New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts and Millennium Dance Complex in Los Angeles. “I always knew that I wanted to work with computers and also make an impact and yes that’s what I’ve been doing. We live in a global village and I would like to influence at that level. I believe technology should be an enabler to things but not be intrusive to human nature at the same time,” she says.

Jessica is one of three women partners at Bizmod Consulting, a women-owned management consulting firm. She’s been part of building this firm from a staff complement of three to 70+ employees. She is a principal consultant in the following industries: IT, manufacturing, health, telecommunications and banking. She has worked for and consulted for various organisations in Africa, UK and USA. She also consults full-time. Her consulting experience over the last 23 years has been in the fields of project management, system implementations, restructuring, organisational transformation and change management. Jessica studied Information Technology at UJ, graduating in




If your lockdown patience has been tested with buffered movies, frustrated gaming, or garbled Zoom meetings, then just imagine downloading that takes 60 seconds instead of six hours, or meetings with no garbling, or gaming to your heart’s content. More than that, imagine surgery at a distance, emergency help and coverage in real time, or the ability to make driving incalculably safer. And if you can imagine that, then you can imagine 5G technology. EMBRACING THE FUTURE. AT REAL SPEED.

That’s why at UJ, as an academic leader in Africa, we’re embracing it, like all Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technology, because 5G has the capacity to make everyone’s life much better.

The future belongs to those who reimagine it.

A leader on our continent. UJ. Fourth in South Africa. Fifth in Africa. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings. uj.ac.za/4IR



UJ Alumnus Nic Riemer takes the laurels at the 2021 SAICA TOP-35-UNDER-35 COMPETITION

UJ Alumnus Nicholas Riemer (32) walked away as the Overall Winner at the 2021 South African Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (SAICA) Top-35-Under-35 competition. SAICA, the leading accountancy body in South Africa and one of the prominent institutes globally, first held the Top-35-under-35 competition in 2014. It recognises

young CA(SA) achievers who are not only excelling in their professional capacity, but who are also making a meaningful contribution to society. Nicholas, who is the co-founder and CEO at The Invigilator and who also heads the investment education space within FNB Wealth and Investments, wasn’t the only UJ

alumnus who featured as a finalist in the competition. He shared the honour with six others, namely Kush Padia, Peter Serite, Tokelo Mulaudzi, Bright Mhazo and Schalk Burger. You can read more about these talented accounting movers and shakers on the next few pages.


Nic Riemer I am exceptionally proud to hold the CA(SA) designation and winning this year’s SAICA Top-35-Under-35 overall winner award will allow me to showcase what the qualification has unlocked for me, from a business foundation to my networks in co-founding The Invigilator.

SAICA Top-35-Under-35 overall winner Nic Riemer (far left) with Freeman Nomvalo, CEO of SAICA. Photo: Theana Breugem It took a few seconds for the words to truly sink in that he was the year’s winner, says Nic Riemer, overall winner of the 2021 SAICA Top-35-under-35 competition. “Receiving this award is one of the proudest moments of my life. The journey to becoming a CA(SA) is a challenging one and hearing my name called out brought back memories of all those late nights put in studying and working towards my goal, and how absolutely worth it all those sacrifices were,” he says. Being included in the year’s competition was a truly humbling experience for him. The finalists were a remarkable group of individuals and seeing how each of them is flying the South African and CA(SA) flag high was an inspiration. Such moments make one pause and reflect not only on your own accomplishments but also those of the other finalists around you, he says. “One draws from that to fuel the fire even more in building and growing companies that have a positive impact on South Africa. The CA(SA) qualification has provided me with the foundation to truly excel in the business world and the competition brought likeminded CA(SA)s together to celebrate our success and build networks for future successes.

“I am exceptionally proud to hold the CA(SA) designation and winning the year’s competition will allow me to showcase what the qualification has unlocked for me, from a business foundation to my networks in co-founding The Invigilator.” One of the best decisions he ever made was to pursue his CA(SA) qualification at UJ, which gave him the skillset to achieve in the banking world and then opened doors to the partnerships and relationships necessary to create an application and company that he believes could change how education is administered globally. Nic, who is also a lecturer, an investment expert and Head of Investment Education at FNB, is best known as co-founder and CEO of The Invigilator, a proudly South African, mobile-first exam assessment tool that uses artificial intelligence to prevent cheating and collusion in remote online examinations and assessment. “I have used the CA(SA) qualification as a foundation to build my career. Without the crucial financial knowledge the qualification offers, I would not have been able to take my passions, turn them into businesses and roles and compete with the best financial minds in the country. “Creating The Invigilator application as a CA(SA) has allowed the next generation of accountants to utilise the application in completing their studies, thus allowing for future development

Nic Riemer, co-founded and developed The Invigilator app with two fellow academics, Dewald Joubert and Jurie Wessels, and his software engineer brother. Photo: Theana Breugem



The success of the app is not only good for business; it is also of huge importance to academic integrity. “When academic integrity is jeopardised, so is employability,” says Nic. “You are essentially cheating yourself and others out of degrees holding value in the workplace when unethical decisions are taken. Unfortunately, there have been incidents of cheating across universities with the move to online, but The Invigilator application can now solve this issue and ensure exam conditions are abided by when remote testing is administered.” Since creating The Invigilator, the foursome all had to get used to the tech start-up lifestyle, where conventional working hours go out the window. Problems must be rectified as quickly as possible and it’s up to the team to do that. “None of us would have it any other way. Work doesn’t really feel like work because we are all so passionate about what we are building and the potential the company has. Fortunately, the interviews I had to do in my previous roles at FNB gave me skills I could bring to the table in driving our public relations campaign forward,” says Nic. Through the use of technology, education can become more accessible and affordable to students across the globe. The Invigilator is not just a proctoring tool used for high-risk examinations, it’s an education tool that allows for the inclusion of continuous assessment as well as blended learning in that short tests, quizzes and assignments can be administered constantly over the academic year without the need for fixed space and physical invigilators, meaning students get a deeper understanding of the material at hand, resulting in higher employability. Nic Riemer holds a CA Honours from UJ.

RECEIVING THE SAICA TOP- 35-UNDER-35 OVERALL WINNER AWARD WAS ONE OF THE PROUDEST MOMENTS OF NIC RIEMER’S LIFE. HIS DREAM IS TO INTRODUCE THE INVIGILATOR INTO MANY DIFFERENT GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS AND SHOW THE WORLD THAT A SOUTH AFRICAN EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY COMPANY CAN ACHIEVE INTERNATIONAL MARKET SHARE THROUGH OUTPERFORMING INTERNATIONAL OFFERINGS. HE ALSO WANTS TO MAKE SAICA PROUD OVER THE NEXT YEAR. within the profession. I am extremely proud and grateful that SAICA has recognised this through my inclusion as a finalist and then overall winner in The SAICA Top-35- Under-35 competition.” The app is currently the top free education app in South Africa and is utilised by several large tertiary institutions. Unisa is leading the pack with 225 000 students using the app as well as UJ, Rhodes, NWU, Boston, DUT, CUT and UCT. Having a passion for the advancement of future-focused education solutions in under- resourced settings, he co-founded the app with two fellow academics, Dewald Joubert and Jurie Wessels, and his software engineer brother. He is now working full time on The Invigilator with a focus on scaling the business globally.

“When we went into COVID-19 lockdown in 2020, Dewald, Jurie and I began discussing how students were going to move online and the current proctoring systems that were available on the market. We felt that the current proctoring systems had limitations such as laptops being needed, constant internet connection as well as high costs. As a result, universities were not making use of any technology and we seized the opportunity to create a South African solution built for South African students and lecturers. With my brother, who is a gifted software engineer, the four of us set off in April 2020 to create The Invigilator Application.” By September 2020, Version 1 of the app was ready and APT was the first to make use of the application for their 4 000 students. This was the first time the app was used in real life in exam conditions, and even though it was a simple version of what it is today, it managed to conduct the invigilation successfully. “From that point we managed to roll out the app to a small group of Unisa students for piloting purposes. After these exams were conducted successfully, we gained traction by meeting with more universities who were looking for a proctoring solution that could be used to maintain examination integrity,” says Nic. He says the success of the application is one hundred per cent due to the Invigilator team. There was a huge drive in all four of them to create a solution that could assist universities maintain academic integrity and make remote assessing possible even past Covid. “With each member of the team bringing a unique skill set to the table, and after the opportunity was spotted, we didn’t stop until we had a solution that was ready to go to market. The speed of the team is something that has impressed multiple universities as well as the perfect

blend between academic and technology requirements in the solution.”


ADVANCE YOUR CAREER WITH FURTHER STUDIES IN THE SCIENCES LEADING SCIENTISTS. INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGISTS A career in the sciences allows young people to be at the forefront of charting the course for humanity, especially in this era of the 4th industrial revolution. The Faculty of Science at the University of Johannesburg is uniquely positioned to shape young minds into becoming the leaders that the country requires. We offer qualifications in computer and numerical sciences, earth and life sciences, chemical, and physical sciences. Under the umbr ll of life sciences, we off r qualifications i biochemistry, biote hnology, botany, food technology and zoology. Our undergradu e qualifications give access to H nours de rees, followed by Masters and Doctoral qualifications in the basic science disciplines as well We offer qualifications in computer and numerical sciences, earth and life sciences, chemical, and physical sciences. Under the umbrella of life sciences, we offer qualifications in biochemistry, biotechnology, botany, food technology and zoology. Our undergraduate qualifications give access to Honours degrees, followed by Masters and Doctoral qualifications in the basic science disciplines as well as in energy studies, environmental management, physiology, conservation and informatics. Most of our Masters degrees are research-based but we do offer tutored Masters in Aquatic Health, Environmental Management and Nanoscience. We also offer multidisciplinary postgraduate qualifications and participate in joint degrees with international universities, for example the Masters programme in Sustainable Territorial Development (STeDe), an international Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree. Applications for Honours, Masters and Doctoral degrees at the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Science pen in April and close in Octobe of e ch y ar. Appl ications are online via www.uj.ac.za/apply. For more information contact us n 011 559 2374/3826 r web-scie ce@uj.ac.za. Applications for Honours, Masters and Doctoral degrees at the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Science open in April and close in October of each year. Appl ications are online via www.uj.ac.za/apply. For more information contact us on 011 559 2374/3826 or web-science@uj.ac.za. ADVANCE YOUR CAREER WITH FURTHER STUDIES IN THE SCIENCES LEADING SCIENTISTS. INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGISTS A career in the sciences allows young people to be at the forefront of charting the course for humanity, especially in thi era of the 4th industrial revolution. T Faculty of Science at the University of Johannesburg i uniquely positioned to shape you g minds into becomi g the leaders tha the country requires. as i energy studies, environmental management, physiology, conservation and informati s. Most of our Masters degrees are research-based but we do offer tutored Masters in Aquatic Health, Environmental Manag m nt nd Nanos ience. We also offer multidisciplinary po tgrad e qualificatio s and p rticipate i joint degrees with international universities, for example he Masters programme in Sustainable T rrit rial D velopment (STeDe), an international Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree.

uj.ac.za /science uj.ac.za /science

@ScienceUJ @ScienceUJ

@UJFacultyofScience @UJFacultyofScience



Kush Padia Be humble – you will never know everything and must remain teachable to grow both as a professional and as a person, irrespective of your title or accomplishments. – Kush Padia.

“Another memory I hold dear is a promise I made to my Mum before she passed away unexpectedly in 1998 – she had a lot of respect for chartered accountants and always wanted me to become one. I made her a promise that I would see the path through, no matter what, and registered as a CA(SA) in 2013 (15 years after the promise was made).” Today, he can honestly say that there is never a dull day and there is always something new or different going on which requires him to stretch himself daily. He has a wealth of knowledge in short-term insurance and retail transactional banking, serving in leadership roles in both sectors within FirstRand Limited. “At FirstRand Short-Term Insurance I’m privileged to work with respected leaders in both transactional banking and short-term insurance. We develop solutions to meet the changing needs of our clients and is incredibly exciting as I’m involved through the full product development cycle, and not only at the end when it comes time to book the journal entries,” he says. He has also served as the CFO of Brolink (Pty) Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Santam Limited, and held leadership roles in Mutual and Federal and EY. Kush, who served as academic trainee in auditing at the University of Johannesburg for the 2010 student body, says future CAs must remember that there will be both good and bad days and commitment to the journey is

He also serves as the youngest member of the Board at FirstRand Short-Term Insurance Limited, an achievement he credits to hard work and his determination to grow the business responsibly. Kush has his suspicions but no certainty around who nominated him for the 2021 SAICA Top-35- Under-35 competition but hopes it will add some credence to his achievements and position him as an authentic, high performing leader for future opportunities. “I believe it was the difference made to the people and companies I’ve had the privilege of serving throughout my career which landed me as a finalist. I’m a deeply invested and driven person in anything I commit to – be it the growth and development of people in my circle or driving the sustainable profitability of a company. I have demonstrable achievements in these disciplines which seem to have resonated with the judging panel. “I remain humbled to have been in a position to serve both the people and companies I’ve led over the years and I’m thankful for the recognition afforded to me through this process,” he says. Kush vividly remembers sitting with his grandfather, an accountant, as he drew up his T-accounts and balanced his cash against the receipts he kept for his purchases. He was a respected businessman and would often help other small business owners make sense of their numbers. “I wanted to be like my granddad; understanding numbers and the stories they tell,” he says.

Kush Padia understanding numbers and the stories they tell.

A man of many talents, Kush Padia is not only a leader in the banking and insurance sector, but also makes his mark in wedding photography and clay target shooting. Kush Padia, Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer at FirstRand Short-Term Insurance Limited, has been described by others as a driven, motivated and astute leader who gathers insights from the financials to be a catalyst for growth and business process improvements.


essential if you want to succeed.

while studying towards his degree. He worked in the fragrance department and learned how to sell – a skill which he still uses to this day. He also worked for a promotions company and often stood in the multimedia section of Makro promoting storage devices and rewritable CDs/DVDs. “What I learned from all this, is that there is no wasted experience – the role is what you make of it and you can always take away some learnings from anything you do. The experiences I’ve had have shaped me into the person I am today – I would not change anything as the trials and tribulations I’ve faced were set in front of me for a reason,” he says. Kush has also volunteered as a mentor on the SAICA Thuthuka Programme. The programme’s primary focus is the development of talented individuals from previously disadvantaged backgrounds into successful

CA(SA)s. “It is incredibly rewarding to be part of the growth and development of these remarkable

“It must be something which pulls you along and not a push from outside (parents/friends). The path is not easy, but the outcome is worth every sacrifice you make. Don’t be afraid to work hard as this is often what will set you apart from your peers and give you opportunities to accelerate your career growth. Putting my hand up to do the hard work landed me the best opportunities which positioned me for the next step in my career. Networking is a skill you must learn and must practise on a daily basis – it is to the world of business what oil is to an engine. Lastly, be humble – you will never know everything and must remain teachable to grow both as a professional and as a person, irrespective of your title or accomplishments.” Not many people know that Kush worked as a store assistant in Edgars, Stuttafords and Truworths

young leaders and to watch them grow into successful businesspeople.”

A man of many talents, Kush is also a keen photographer, an activity that presents a welcome creative outlet from his daily role as an accountant. A DSLR camera was one of his first purchases when he qualified as a CA. Following this passion, he attended a few courses and grew his skills to the point where he was being approached to shoot weddings, events and other projects. He is also a competitive clay target shooter, often medalling in the competitions held across the country. Kush Padia holds both a BCom (Accounting) and BCom Honours (Chartered Accounting) degree from UJ.

Jarred Noché Banks want collateral, a long business history, huge cash flow plans, flowchar ts, the kitchen sink– and this did not sit well with us. – Jarred Noché

Jarred’s best friend, Idan Jaan, visited him in Manhattan and told him about a business idea he was working on. At that point it was a peer-to-peer lending model. “Within that week I quit my job in the States. I’d sit in a Starbucks and research lending. At that time, we didn’t know anything about lending. We couldn’t tell you the first thing about credit, so we had to figure it out from scratch.” Two months later he returned to South Africa and started working with Idan on Fundrr. They founded the company in 2018, just before the Covid pandemic struck. Both poured their life savings into the

Fundrr co-founder and Chief Financial Officer Jarred Noché CA(SA) wears his 35-under-35 competition finalist batch with pride and views it as a great personal achievement. Jarred completed his degree at UJ and subsequently his articles at Grant Thornton in Johannesburg. He then moved to New York City where he worked in the financial services sector for two years but didn’t enjoy the work. An entrepreneur by nature, he always knew he wasn’t cut out for a nine to five job and that he would start his own business.

Fundrr co-founder and Chief Financial Officer Jarred Noché



“While many are successful we need to ensure that there are programmes or courses where SME owners or hopefuls can receive guidance about funding requirements and opportunities. This could be in the form of a business accelerator or incubator.” Fundrr distinguishes itself from other loan issuing entities by offering early repayment incentives that specify the loan amount, duration of repayment, and amount of repayment without any fees upfront. Jarred Noché holds a BCom and Honours in Accounting from UJ.

business and bootstrapped the business from the outset. “I realised that banks just don’t get small businesses. They’re strict, finicky and frugal with lending – because they fear you might not pay them back. They want collateral, a long business history, huge cash flow plans, flowcharts, the kitchen sink. This makes it difficult for SMEs to grow – and this did not sit well with us,” he says. Instead they use intelligent algorithms to assess businesses

Jarred particularly enjoys assisting his clients in growing their businesses while also playing a part in growing the South African economy. “SMEs really do form the backbone of our economy and to be a part of that is truly awesome,” he says. “The COVID-19 pandemic was the most stressful experience since we started Fundrr. With 90% of our clients not trading, it was a lot to deal with. That said, I have never seen such a quick recovery, and to witness SME owners’ agility and ability to pivot or do whatever it takes to get trading again was mind-blowing.

Tokelo Mulaudzi As the daughter of two teachers I was taught from a young age the contribution one can make to society through education, and by making the time to empower others. – Tokelo Mulaudzi

and business owners holistically and, therefore, are able to provide quick, easy and affordable capital to assist SMEs in South Africa. He views his biggest achievement to date to start a business from an idea and to progress to disbursing over R100 million in unsecured funding, based on the clients’ bank statements, lease agreements and supplier statements, within three years. During the pandemic lockdowns, they made offers to South African businesses across all industries provided they could show a 3-month revenue track record and a 3-month trading history. After many learnings from their mentors, Fundrr was able to raise capital in June 2019, which allowed them to build a strong, recognisable brand and grow the business significantly. In September 2020, Fundrr was acquired by Retail Capital, the biggest small business funder in the market. Fundrr has subsequently shown growth of more than 500% in less than a year. Fundrr has partnered with the likes of Telkom assisting them in the lending arm of their new financial services division and also won the SME Finance Company of the Year Award in the CorporateWire Prestige Awards 2020.

Tokelo Mulaudzi, Senior Manager Investor Relations for Momentum Metropolitan Holdings, says she met some amazing people during the judging process in the 2021 SAICA Top-35-Under-35 competition and will forever be grateful for the networks she has built. Having met the other finalists and learning what they achieved in their short careers, she considers herself fortunate to know some pretty awesome people, she says. Tokelo, who prefers to stay out of the limelight, says being a finalist in the competition caused her “to reflect on all that I am and have achieved. The attention was a little strange for someone who tends to stay out of the limelight but I’ve also felt like a bit of a celebrity during this time. Although my future is up to me, I believe the

competition will help open a few doors.” She believes her CA(SA) qualification sets her apart from most people.

“Our training was such that we gained skills that span beyond the typical finance space but at the same time make us experts within finance. Through my articles I developed a curiosity for how business works. I developed a confidence in my knowledge, reporting skills and ability to tell a story from the numbers. “My CA(SA) qualification gave me the skills needed to be effective in my role and opened up the many opportunities I’ve had on my journey to get where I am today. From working in sustainability reporting, to credit and integrated reporting I was given the


Early on in her career Tokelo

equity story and helping others understand and buy into it. I have a broad view of the business and am often party to conversations above my pay grade. I am in the unique position of not only working for a company but also being able to look at it from an outsider point of view and can therefore advise management on how to best manage these perceptions.” Looking back, she now knows she could have been more confident in the knowledge and unique point of view she brings. If time could be turned back, she would trust herself more and not let a lack of confidence get in the way of the ability to do more. “I have a lot to offer and should do just that instead of holding back because I think I am too young or too unqualified,” she says. There is always an opportunity to influence and positively contribute to society, says Tokelo. As the daughter of two teachers she was taught from a very young age the contribution one can make to society through education, and by making the time to empower others. From participating in after school mathematics lessons to being encouraged to start Maths24 classes, Tokelo has always lived by the principle of empowerment. This turned out to be a big driver in the career she chose and her interest in youth development and sustainability. Over the years she actively took part in various community programmes and learned that there always is an opportunity to help and influence others. “This is where my interest in sustainability and integrated

Mulaudzi knew she was never going to follow the ‘typical’ finance stream. She was most curious about how business and the world of finance works, being able to build the puzzle and help others understand how and why. reporting was born. I have been involved in the CSI and/ or sustainability programmes of the various companies I worked for. I am most proud of my role in Massmart’s Supplier Development Fund where I contributed as financial controller and fund committee member. I was responsible for the maintenance of the fund’s financials, the drafting of the annual financial statements, and assisting beneficiaries with cashflow management and forecasting.”

Tokelo Mulaudzi met some amazing people during the judging process in the 2021 SAICA Top-35-Under-35 competition. opportunity to take up these roles because my employers knew that I was capable of doing what was required and more.” Still, Tokelo does not fulfil a typical chartered accountant role today. “When I completed my articles, I knew that I was never going to follow the ‘typical’ finance stream,” she says. While she enjoyed working with numbers, she was most curious about how business and the world of finance works, being able to build the puzzle and help others understand how and why. “I loved the investor relations space because not only did I get to work with the numbers but I spent the majority of my time telling the

Through mentoring young students, particularly young

women, Tokelo stays grounded in the issues faced by young people, motivate them and give them exposure to a world they may not have had exposure to before. Tokelo Mulaudzi has a BCom Honours in Accounting from the University of Johannesburg.



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