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GSB best in Africa, again
Monday, 27 February 2017

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The UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) has been ranked as the best business school in Africa for the ninth consecutive year by the international education rating agency Eduniversal.

UCT’s GSB is one of only three business schools in Africa to be triple-crowned, with accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD).

Saskia Hickey, Market Intelligence and Strategy Manager at the GSB, says, “What makes the Eduniversal award so significant is that we are judged by our peers. The judges are deans and directors of some of the best business schools in the world, and to be recognised by them in this way is a real achievement.”

Professor Geoff Bick, Acting Director of the GSB, says, “The international recognition of the UCT GSB is very important to us and all our stakeholders, particularly our students, executive clients and alumni, to demonstrate the quality of the education they receive here.”


Engineering honour for O'Connor
Friday, 24 February 2017

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Emeritus Professor Cyril O’Connor of the Centre for Minerals Research, Department of Chemical Engineering, has been elected a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering (NAE).

The election recognises O’Connor’s “distinguished contributions” to engineering, particularly to the sustainable recovery of minerals from complex ores and for the global advancement of mineral processing technology. The NAE Class of 2017 will be inducted at the academy’s annual meeting in Washington in October.

O’Connor said that he was both honoured and humbled by the election.

“I am also greatly indebted to many colleagues at UCT who have contributed in many different ways to this recognition. I wish to share this honour with them since this election also recognises the outstanding research carried out over many years in the Centre for Minerals Research.”

Story Helen Swingler. Photo Michael Hammond.

Caption: Emer Prof Cyril O’Connor has been elected a Foreign Member of the US National Academy of Engineering.


Marat/Sade comes to the Baxter Theatre
Wednesday, 22 February 2017

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Jaco Bouwer directs a vibrant cast in the modern theatre classic Marat/Sade at the Baxter this February and March. The cast is led by Mncedisi Shabangu, Charlton George and Tinarie van Wyk Loots.

The play is a portrayal of class struggle and human suffering. This reworked version questions the possibility of revolution today.

“While researching the work I tried to understand aspects of the play and characters … This led me to thinking about resistance in South Africa, politics and the radical artists that participated and how many of them lost their minds or died in poverty,” says Bouwer.

Marat/Sade previews at the Baxter Flipside from 23 to 27 February, opens on 28 February and runs until 25 March at 19:30. There is an age restriction of 16 years. Tickets range from R100 to R160.

Book online through Computicket or contact Sharon on 021 680 3962 or Carmen on 021 680 3993 for discounts, charities or fundraisers, schools or block-bookings.

Story Chido Mbambe. Photo Oscar O’Ryan.

Caption: Mncedisi Shabangu as the Marquis de Sade in Marat/Sade.


Sizwe's hard yards will support young leaders
Monday, 20 February 2017

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After just six months in the saddle, UCT business science student Sizwe Malinga (19) aims to raise funds for youth leadership development when he puts tyre to tar in his first Cape Town Cycle Tour on 12 March 2017.

A Durban High School old boy from Umlazi, Malinga will be riding on behalf of the Make a Difference Leadership Foundation peloton.

Having started cycling only in October last year, Malinga has been training hard to be able to complete the full 109-km route and to contribute to the foundation’s fundraising target of R250 000.

Since 2003 the foundation has provided talented but under-resourced scholars with much-needed education and leadership development opportunities. It invests in the scholars’ academic support and wellness, providing life-skills and mentorship to support their leadership journey.

Make your pledge to support Sizwe’s fundraising efforts...

Photo Supplied.


Open education
Wednesday, 15 February 2017

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Choosing to share one’s teaching materials as an open educational resource (OER) is a personal choice that many lecturers choose not to make, despite the potential of sharing their work with a global audience.

According to Dr Glenda Cox, lecturer and researcher at UCT, “open educational resources are freely available teaching materials (ranging from entire courses to images and models) that can be accessed by anyone, usually online.” Through her research, Dr Cox analyses the barriers and enablers of OER adoption at three South African universities, including UCT, in order to better understand why South African lecturers adopt – or do not adopt – OER.

“I believe that sharing teaching materials gives lecturers, students and self-learners access to content that was previously behind closed university doors,” she says.

Dr Cox will be presenting some of her research at this year’s OE Global conference, which is being held 8–10 March in Cape Town.


The extinctions MOOC
Monday, 13 February 2017

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Extinctions: Past and Present, UCT’s latest free massive open online course (MOOC), explores the previous five mass extinctions on Earth.

Participants will learn how each event affected the existing lifeforms and how they have ultimately shaped our planet’s biodiversity.

Each week of the MOOC will include short lectures and discussions with palaeontologists and other scientists, many of whom are from UCT, about past extinctions and their research into the threats that modern ecosystems face.

In addition to past extinctions, the course looks at the human impact on Earth’s ecosystems and the rising threat of a sixth extinction.

The course will be led by acclaimed palaeobiologist Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan from UCT’s Department of Biological Sciences. A global expert on the microscopic structure of the bones of extinct and extant vertebrates, she is also the 2013 recipient of the World Academy of Science’s Sub-Saharan Prize for the Public Understanding and Popularization of Science.

Learn more about the MOOC, which starts on 20 March 2017.


UCT alumnus at opening of parliament
Friday, 10 February 2017

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Sub-lieutenant Masego Mosupye, a UCT chemical engineering alumnus and past subwarden of the Woolsack residence, was the South African Navy Guard Platoon Commander at the opening of parliament on Thursday, 9 February 2017, ahead of the State of the Nation address.

Mosupye is currently employed by the South African Navy as an engineering officer, dealing with corrosion on naval vessels. She is based at the Simon’s Town dockyard and teaches an engineering class with the Sea Cadets at Training Ship Woltemade on weekends.

Mosupye joined the Sea Cadets as an instructor early in 2012 while waiting to be considered for the University Reserve Training Project.

After completing her Military Training for Officers Part 1 (MTO1) at the South African Naval College in Gordon’s Bay, she was awarded the management trophy for her achievements on the course.

Caption: S Lt Masego Mosupye, a UCT chemical engineering graduate, at Training Ship Woltemade.


UCT's latest A-rated researcher
Monday, 30 January 2017

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Professor Peter Ryan, director of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, is the latest UCT researcher to receive the coveted A rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF).

 A-rated researchers are recognised by their peers – through the NRF rating system – as leading international scholars in their field.

Ryan’s research interests focus on the understanding and management of environmental issues that affect birds. This includes plastic pollution at sea, island restoration, the impact of fisheries on seabirds and the effects of infrastructure on land birds.

To date, Ryan has written more than 300 peer-reviewed papers and 12 popular books on birds and the wildlife of sub-Antarctic islands.

“It’s a great honour that reflects the hard work of the entire Fitz team, especially our students and postdocs, and is largely thanks to the generous support we receive as a Centre of Excellence from the Department of Science and Technology through the National Research Foundation,” says Ryan.

His rating brings UCT’s total number of A-rated researchers to 40, the highest in South Africa.


Summer at the world's top universities
Thursday, 19 January 2017

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UCT, as a member of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), is pleased to offer its students an exciting opportunity to complete an intensive short course at one of 11 of the world’s leading research-intensive universities.

IARU universities are the University of California, the National University of Singapore, the Australian National University, the University of Copenhagen, the University of Cambridge, the University of Cape Town, the University of Tokyo, the University of Oxford, Peking University, Yale University and ETH Zurich.

The IARU Global Summer Programme offers students the unique opportunity to come together with their international peers, learn and discuss critical issues from a global perspective.

Courses run between June and September 2017. The programme is open to all students currently enrolled at UCT. Scholarships will be made available for succesful students. Applications close 17 March 2017.

Apply for the IARU Global Summer Programme...


UCT's MOOCs rank 2nd internationally
Monday, 9 January 2017

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UCT ranked second globally for its innovative MOOCs. The university came in behind the Santa Fe Institute and placed above the likes of Harvard and Yale.

The results were presented in a Class Central analysis, which considered 6 850 courses from over 700 universities.

Out of the MOOCs introduced in 2016, UCT’s course “Becoming a changemaker: Introduction to Social Innovation” ranked 6th.

This course is facilitated by the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, which is under the direction of Dr François Bonnici at UCT’s Graduate School of Business.

Created in conjunction with the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching (CILT) and RLabs (a local movement empowering youth through technology), the course is aimed at anyone who wants to make a difference in society but doesn’t know where to start.

Learn more about “Becoming a changemaker”...

Story Kate-Lyn Moore.


Ofentse Moshwetsi wins jazz prize
Monday, 19 December 2016

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First-year saxophone student Ofentse Moshwetsi is this year’s winner of the Paul Bothner Jazz Prize, which is valued at R10 000.

The annual prize goes to the most impressive achiever in the jazz section at UCT’s South African College of Music.

Moshwetsi says that music has been an integral part of his personal growth and well-being.

“I’ve always done my best, but the news came as a shock. I still cannot believe it,” he says. “As fantastic as it feels to have won the prize, it also brings with it a lot more responsibility and future expectations from myself and my family.”

Moshwetsi aspires to complete his BMus degree and to gain experience in the music industry.

“I am also planning to continue my involvement in the community project led by my uncle, Arcs Moshwetsi, to share my knowledge with the people from all walks of life especially the youth.”

Story Chido Mbambe. Photo Michael Hammond.

Caption: Ofentse Moshwetsi playing his alto sax at the VC’s Concert in August this year.


Stokvel platform wins entrepreneurship award
Tuesday, 13 December 2016

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Stokvella, represented by Sebastian Daniels, won the Best Student Business Idea at the Premier’s Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards (PERA) at the end of November.

Approximately 11 million South Africans participate in stokvels, estimated to be worth R45 billion. Stokvella is a mobile platform that allows stokvel members to track and rate their savings.

“By putting trust back into stokvels, Stokvella aims to increase financial security, stability and education,” said the group in their pitch.

Daniels, a business science student, says, “We never thought of the process as a competition but rather as a way to build a business that could make the difference in South Africa that we wanted to see.”

A panel of ten judges scored this year’s finalists on a set of criteria including growth, job creation, innovation, industry relevance, sustainability, creativity and socio-economic impact.

Premier Helen Zille said: “Through PERA, we acknowledge and celebrate the important role entrepreneurs play in creating opportunities in our economy for others to uplift themselves.”

Caption: Tuskan Owen-Thomas and Sebastian Daniels demonstrate how Stokvella works at the networking session before the idea auction at the Labia last year. Photo Bev Meldrum.


UCT scoops top honours at MACE Awards
Friday, 9 December 2016

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UCT walked away with top honours at the recent Marketing, Advancement and Communication in Education (MACE) gala dinner held in Durbanville.

The dinner was the highlight of the two-day MACE conference, which was attended by marketers and communicators from national higher and further education institutions.

UCT received 16 Awards of Merit, four of which were awarded to the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED) and 12 to the Communication and Marketing Department (CMD). The university also received a Gold Award of Excellence in the media division for the coverage of the June 2016 graduation season.

“We are extremely proud that the work of the CMD team has been recognised among our peers,” said Kylie Hatton, Deputy Director of CMD. “While it has been a challenging and hard-working year for the team, we have produced some exceptional work of which we can be proud.”

These awards are given annually to higher education practitioners in recognition of excellence in the communication and development fields.

Story Chido Mbambe. Photo Supplied.

Caption: Elijah Moholola, head of UCT’s media liaison team, represented the university.


Rebuilding UCT
Wednesday, 7 December 2016

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Chris Briers, Director of Capital Works and Projects, has left a lasting impact on UCT.

Beginning in maintenance 23 years and one month ago, Briers has worked with and later lead teams that completed major building projects at UCT.

He oversaw the upper campus project, which included the construction of buildings such as Steve Biko, Chemical Engineering and New Engineering. He was also involved in the Graduate School of Business, the School of Economics and the re-alignment of middle campus.

“It’s been a wonderful ride. There has been massive development, not only of infrastructure of UCT, but also in the people,” said Briers to a room of friends and colleagues.

André Theys, Executive Director of Properties and Services, said, “In the years I’ve served with Chris, I have trusted him implicitly. You will leave a void that will be very hard to fill.”

Story Kate-Lyn Moore. Photo Michael Hammond.

Caption: Chris Briers (left) and André Theys at the farewell event at the Irma Stern Museum.


Symposium to focus on lawman Moseneke
Monday, 5 December 2016

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UCT and Wits University will jointly host a symposium in Cape Town on 7 December that focuses on the life and work of retired Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke.

Moseneke, one of the country’s most revered legal minds, served as Deputy Chief Justice under justices Pius Langa, Sandile Ngcobo and Mogoeng Mogoeng. This came after years spent in the anti-apartheid trenches with the Pan-Africanist Congress, including a decade imprisoned on Robben Island.

He received an honorary doctorate of laws from UCT in 2015.

Three core areas of Moseneke’s life and work will underpin the discussion:

  • Doctrinal Transformation? Constitutional Adjudication and the State of the Law
  • ‘Freedom Fighters and Revolutionaries’? Law, Activism and Justice
  • Drawing the Line: Separation of Powers, the Democratic will and Judicial Public Engagement.

Contact Abigail Calata for more information about the symposium.

Story Yusuf Omar. Photo Michael Hammond.


Top global scholar for UCT
Thursday, 1 December 2016

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Professor Carlos Lopes will be joining the Faculty of Commerce as a visiting professor with the goal of assisting UCT’s Graduate School of Development and Policy Practice (GSDPP) to become Africa’s magnet for training public sector leadership.

The announcement of the appointment was made at the school’s fifth birthday celebrations on 30 November.

Dean of Commerce, Professor Ingrid Woolard, said: “Dr Lopes is a champion of Africa’s structural transformation. He will be instrumental in helping the faculty contribute towards UCT’s research vision of being the best in Africa and for Africa.”

Professor Alan Hirsch, Director of the GSDPP, added: “He is one of Africa’s leading intellectuals and most recently his work as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa had a major impact on the thinking about economic development.”

He will be sharing his time with a Visiting Fellowship with Oxford Martin School, University of Oxford, and serving on the Global Commission on Economy and Climate and the Steering group helping the African Union reform.


Annual general meetings for alumni
Tuesday, 29 November 2016

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Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price has invited all UCT alumni to the annual general meetings of Convocation and the Alumni Association on 15 December 2016. The meetings will be held in Lecture Theatre 2, Kramer Law Building, middle campus.

Refreshments will be served at 17:00, followed by the AGM of Convocation at 17:30 and the AGM of the Alumni Association directly thereafter.

Notices of motion for either AGM must be submitted in writing to the Secretary of Convocation, Royston Pillay, by no later than Thursday, 1 December 2016.

As the Development and Alumni Department (DAD) have some alumni whose contact details are not known to the department, alumni are asked to forward this invitation to their fellow alumni − or bring them along to the event.

For catering purposes, kindly RSVP by email to Ms Soraya de Villiers no later than Friday, 9 December 2016.


Humboldt fellowship for Jethro
Thursday, 24 November 2016

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Dr Duane Jethro, a historical studies postdoctoral fellow based in the Archive and Public Culture Research Initiative, has been awarded a Georg Forster Research Fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Through prestigious fellowships like this, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation fosters collaboration and cooperation between excellent scientists from Germany and abroad.

Dr Jethro will be working with Professor Sharon Macdonald at the Centre for Anthropological Research on Museums and Heritage (CARMaH) at the Humboldt University of Berlin. Professor Macdonald is a leading scholar of museums and heritage studies, and is the author of, among others, Memorylands: Memory and Identity in Europe Today and Behind the Scenes at the Science Museum.

Starting in March 2017, Dr Jethro’s two-year project, titled Aesthetics and Difference: Heritage, Social Diversity and Change in Berlin, will look at the shifting aesthetic appeal of heritage formations in a context of diversity and urban change.


Shaping the next generation of scientists
Monday, 21 November 2016

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Six UCT postgraduate researchers spent part of 2016 in Switzerland as part of a Next Generation Scientists programme.

Aimed at increasing the volume of drug discovery and clinic research in emerging countries, this research internship is organised by Novartis and the University of Basel.

Emerging researchers spend time on a research project (guided by Novartis mentors) as well as working through an intensive applied communication and leadership skills curriculum.

One master’s and five PhD students – Lloyd Tanner, Maxwell Chirehwa, Mine de Kock, Mamana Mbiyavanga, Brandon Murugan and Paul Njaria – joined 14 students from 14 different universities and 13 countries for the programme. 

To see what they got up to, and how they found the experience, watch the highlights video...

Caption: Next Generation 2016 fellows: (from left) Lloyd Tanner, South Africa; James Owour, Kenya; Dr Ana Catalina Alvarez, Mexico, and Dr Raul Chiquiyauri, Peru.


Strandfontein facility for social innovation MOOC
Thursday, 17 November 2016

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The Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the UCT Graduate School of Business has teamed up with social enterprise organisation Reconstructed Living Labs (RLabs).

They are running a free online course, Becoming a Changemaker: Introduction to Social Innovation, for people who want to become social entrepreneurs in their communities.

The course is presented online but, unlike most online programmes, it also has a classroom-based facility in Strandfontein, Cape Town.

“The Strandfontein venue is really a place where people can come to connect, to brainstorm ideas and do the course online,” says Marlon Parker, founder of RLabs and one of the convenors of the course.

Dr François Bonnici, Director of the Bertha Centre, says this format lessens the barrier of access as the content will be available offline and will be contextualised by local facilitators.

More of these cafés/campuses (part of their RLabsU initiative) are planned from Atlantis to Hanover Park.

Caption: Dr Warren Nilsson, Dr François Bonnici and Marlon Parker. Photo Supplied.


Freedom of the City for Ndungane
Wednesday, 16 November 2016

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Archbishop Emeritus Njongonkulu Ndungane, who served as chair of the UCT Council from 2008 to 2016, was awarded the Freedom of the City on 11 November in recognition of his service to Cape Town.

Ordained as a deacon at St George’s Cathedral, Ndungane has a deep-seated connection to the Mother City. His first posting as a priest was to St Mark’s Church in Athlone. After studying at King’s College, London, he returned to a post at St Nicholas Church in Elsies River.

He ended his priestly career as Archbishop of the Anglian Church of Southern Africa, Cape Town. One of his first acts as Archbishop was to lead a Pilgrimage of Pain and Hope to Robben Island, which has become a beacon of hope for people around the world.

During a long and illustrious career, Ndungane has had a significant impact on the lives of people in Africa, and particularly in Cape Town.

Photo Bruce Sutherland, City of Cape Town.


Bathabile Mpofu a finalist in SA’s Small Business Awards
Friday, 11 November 2016

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The National Small Business Chamber (NSBC) recently announced South Africa’s Top 20 Small Business and Entrepreneurship Award winners and the finalists of the 2016 South African Small Business Awards.

Bathabile Mpofu, an MBA student at the UCT Graduate School of Business, was one of these finalists.

She won the 2016 Total Startupper of the Year competition for her educational creation, ChemStart. The science kit, which is put together by her company, Nkazimulo Applied Sciences, offers a fun experiment per week for the whole year for high school learners.

Mpofu, who is on a mission to improve the quality of science education, was also recently crowned Mompreneur of the Year 2016.

Story Chido Mbambe. Photo Je’nine May.

Caption: MBA student, Bathabile Mpofu, was one of the winners of South Africa’s Top 20 Small Business and Entrepreneurship Award.


Benguela: Opportunity, Challenge and Change
Monday, 7 November 2016

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UCT’s Marine Research Institute is hosting the Benguela 2016 symposium from 15 to 18 November.

Since the 1996 symposium, there have been many successful research activities in the Benguela system, with associated meetings and conferences. Many of these have been very focused in their scope, while others have been presented at conferences outside the region or published across a wide variety of journals.

The 2016 symposium thus aims to provide a platform for these results to be brought home to the region and showcased alongside those from local researchers.

Bringing together 169 people from 14 countries, the scientific programme will focus on interdisciplinary, synthetic presentations.

Participation at the symposium is open to researchers and students who are active in the region and from further afield.

Registration is still open...

Photo Global Environment Facility via flickr.

Caption: The cold Benguela current, shared with South Africa and Angola, laps the shores of Namibia, sustaining the rich marine ecosystem.


Award-winning show at the Baxter
Wednesday, 2 November 2016

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The Baxter Theatre welcomes Dead Yellow Sands, the award-winning one-person show written and performed by Graham Weir.

With sold-out shows at this year’s National Arts Festival, this minimalistic piece uses simple lighting design to help tell the story of lives lived.

“With this work I really wanted to examine the essence of theatre,” explains Weir. “I wanted one of the characters to be lit so that he was like a floating head, another character (a blind man) to be lit so that the audience experienced the blindness he talked about, and so on.”

Dead Yellow Sands will run from 1 to 26 November at 20:15 with matinees on Saturdays at 16:00.

An age restriction of 12 years applies. Parental guidance is advised.

Book online through Computicket...

Story Kate-Lyn Moore. Photo Jesse Kramer.

Caption: Graham Weir stars in the one-person show Dead Yellow Sands at the Baxter Theatre.


UCT welcomes R10 million funding by Absa
Tuesday, 1 November 2016

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The University of Cape Town welcomes a generous contribution of R10 million to the university’s scholarship programme by financial services provider Absa.

Having appealed to the corporate sector to consider complementing efforts to tackle higher education funding, Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price commended Absa for heeding the call and thanked them for their generosity.

The full amount received from Absa will be channelled towards funding for missing-middle students – those students whose family income is above the R122 000 per annum National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) threshold, but below R600 000.

The R10 million scholarship is part of an additional R57 million that was allocated by Absa towards the 2016 university tuition fees for 1 450 students in need of financial aid across all South African universities. The bank is set to invest R210 million in 2017 to cover 3 000 university students across Africa.

Photo Michael Hammond.


What is a mind?
Friday, 28 October 2016

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What is a mind? is a free online course hosted by Professor Mark Solms from the Department of Neuropsychology. The six-week course is being offered again this year and starts on Monday, 31 October.

The course brings together perspectives from a range of disciplines to explore four specific aspects of the mind: subjectivity, intentionality, consciousness and agency. Together, these aspects help students to think about the fundamental questions: What is it to be a mind? and Why do we have a mind?

The course has garnered positive student reviews, with a highlight being Professor Solms’ weekly video responses to students’ questions. A team of mentors is also on hand to respond to queries in the course’s online discussion spaces, which tend to encourage fascinating conversations and insights.

Enrolment is open throughout the duration of the course.

Read the reviews... | Enrol for What is a mind?...


Prestigious fellowship for Gumedze
Tuesday, 25 October 2016

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Dr Freedom Gumedze of the Department of Statistical Sciences has been awarded a Newton Advanced Fellowship from the Royal Society, in partnership with the Academy of Medical Sciences, for the period 2016–2019.

The fellowship gives established international researchers an opportunity to develop the strengths and capabilities of their research groups through collaboration with research partners in the UK.

Gumedze will collaborate with Professor Jane Hutton at the University of Warwick on a project titled “Robust statistical methods and statistical diagnostic techniques for multivariate longitudinal and survival data in health research”.

The two research groups will join forces to extend statistical methods for the analysis of health studies that follow patients over time.

The ultimate aim is to ensure a long-term partnership that will benefit the research of Dr Gumedze and his postgraduate students at UCT, and his colleagues at Warwick and Cambridge.

Photo Supplied.


Dr Gumedze is a member of the Next Generation Professoriate.


Counselling available to UCT staff
Friday, 21 October 2016

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UCT has made a toll-free counselling line available to its employees through the Organisational Health and Wellness office in the Human Resources Department.

Employees and their immediate family members (spouses and minor children) can access short-term counselling through either the on-site counsellor or via the Independent Counselling and Advisory Service (ICAS), an external service that offers up to four sessions per year.

The toll-free number is 0801 113 945. Staff can also dial *134*905# for a call back.

Organisational Health also offers staff other support, including a once-off emotional impact session that can be arranged for groups with ICAS, or a group trauma debriefing or emotional impact session facilitated by Organisational Health. Both sessions accept a maximum of 15 people per group.

For more information, contact Ashley Taylor (ext 2154) or Blanche Claasen-Hoskins (ext 5685).

Visit the Human Resources website...

Story Yusuf Omar.


Top educator award for Blockman
Monday, 17 October 2016

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Professor Marc Blockman has won the South African Society for Basic and Clinical Pharmacology Educator Award for 2016, presented at the recent All Africa Congress of Pharmacology and Pharmacy gala dinner.

Blockman has been involved in undergraduate and postgraduate pharmacology education at the university for over 20 years. He also trains registrars at UCT and at the universities of Stellenbosch and the Western Cape.

He is a former winner of UCT’s prestigious Distinguished Teacher Award.

He has also played a key role in the development of the training programme for medical doctors to specialise as clinical pharmacologists. UCT was the first institution in South Africa that offered an MMed in clinical pharmacology.

He has broad experience as a clinician and policy maker, particularly as chair of the national Essential Drug List committee and UCT’s Human Research Ethics Committee.

Caption: Prof Marc Blockman, winner of the South African Society for Basic and Clinical Pharmacology Educator Award for 2016. Photo Michael Hammond.


New life and new beginnings
Friday, 14 October 2016

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Jill Trappler’s latest exhibition, Unfolding into Spring, is on show at the Irma Stern Museum from 8 to 29 October.

The exhibition pulls from two bodies of work, The Valley of the Red Gods and Weaving and Unwoven, drawing on painting as a kind of initiation ceremony and new beginning.

As a champion of non-representational art, Trappler works with a variety of media, experimenting with 2D surfaces, paint and colour.

“I have included six lithographs and nine mixed-media pieces made from bark cloth,” she explains.

“The journey takes us through some of the rituals experienced by people and animals as we emerge from hibernation, deep within the earth or with[in] ourselves and wake into the warmth of spring; new life, new beginnings.”

Trappler will conduct two walkabouts on 15 and 20 October at 11:00.

Story Kate-Lyn Moore. Photo Supplied.

Caption: Transpire 1 (2016), acrylic on canvas.


UCT psychologist elected to SAYAS
Wednesday, 12 October 2016

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Dr Eugene Davids is one of ten young scientists from across South Africa who were elected to become members of SAYAS (South African Young Academy of Science) in 2016.

Davids, from the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, is a post-doctoral research fellow in the Adolescent Health Research Unit (AHRU) in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

He holds a master’s and doctoral degree in child and family studies from the University of the Western Cape. His research interest is in parenting style, particularly the impact of parenting style on young people’s decision-making about health.

Davids’ research is important in South Africa, where parenting, families and communities have been traumatised and fractured for a range of historical, economic and socio-political reasons.

Caption: Dr Eugene Davids will attend the inaugural SAYAS ceremony, which takes place in Pretoria on 12 October 2016. Photo Supplied.


Film festival marks World Mental Health Day
Monday, 10 October 2016

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Monday, 10 October, marks World Mental Health Day. UCT’s Alan J Flisher Centre for Public Mental Health (Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health) will host the #DignityInMind Documentary Film Festival to commemorate this event.

The festival will be held at the Labia Theatre on Orange and will feature the Cape Town premiere of Doc-U-Mentally, a documentary that looks at the physical and mental challenges of five doctors on a 30-hour shift at Ngwelezane Hospital in Empangeni, KwaZulu-Natal.

Other documentaries to be screened include Voices from the Edge, Caring for Mothers and Normal.

The film festival aims to educate and empower Capetonians to speak up about mental health. It is part of the #DignityInMind campaign, which is being spearheaded by the Alan J Flisher Centre.

Read the full programme...

Story Helen Swingler. Photo Supplied.


Health sciences march for ‘free, decolonial education’
Friday, 7 October 2016

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Members of UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences, including students; the dean, Professor Bongani Mayosi; and the rest of the deanery, marched to the Bremner building on 6 October. The march culminated in the presentation of their statement related to the ongoing protests to Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price. Read the statement…

Price accepted the statement and spent some time discussing it with the gathered students.

He said that he and those assembled were “on the same page” regarding most of the issues, and pledged to discuss the finer points with a delegation from the faculty.

Story Yusuf Omar. Photo Michael Hammond.


UCT places joint third at intervarsity
Wednesday, 5 October 2016

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UCT placed joint third at the intervarsity sports extravaganza that was held at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) over the last weekend in September.

Competing against athletes representing UWC, the Cape Peninsula of Technology (CPUT) and Stellenbosch University (Maties), UCT faced stiff competition and managed to tie with Maties on 43 points.

UCT won one of the cricket events and the hockey. They placed second for basketball, chess and table tennis. The rugby and swimming teams placed third and the footballers finished fourth.

UWC were the overall winners of the competition with a total of 61 points. They won one of the cricket events, chess, cross-country and rugby. CPUT scooped second position with 54 points, having won basketball, football and table tennis.

Universities are awarded 10 points for a win, 5 for second place, 3 for third place and 2 for fourth place.

Story Yusuf Omar. Photo Myolisi Gophe.

Caption: UCT’s cricketers shone, claiming first place in their competition.


Sixth SEMC international conference
Tuesday, 27 September 2016

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The sixth International Conference on Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation (SEMC) was hosted by UCT from 5 to 7 September 2016.

Conference founder and chair, Professor Alphose Zingoni of the Department of Engineering & the Built Environment, said that the conferences bring together academics, researchers and practitioners to review recent achievements, share the latest developments and address the challenges of both the present and the future.

Over 350 papers were presented in the 57 sessions of the conference, with authors representing some 60 countries.

A highlight was the presentation of SEMC 2016 Young Researcher Awards for the best three papers by principal authors under the age of 35.

Caption: From left: Prof Alphose Zingoni (conference chair) with the recipients of the SEMC 2016 Young Researcher Awards: Mr Ou Zhao (Imperial College London), Ms Laura Marimon Giovannetti (University of Southampton) and Mr Matthias Labusch (University of Duisburg-Essen). Photo Supplied.


Community leaders for orthopaedic injury research day
Thursday, 22 September 2016

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The Orthopaedic Research Unit will host several experts and community leaders in trauma and sports science at their second symposium on 30 September 2016.

The theme of this symposium is Orthopaedic Research for You (OR4U).

The focus is to generate discussion on preventing and treating sports injuries and injuries caused by violence and major trauma, which will result in collaborative projects that are relevant and useful to our community.

Community invitees include Don Pinnock (gang violence in Cape Town), Gary Kirsten (grassroots cricket) and Emeritus Professor Tim Noakes (insulin and sports injuries).

The symposium will be held in the Tafelberg venue at Groote Schuur Hospital from 08:00 to 16:00.

The event will be live-streamed for those unable to attend.

Find out more about the OR4U symposium... | Download the programme... | RSVP...


Decolonial Alternatives Project Space
Wednesday, 14 September 2016

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A former burial ground for black men, women and children who were taken into slavery on the Rustenburg slave plantation during the early colonial period will be developed into a unique heritage site at UCT.

The first phase of the heritage site is due to open on National Emancipation Day, 1 December 2016, with an academic and community panel discussion, and a spiritual ceremony in remembrance of the deceased who were buried there.

The site, which lies on what is now a small lawn adjacent to the School of Economics on middle campus, will house a new open-air public classroom, a social space, as well as a permanent exhibition and an ongoing display of critical research from across the university.

Read more about the Decolonial Alternatives Project Space...

Caption Sadiq Toffa, winner of the design competition to commemorate the slaves buried at the Rustenburg farm – now UCT’s middle campus – explains the different phases of his winning proposal. Photo Michael Hammond.


Education for all
Monday, 12 September 2016

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Millions of children around the world are excluded from access to education because of a disability.

Education for All: Disability, Diversity and Inclusion is a free massive open online course (MOOC) that was developed by the Disability Studies Programme in UCT’s Department of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences.

It focuses on the importance of inclusive education, which involves addressing barriers to learning and participation, and transforming school communities.

The course aims to help parents, educators and occupational and allied therapists to tackle inclusion in a practical way and looks at the background of disability and strategies for creating an enabling environment in both schools and communities, particularly those in low-resourced environments.

The Department of Basic Education has voiced its support for the course saying it, “values such an open online training course, which showcases best practice in South Africa”.

Learn more about the Education for All MOOC, which starts on 19 September 2016.


Universities get behind food drive
Wednesday, 7 September 2016

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FoodBank SA is an NGO that collects non-perishable food and other products from wholesalers and retailers and redistributes it to beneficiary NGOs.

The Division of Human Nutrition is organising a food drive via FoodBank SA, together with the University of Stellenbosch and the University of the Western Cape, in order to create an environment of social responsiveness and help the many people who go hungry on a daily basis.

Non-perishable food items can be donated at the following locations on campus:

Faculty of Health Sciences: entrance to anatomy building and Barnard Fuller cafeteria

Middle campus: entrance to Bremner building

Groote Schuur Hospital (Old main building): entrance 2 behind the turn styles
Suggested donations:

  • rice, maize meal, samp, pasta, canned fruit and vegetables
  • dried beans, lentils, tinned fish, soya mince, milk powder, peanut butter
  • cooking oil, salt, sugar, coffee, spices, tea, jelly
  • deodorants, detergents, sanitary towels

Please contact Megan Blacker on 021 650 5319 or Nasreen Jaffer on 021 650 5400 for enquiries.


New association to lobby for needs of international students
Monday, 5 September 2016

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A new association that will lobby for the needs of the country’s international students was formed recently. The development follows the UCT Students’ Representative Council’s recent International Students’ Conference in Cape Town.

The International Students’ Association of South Africa is made up of representatives from the country’s universities. The association’s aim is to get universities to cooperate on tackling issues that affect their international students. Among these are scholarships, visas and xenophobia, said Chanda Chungu, deputy speaker of UCT’s student parliament and president of the new association.

“Additionally, we agreed to recommend that the South Africa Union of Students (SAUS) create a portfolio to deal specifically with international student matters.”

The event was sponsored by the Vice–Chancellor’s discretionary fund and was attended by the minister of home affairs, Malusi Gigaba, and members of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.

Photo Gideon Mduma.

Caption: Attendees of the International Students’ Conference included (from left) Gloria Chikaonda, (UCT SRC chairperson of international students), Rorisang Moseli (current UCT SRC president), VC Dr Max Price and Chanda Chungu (deputy speaker of UCT’s student parliament and president of the International Students’ Association of South Africa).


Virtual interview room for students
Wednesday, 31 August 2016

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UCT Careers Service, which offers students expert careers advice, has launched its new virtual interview room in partnership with technology company Cisco.

The facility will help UCT students connect with prospective employers in a virtual space. With the rise of digital communications, it has become increasingly important to have access to technology when job searching.

“Even though campus is Wi-Fi enabled, no room exists to book a space for a virtual job interview,” said graduate recruitment coordinator Hisham Hoosain, who helped set up the facility. “This room stemmed from the need of students who wanted a virtual room, and employers who use Webex software for conferencing.”

David Casey, the director of Careers Service, saw an opportunity and approached Cisco, who owns the Webex video-conferencing software. The company agreed to partner with UCT by sponsoring the licence.

The room is available to all registered students and is housed in the Careers Service offices on upper campus.

Photo Michael Hammond.
Caption A student uses the new virtual interview room in the Careers Service offices.


Discovering Homo naledi
Monday, 29 August 2016

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Found deep in the Rising Star cave in the Cradle of Humankind in September 2013, Homo naledi is the newest branch on the human family tree. Two short periods of excavation by an all-female team of palaeontologists led to the recovery of more than 1 500 individual remains of unprecedented quality and completeness.

Dr Marina Elliott was one of these six ‘underground astronauts’. Originally from Calgary, Canada, Elliott is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at Wits. She has continued to conduct research on the Homo naledi material as well as undertaking further explorations and excavations in the Cradle of Humankind.

In this lecture, Dr Elliott will share her experience of the Rising Star expedition and describe what the research to date has revealed about the biology and behaviour of Homo naledi.

Thursday, 8 September, 18:00–19:00, LT3 Kramer Building, middle campus

R80 (full fee), R40 (staff), R20 (students)

021 650 2888 / ems@uct.ac.za

Photo Flickr / GCIS. Homo naledi fossil discovered in the Rising Star cave.


Engaging with student leadership
Friday, 26 August 2016

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On Thursday night, 25 August 2016, Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price and Professor Anwar Mall met with student leaders from residence house committees, faculty council and student parliament at Glenara, the Vice-Chancellor’s official residence.

The meeting is the first in a series of events scheduled to run until the end of September in order to foster relationships between the university’s executive and student leadership.

Future events will include meetings with student leaders of the various UCT sporting codes, student societies and organisations, and faculty representatives.

Photo Je’nine May.

Caption Back row from left: George Cambanis (Varietas), Ndodzo Mawela (Leo Marquard Hall), Tabure Bogopa (Leo Marquard Hall), Sankeshan Moodley (University House), Mashihle Thobejane (Groote Schuur Residence), Geoffrey Forbes (Smuts Hall)
Front row from left: Spokazi Tati (Forest Hill), Nozipho Makhathini (Fuller Hall), VC Dr Max Price, Onkabetse Masobe (Fuller Hall), Winford Collings (Varietas), Nivita Hariparsad (The Woolsack)


African bird may be nature’s evil stepdad
Wednesday, 24 August 2016

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In a study published yesterday in Biology Letters, UCT alumnus Martha Nelson-Flower uncovers the nepotism apparent in the relationships between male southern pied babblers.

Subordinate male birds spend less time in a breeding group if they are unrelated to the dominant male bird, so it seems that stepfathers favour their biological sons. Subordinate male birds are essentially pushed out of the group by their stepdads or, in some cases, their brothers-in-law.

The preferential treatment seen in the male birds was not observed among the females.

“The research is some of the first to show that the sex of both dominant and subordinate birds, and the genetic relationship between them, has a significant impact on their family groups and cooperative breeding behaviour,” said Nelson-Flower, who is currently completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia’s faculty of forestry.

To read the full study, Nepotism and subordinate tenure in a cooperative breeder, click here.

Photo Supplied.

Caption The southern pied babbler is found in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe.


UCT students are runners-up at GradHack
Tuesday, 23 August 2016

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Gobble, a mobile app that allows the user to create a shopping list by monitoring the food items that they have bought, came second in the annual GradHack hosted by Discovery.

The app was developed by UCT final-year electrical and computer engineering students Michael Evans, Wayne Huang and Kuziwa Sachikonye. Although it was built overnight, the app beat 30 other teams chosen from a total pool of 200 entries.

Over time, the algorithm behind the app suggests better food alternatives by scanning nutritional information from barcodes on food items. When the user is done shopping, the app gives a visual breakdown of their consumption. They can then customise their data as they build healthier diets.

Gobble also makes recipe suggestions, allowing the user to populate their next shopping list based on their favourite recipes.

Photo Supplied.

Caption Final-year electrical and computer engineering students Wayne Huang, Michael Evans and Kuziwa Sachikonye want to enable South Africans to make wiser food choices.


Living Planet award for river expert
Friday, 19 August 2016

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Dr Jackie King, an international river-flow expert and retired UCT academic, has won the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa’s (WWF-SA) Living Planet Award 2016.

The prestigious award was conferred at WWF-SA’s fourth Living Planet Conference in Johannesburg where she was a keynote speaker. As a leading aquatic ecologist in South Africa, King was praised for “inspiring several generations of scientists, planners and legislators in South Africa and around the world”.

She was a principal research officer in UCT’s former Freshwater Research Unit. Over the past four decades, she has been part of and has led scientific teams working on the river-flow management of many of the world’s major river systems, among them the Nile, Mekong, Indus and Okavango.

King was recognised for her leading role in ensuring that aquatic ecological research led to the sustainable development and management of river systems and, in particular, her innovative and practical approaches, which gave effect to improved water management in the real world.

Photo World Wide Fund for Nature.


Celebrating our young classical musicians
Wednesday, 10 August 2016

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Twelve talented young classical music instrumentalists and singers who successfully auditioned to play at the 45th Western Cape Youth Music Festival will perform at the Artscape Theatre on Friday, 19 August at 19:30.

Presented by Artscape and the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra in collaboration with the Distell Foundation, this prestigious annual event offers accomplished musicians the opportunity of playing with a symphony orchestra on a professional concert stage.

Brandon Phillips will conduct a varied and exciting programme. The concert master is Patrick Goodwin.

Tickets cost R80. Pensioners, students and scholars pay R40. Block bookings of 10 or more receive a 10 percent discount.

Bookings: Artscape Dial-a-Seat (021 421 7695), Computicket online, Computicket outlets, or call Computicket (0861 915 8000).

For more information contact Thandi Mlungwana on 021 410 9209 or Debbie Damons on 021 410 9915.

Photo Jeffrey Abrahams.

Caption The UCT students performing in this year’s Youth Music Festival at the Artscape Theatre: Ntando Ngcume (22), baritone; Abongile Fumba (26), mezzo soprano; Ongama Mhlontlo (20), tenor; LeOui Rendsburg* (22), soprano; Kevin (Gyu-Min) Kim (21), piano; Amber De Decker (16), violin (still at school); and Nombulelo Yende (25), soprano.

*Gill LeOui has changed her name for performance purposes.


NRF A2 rating for Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan
Friday, 5 August 2016

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Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan, a palaeobiologist and head of UCT’s Department of Biological Sciences, has been awarded a prestigious A2 rating by the National Research Foundation.

One aspect of her research involves the close study of the micro structure of dinosaur bones. She does this by embedding the fossils in resin and slicing off sections half the thickness of a human hair before examining the samples under a microscope.

What she found was that rather like trees, dinosaur bones contain ‘growth rings’ that can be used to assess the animal’s age. Using this methodology, Chinsamy-Turan was the first person to deduce growth curves for dinosaurs.

Listen to Professor Chinsamy-Turan describe her research into dinosaur fossils on the US public radio daily programme The Academic Minute, as part of their Women in STEM week Podcast.

Read more about her research...

Photo supplied.


UCT Careers Service wins top awards
Wednesday, 27 July 2016

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UCT Careers Service has been voted the Best Careers Service and Best Careers Fair for 2016. The results were announced at the South African Graduate Employers Association (SAGEA) research seminar earlier this month.

This follows the independent SAGEA Employer Benchmark Survey 2016, which was conducted among 98 leading graduate employers in South Africa.

Director David Casey said the awards served as “fantastic recognition” from employers, one of Careers Service’s key stakeholder groups.

“These awards are measures of success for the continuous hard work, dedication and commitment of the Careers Service team during semester one and two of the graduate recruiting season.”

According to SAGEA, recruitment among South Africa’s leading graduate employers is at an all-time high, but competition remains strong. However, their survey had some good news for potential job seekers: graduate vacancies are set to increase by 10.3 percent in 2017.

Read more on the Careers Service website...

Caption UCT Careers Expo 2015.

Story Supplied. Photo Michael Hammond.


The Circus and the Zoo season extended
Friday, 22 July 2016

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Michaelis Galleries curator Nkule Mabaso presents a selection of artworks representing the myriad ways artists use animal motifs allegorically to reflect on human conditions. The group exhibition has been extended until 29 July.

The exhibit challenges the dehumanisation entrenched in stereotypes that liken black bodies to animals.

“Look at how this year has unfolded, with references in the media to monkeys. It made me think of how allegory has been used by artists to make a human-animal comparison that is not derogatory, but has a critical element to offer,” she explained.

Using animals symbolically to speak about human problems is not easy, given the violence black bodies endure within the public imagination.

“This exhibition explores the actual and/or unresolved historical grievances persisting in SA,” Mabaso explains, making it clear that we cannot sustain a status quo, where the majority of citizens are robbed of both their dignity and their humanity.

For more information, contact Nkule Mbaso on 021 650 7170.

Story Kate-Lyn Moore. Photo Michaelis Galleries.

Caption: Nandipha Mnntambo’s pieces, Purge, can be viewed at the Michaelis Galleries as part of The Circus and the Zoo exhibition.


Diploma fast tracks graduates to managers
Wednesday, 20 July 2016

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UCT has launched its first postgraduate diploma specialising in business communication as part of its transformative role in fast-tracking graduates into managers. The initiative is led by Faculty of Commerce lecturers Dr Terri Grant and Gaontebale Nodoba.

“The new postgraduate diploma is unique in that it combines a management diploma with a specialisation in corporate communications,” said Grant, Head of the Professional Communication Unit in the School of Management Studies. “Graduates who take this course will be uniquely situated to enter the workplace and accelerate their move into managerial positions.”

Grant’s long history at UCT dates to her undergraduate studies in speech and drama in the 1970s. Gaontebale is fluent in seven languages, including his mother tongue, Tswana, and is now educating graduates to fast track them into management.

“Through this diploma graduates will develop sound knowledge and skills in communicating with people from different cultures within and outside their organisations,” added Nodoba. “South Africans could benefit from this diploma because of the exposure to cultural know-how and effective communication.”

Story Carolyn McGibbon. Photo Michael Hammond.

Caption: Dr Terri Grant and Gaontebale Nodoba.


College of Accounting works tirelessly for Mandela Day
Monday, 18 July 2016

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Large campaigns such as 67 blankets for Nelson Mandela Day do not want for donations. But their proceeds do not always reach those in most need.

So when the College of Accounting sent out a call to its students and academic and administrative staff in March to donate their time or money to the blanket collecting effort, they had a different goal in mind.

Originally aiming to complete 67 blankets by Mandela Day on 18 July, they extended their challenge to provide for every one of the 81 elderly residents at the GH Starck Centre, an old age home in Hanover Park.

Entire families were called upon, knitting and crocheting relentlessly. Fasting staff members used their lunch hours to knit throughout the month of Ramadan.

“I don’t think any of us expected it to go this big,” said Olivia Europa, administrative officer in the College of Accounting.

Story Kate-Lyn Moore. Photo Michael Hammond.

Caption: (From left) Asia Brey, Eleanor Williams, Eugenica Lodewyks and Olivia Europa of the College of Accounting completed 81 blankets for Mandela Day.


UCT Choir in concert with the Whiffenpoofs of Yale University
Friday, 15 July 2016

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After sell-out performances at UCT’s Baxter Theatre in 2013 and St George’s Cathedral in 2015, the UCT Choir welcomes to Cape Town the world-renowned Whiffenpoofs of Yale University.

The Whiffenpoofs, the world’s oldest collegiate a cappella group, have performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Lincoln Center, and for events such as the World Series, Saturday Night Live and NBC’s The Sing Off.

The UCT Choir is the most diverse musical group at the university. The student-run ensemble welcomes students from every faculty and discipline, as well as alumni and external members.

The concert will take place on Wednesday, 20 July 2016 at 20:15 at the Baxter Theatre.

Tickets cost R100 (adults) and R60 (pensioners, students and learners). Surplus tickets will also be available at the door.

Book online... | Make enquiries... | Visit The Whiffenpoofs’ Facebook page

Caption: The Whiffenpoofs of Yale University performing in St George’s Cathedral in 2015.


Writing duo wins Short.Sharp.Stories award
Wednesday, 13 July 2016

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Writing duo Greg Fried and Lisa Lazarus have won the National Arts Festival Award for the Judges’ Choice of Best Story in the annual anthology of stories chosen for the Short.Sharp.Stories awards.

This year’s theme, Die Laughing, drew many entries, 20 of which were chosen for the collection, which will be launched in Cape Town and Johannesburg.

The husband-and-wife team’s story, This Could Get Messy, was described by the judges as “a simply wonderful story about love … ”

Fried lectures in the philosophy department and co-teaches the master’s course in creative non-fiction offered by the Centre for Film and Media Studies. He also supervises students for the MA in Creative Writing. Lazarus is a writer and writing teacher.

“Our story is about Ilhaam, a passionate and brilliant schoolgirl who has an extensive knowledge of the Koran and a confidential problem involving love, and Gary, a pompous philosopher of mathematics and a man with his own secrets, whom she contacts … We enjoyed finding out what happens when this oddly matched pair interact.”

Story Supplied. Photo Brenda Veldtman.

Caption UCT’s Dr Greg Fried and his wife, Lisa Lazarus, have won the National Arts Festival’s Short.Sharp.Stories award.


Prestigious fellowship for Chirikure
Friday, 8 July 2016

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Associate Professor Shadreck Chirikure of the Department of Archaeology has been selected as the 2016-17 Association of Commonwealth Universities Visiting Fellow. Every year the fellowship, which is funded by the Association of Commonwealth Universities, is awarded to only one recipient from the participating universities.

Chirikure will be a Visiting Fellow of Linacre College at Oxford University. He intends to spend his fellowship finishing his book on indigenous knowledge systems and researching crucibles used in the processing of gold, copper, bronze and brass in pre-colonial Africa. He also looks forward to returning to the museums in Oxford, because, he says, “no matter how many times you visit them you always discover new things”.

The fellowship will also enable Chirikure to consolidate collaborations with researchers based in the Research Laboratory for Archaeology and the History of Art as well as in the School of Archaeology.

“The plan is to forge an enduring partnership that will benefit our research here at UCT, our post-graduate students and also our colleagues at Oxford,” he said.

Story Jess Oosthuizen. Photo Michael Hammond.

Caption: Archaeologist Assoc Prof Shadreck Chirikure is the 2016-17 Association of Commonwealth Universities Visiting Fellow.


Read a related story:


Climate change MOOC to aid developing nations
Wednesday, 6 July 2016

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Research communication is crucial to ensuring that the global South and developing nations are adequately represented in discussions of the impact of climate change.

The Mitigation Action Plans and Scenarios (MAPS) Programme is an initiative of UCT’s Energy Research Centre, together with SouthSouthNorth, a Cape Town-based climate change NGO. MAPS provides development pathway scenarios by encouraging knowledge producers such as climate change researchers, and knowledge consumers such as government and industry, to work together in co-producing the knowledge which informs climate change policy.

The free online course Climate Change Mitigation in Developing Countries is a major output of the MAPS Programme. It was developed by Professor Harald Winkler and his colleagues from MAPS, and has been running on Coursera since November 2015.

The course explores the challenges faced by developing country governments wanting to grow their economies in a climate friendly way, and addresses the complexity inherent in lifting societies out of poverty while also mitigating greenhouse gas emissions.

The course is open for enrolment and a new run of the course starts every eight weeks.


Professor Tim Allen presents dinner and lunchtime lectures
Friday, 1 July 2016

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In association with UCT’s Poverty and Inequality Initiative, Professor Tim Allen, the director of the Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa and head of the Department of International Development at the London School of Economics and Political Science, will be presenting an evening lecture on Tuesday, 5 July and a lunchtime seminar on Wednesday, 6 July.

Deworming Delusions:
Mass Treatment for African Parasites in a Biosocial Perspective

Recent debates about deworming school-aged children in East Africa have been described as “The Worm Wars” and deworming has become one of the top priorities in the fight against infectious diseases. Leading economists and epidemiologists have vigorously promoted the idea, but biosocial research in Uganda and Tanzania suggest that things are not as straightforward as has been claimed.

Tuesday, 5 July 2016, 18:15–19:45
(light dinner served from 17:45)
Lecture Theatre 1A
Neville Alexander Building

RSVP for the lecture …

Humanitarian Impunity, Criminal Justice and Invisible Children:
Social Consequences of the War with the Lord’s Resistance Army

Acholiland in central northern Uganda has been affected by conflict for decades, with more than 30 000 young people being abducted into or joining the Lord’s Resistance Army. Many of these young people subsequently escaped and passed through reception centres supported by international humanitarian agencies on their way home. But no-one knows what subsequently happened to most of them. Where do humanitarians fit into the upheavals that have occurred?

Wednesday, 6 July 2016, 13:00–14:00
(lunch served from 12:30)
Seminar Room, 4th Floor
New Economics Building

RSVP for the seminar …


UCT Careers Service takes second place in global survey
Wednesday, 29 June 2016

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UCT’s Careers Service has been voted the second-best among its peers in terms of student-satisfaction in the annual global Universum survey.

The award comes as part of the Universum Future of Talent Summit.

Over the past two years, students have been able to rate their campuses’ careers service offering, but this is the first time that formal awards have been conferred.

Careers services around the world choose to participate and complete the data collection for Universum on employer brands and top companies to work for across key sectors. UCT’s Careers Service gets a visit annually from Universum to share the results, which are specific to UCT students.

“This is truly amazing recognition of the hard work, dedication and commitment of everyone on the team by students of the outstanding service delivered to students at UCT,” said David Casey, director of UCT’s Careers Service.

Read more on the Careers Service website...

Photo Michael Hammond.

Caption Lovemore Kunorozva and Nonina Maranjana, team members in the UCT Careers Service.


Lara Foot is National Arts Festival’s featured artist
Tuesday, 28 June 2016

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Lara Foot, acclaimed playwright, director and producer, and CEO of the Baxter Theatre Centre, has been named the featured artist at the 43rd National Arts Festival.

As the featured artist, Foot will stage three productions at this year’s festival: the world premiere of her newest play, The Invonvenience of Wings, and the restaging of two of her multi-award-winning works, Karoo Moose and Tshepang.

Two decades after being awarded the 1996 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre, Foot has come full circle.

“In a year when the National Arts festival sharpens the spotlight on women writers, directors, choreographers and artists, Lara Foot’s contribution to South African theatre both in South Africa and abroad, positions her as a leader in the field,” said National Arts Festival artistic director, Ismail Mahomed.

Photo Mark Wessels.

Caption: Lara Foot has been named Featured Artist at the 43rd National Arts Festival.


UCT Chancellor graces Unilever panel
Friday, 24 June 2016

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UCT’s Chancellor Graça Machel and marketing guru, Emeritus Professor John Simpson, shared their insights on sustainable business with a panel of top executives on 21 June 2016.

The discussion, held at The Forum in Bryanston, was titled ‘Collective Action for a Sustainable Future Together’ and was jointly hosted by Unilever and the UCT Unilever Institute. The panel highlighted the importance of research in driving decision-making.

Machel and Simpson were joined on the panel by Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, and Herve Ludovic de Lys, UNICEF South Africa Country Director.

“It was an honour to have UCT represented at this high level and John had a loud round of applause after he spoke,” reported James Lappeman, who teaches marketing alongside Simpson at UCT.

Story Yusuf Omar. Photo supplied.

Caption: Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; Graça Machel, Chancellor of UCT; Herve Ludovic de Lys, country director of UNICEF South Africa; Emeritus Professor John Simpson, UCT


Oceanographer Chris Reason receives NRF A rating
Wednesday, 22 June 2016

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Professor Chris Reason in the Department of Oceanography is the latest UCT researcher to receive an A rating from the National Research Foundation (NRF). This brings the UCT total up to 39.

“I believe that obtaining an A rating is largely a team effort,” says Reason. “I have been very fortunate in my 17 years at UCT to have been able to work with many excellent postgraduate students as well as with some inspiring local and international collaborators.”

Reason’s main research focus is on climate variability and change in the southern hemisphere and the role of the oceans in driving this change.

“I’m hoping that the research that my students and I undertake will help us to better understand the highly complex and variable physical environment we live in and will assist with developing better models for climate prediction.”

Read more on the Research & Innovation website...

Story Birgit Ottermann. Photo Supplied.


New MOOC explores social innovation
Friday, 17 June 2016

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Just over a year ago, UCT launched its first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). A new MOOC ‘Becoming a changemaker: Introduction to Social Innovation’ will start on 25 July 2016.

The six-week course, which will explore the concepts and beliefs needed to develop your social-innovation idea, is aimed at those who want to make a change in their community.

After completing the course, learners should be able to develop their concepts, mindsets, skills and relationships, which will enable them to think, start and evolve as social innovators.

Dr Francois Bonnici and Dr Warren Nilsson from the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation will facilitate the course, along with Marlon Parker from the Athlone-based RLabs, as a living, successful social-innovations project case study.

Request more information...

Photo: The social innovation MOOC aims to debunk common assumptions around what resources are needed to start your idea. Photo supplied.


Largest global study of patients with rheumatic heart disease
Tuesday, 14 June 2016

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Rheumatic heart disease kills 233 000 people annually, despite being almost entirely preventable.

The recently launched INVICTUS programme will conduct the biggest global study of patients with the disease. The goal is to test the efficacy of a drug, rivaroxaban, to prevent stokes and other embolic events in patients with rheumatic heart disease.

INVICTUS co-leaders are Professor Bongani Mayosi (in picture), designate dean of UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences, and head of the Department of Medicine at UCT and Groote Schuur Hospital, and Professor Stuart Connolly of McMaster University in Canada.

INVICTUS was launched at the World Congress of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Health 2016 from 4 to 7 June. The programme aims to build a registry of 20 000 patients with rheumatic heart disease across the world.

Read the full media release

Story Staff reporter. Photo Michael Hammond.


Don Pinnock’s Gang Town
Thursday, 9 June 2016

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Don Pinnock, a renowned criminologist and journalist, has been researching gangs in Cape Town for 30 years. His latest book, Gang Town, is the most comprehensive account to date of how impoverished young people in Cape Town’s townships get caught up in the network of drugs, gangs and violence.

The lecture, which forms part of UCT’s Summer School Extension Lecture Programme, will explore Cape Town’s gang culture and its connection with international organised crime and drug smuggling, forced removals, and the failure of the post-apartheid government to address the social problems that give rise to gangs.

The lecture will take place on Monday, 13 June 2016 from 18:00 to 19:00 in LT3 in the Kramer Building on UCT’s middle campus.

The lecture will cost R84 (full fee) or R42 (UCT staff).

For more information, contact the Centre for Extra Mural Studies on 021 650 2888 or ems@uct.ac.za.

Read the Saturday Star coverage of Gang Town

Caption: Don Pinnock’s new book, Gang Town.


Best paper award at UCT’s Conf-IRM conference
Wednesday, 1 June 2016

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The best paper award at UCT’s International Conference on Information Resources Management was awarded to Dr Hari Harindranath (University of London), Professor Edward Bernroider (Vienna University) and Professor Sherif Kamel (American University, Cairo).

The researchers explored the use of social media by students, leading up to the collapse of the Mubarak regime during the Arab Spring in Egypt. They focused particularly on the effects of the Egyptian government’s decision to shut down the internet.

As the authors wrote, “the drastic move by the government to block the entire internet may have led people to sense that their movement was gaining ground and this in turn may have accelerated the movement.”

“If you want to liberate a country, give them the internet.”

Photo Michael Hammond.

Caption: Conference programme co-chair Dr Antonio Diaz Andrade with winner Dr Hari Harindranath (University of London), conference co-chair Prof Irwin Brown (Information Systems, UCT) and winning author Prof Sherif Hamel (American University, Cairo).


UCT English Language Centre launched
Monday, 30 May 2016

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UCT has officially launched its new English Language Centre (ELC) under the auspices of the International Academic Programmes Office.

The ELC, which offers language tuition, accommodation and visa assistance to international students, has been operating since 16 November 2015. Cape Town is already home to around 25 language schools and the UCT addition further positions the city as a top destination for learning English.

Globally, the language learning market is estimated to generate is excess of $58.2 billion, according to Simon Harrison, principal and chief architect of the ELC.

He adds: “What differentiates the ELC is that it is underpinned by the UCT quality benchmark. Students are immersed in a multicultural university community that exposes them to an unrivalled mix of social, academic and tourist activities. And, lastly, students benefit from the university’s established support systems.”

Photo Supplied.

Caption: Current ELC students toast the language school’s launch. From left, Camille Beaufort (France), Mariana da Costa (Brazil), Simon Jacob (Germany) and Moritz Gämmerler (Germany).


A whale over time
Thursday, 26 May 2016

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A new study published recently in Alcheringa: An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology confirms that baleen whales were part of the biodiversity along the South African coast at least 5 million years ago.

The research focused on fossilised whale bones recovered from the Langebaanweg fossil locality (better known as the West Coast Fossil Park) and was conducted by Dr Romala Govender (Iziko Curator of Cenozoic Palaeontology), Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan (UCT palaeobiologist) and Dr Michelangelo Bisconti (whale biologist from the Natural History Museum of San Diego, California).

By studying the distinctive morphology of the whales’ ear bones, the research revealed that these 5-million-year-old bones were very similar to fossil whales from the Mediterranean. It also indicated that they were baleen whales, much like the humpback whales currently found along the South African coast.

Read the media release...

Photo: Humpback whale breaching by Whit Welles, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, is licensed under CC BY 3.0


SA Medical Journal publishes Festschrift for Beighton
Wednesday, 25 May 2016

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Emeritus professor in human genetics Peter Beighton is the subject of a Festschrift to be published as a supplement to the SA Medical Journal on 1 June 2016. (In academia, a Festschrift is a collection of writings in book form that honours a respected person and is presented during his or her lifetime.)

Four of Beighton’s former PhD students worked on the project to honour his leadership and the influence he has had on their professional lives. They are Michael Hayden (his first PhD graduate in 1979, now in Canada), Jacquie Greenberg (UCT), Alan Bryer (UCT / Groote Schuur Hospital) and Lawrence Stephen (his last PhD graduate before his official retirement in 1999, University of the Western Cape).

Professor Gregory Hussey, interim dean in the Faculty of Health Sciences, commented: “Contributions and tributes have been sent from people all over the world, attesting to PB’s outstanding knowledge, leadership and mentorship in the field of medical genetics at UCT and abroad.”

Story Andrea Weiss. Photo Michael Hammond.

Caption: Emeritus Professor Peter Beighton is a leading figure in human genetics.


SRC to host fundraising breakfast
Thursday, 19 May 2016

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UCT’s Students’ Representative Council is to host a business breakfast on 24 May 2016 to raise funds for its #FundingFutures campaign. The campaign, which has already brought in R2.2 million, is aimed at helping students who are facing financial exclusion but who do not qualify for the UCT financial aid programme.

“We call on the Cape Town community to join the UCT SRC in our efforts to not only address the staggering lack of transformation in our workplaces, but also in our efforts to raise funds to ensure that academically eligible students at the university are able to leave with a degree and not debt,” says Busiswe Nxumalo, SRC fundraising and corporate relations coordinator.

The business breakfast takes place from 07:30 to 10:00 in the Baxter residence dining hall and costs R375 per person or R3000 per table of 10.

To book call 021 650 5928 or email srcentertainment@uct.ac.za.


Celebrating World IP Day and digital creativity with memes
Tuesday, 17 May 2016

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To celebrate World Intellectual Property Day, UCT’s Research Contracts & Intellectual Property Services (RCIPS) is holding a meme competition sponsored by the National IP Management Office (NIPMO). The goal is to create a dialogue about where people get their digital content and why they need to be aware of image licencing.

The theme of the competition is Digital Creativity – Culture Re-imagined! It aims to explore the way in which cultural works cross borders through digital media, inspiring the creation of new global cultures. The focus is on intellectual property ownership in these works.

The competition is open to all students and staff, who can submit up to three memes that meet the competition criteria.

The closing date of the competition is 19 May 2016.

The winners will be announced on 27 May 2016.

Photo Jim Merithew / Wired.com


International forensic toxicology meeting at UCT
Monday, 16 May 2016

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The Division of Pharmacology in UCT’s Department of Medicine is hosting the regional and board meeting for The International Association of Forensic Toxicologists (TIAFT) from 16 to 17 May 2016 at the Radisson Blu Hotel in Granger Bay.

This is the first time that TIAFT will be on African soil in the more than 50 years of the association’s existence.

The focus of the meeting is education, and over 50 participants from all over South Africa are attending, including National Department of Health laboratories, South African Police laboratories and academic university laboratories.

The eight board members are internationally recognized forensic toxicologists from South Korea, USA, Belgium, Sweden, Australia, Spain and Germany. Speakers at the event will include Mrs Alida Grove from the National Department of Health Forensic Toxicology Laboratories and Professor Lorna Martin, head of UCT’s Department of Forensic Science.

This is an incredible opportunity for UCT to engage with and learn from these highly respected scientists.

Photo West Midlands Police via Flickr.


Networking to solve African problems
Thursday, 12 May 2016

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Seventeen partners of the Australia Africa Universities Network (AAUN) gathered at UCT last week to explore ways in which they could harness their expertise across areas of priority for both Australia and Africa. This was in order to meet the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which are aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all.

The 2016 International Africa Forum also explored research synergies between the AAUN and the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) Global Africa Group – particularly in the context of African higher education.

At the same time, the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) held its first board meeting since its launch in 2015. Professor Ernest Aryeetey – retiring vice-chancellor of the University of Ghana – was elected as ARUA’s first secretary general.

In his address at the forum, Aryeetey said that there was a strong impetus for African universities to take charge of their own agenda and that the AAUN and ARUA needed to find ways of collaborating closely to achieve this.

Story Carolyn Newton. Photo Michael Hammond.

Caption: Delegates at the AAUN International Africa Forum, hosted at UCT.


UCT ranked top university in Africa
Tuesday, 3 May 2016

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The Times Higher Education World University Rankings data has revealed the top universities in Africa.

UCT topped the Best universities in Africa 2016: Top 15 list due to its highly cited research, strong international outlook and ability to attract funds from industry.

Six other South African universities were listed in the top 15, including the University of the Witwatersrand (second), Stellenbosch University (third), the University of KwaZulu-Natal (fifth) and the University of Pretoria (sixth).

Phil Baty, the Times Higher Education rankings editor, said: “This snapshot ranking is based on the same criteria as the World University Rankings, but we are keen to develop a bespoke range of metrics, following a public consultation, for a full Africa University Ranking.”

View the top 15 best universities in Africa 2016 list

View the full results of the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2015–2016

Story Chido Mbambe. Photo Michael Hammond.


UCT hosts international squash tournament to raise cancer awareness
Tuesday, 26 April 2016

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UCT is hosting the Keith Grainger Memorial UCT Open Squash Championships from 22 to 29 April 2016. The tournament, which aims to raise funds and awareness for cancer prevention, will bring together 20 participants from over 11 countries.

The tournament is named after Keith Grainger, a UCT student who died from cancer in 2001 during his third year. His contribution to squash at the university between 1999 and 2001 was immense, despite his reliance on a prosthetic leg.

The finals will take place on Friday 29 April. | Read the full programme

Caption Nathan Lake (World no. 124, England, in blue) lunges for a backhand drop from opponent Angus Gillams (World no. 120, England, in red shorts) in last year’s Keith Grainger Memorial tournament. Lake went on to win the final 3–0 – his first ever PSA World Title.

Story Chido Mbambe. Photo Je’nine May.


Why we should stop a robotic arms race
Friday, 22 April 2016

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Will artificial intelligence (AI) end jobs, wars or humanity? This is the question that Professor Toby Walsh, an AI expert from the University of New South Wales, will address in a special lecture offered by UCT’s Centre for Extra-Mural Studies.

Walsh will be in Cape Town for the 15th International Conference on Principles of Knowledge Representation and Reasoning. The conference brings together international AI experts at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 25 to 29 April 2016.

Walsh leads a research group at Data61, Australia’s Centre of Excellence for ICT Research, and regularly gives talks on the impact of AI and robotics. Among his most recent appearances was this TEDx talk. He also co-signed an open letter predicting that AI could transform warfare and lead to an arms race of “killer robots”.

The lecture is on Tuesday 26 April from 18:30 to 19:30 in Lecture Theatre 1 in the Kramer Law Building.

Tickets will be available at the door (R84 for the public and R42 for UCT staff and students).


Tributes for the statistician who touched many lives
Wednesday, 20 April 2016

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Tributes have flowed in for UCT statistician Emeritus Professor Tim Dunne, who died in a car accident on the weekend.

Dunne, who was head of the Department of Statistics for eight years, was known for his commitment to social upliftment.

South Africa’s statistician-general, Pali Lehohla, said, “He lived to be an intellectual giant, yet imbued personal humility. Through his soft-spoken mannerisms he would deliver an intellectual killer punch, always standing firmly behind those he believed in.”

Former colleagues in the Department of Statistics said: “Through his untimely death we have lost a very special man who will be remembered for his intellect, his integrity, his humour and his generosity. He always had the wellbeing of individuals and the community at heart and did not hesitate to fight for what he believed was right.”

A requiem mass will be held on Friday, 22 April 2016 at 15:00 at St Michael’s Catholic Church in Rondebosch.


Engage Wednesdays looks at austerity measures
Monday, 18 April 2016

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Information system (IS) scholars are to discuss the topic of austerity measures at a session of a new initiative called Engage Wednesdays, a lunch-hour discussion aimed at stimulating conversations around African issues.

The official launch of Engage Wednesdays was held on 16 March 2016 at the UCT Information Systems Department.

According to Deborah Ajumobi, an IS PhD student, the primary objective of Engage Wednesdays is to build a community of scholars who are “conscious, aware and effect change through conversations on African related issues”.

The next session is on 21 April 2016 when economist Nonso Obikili will discuss the topic: “Austerity measures: An inevitable action or authority’s excuse in the face of failure?”

Read more on the Engage Wednesdays website


Trojan Horse artist exhibits at Irma Stern Museum
Wednesday, 13 April 2016

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Local artist Tyrone Appollis’ new exhibition, My New Immediacy, will be on display at UCT’s Irma Stern Museum from 16 April to 7 May 2016.

My New Immediacy is right here at my feet,” says Appollis. “I’m still obsessed with South Africa and think it will so remain. I can’t think of any other place than home that has given me so much victory, tribulation and urgency. And I am extremely grateful for the spirit of our local and international giant artists in no order of importance: Sekoto and Skotnes, the hectic Dumile Feni and Jackson Hlungwani, whom I salute wholeheartedly.”

Political cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro will speak at the launch, which takes place on 16 April at 11h00.

Appollis is known for building a monument to commemorate the three children killed by apartheid police in the 1985 Trojan Horse Massacre in Athlone, Cape Town. The monument stands in Thornton Road, where the killings took place.

Pictured is Appollis’ We used to live in District Six.

Story Yusuf Omar. Photo supplied.


Prize-winning TIP-ex coming to the Baxter
Friday, 8 April 2016

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UCT graduate Lauren Hannie’s play TIP-ex won the Best of Zabalaza Production award for 2016.

This is the first time a woman director and writer has won the award since the launch of the festival in 2011. Hannie’s production was nominated in five categories – she also won the award for best script.

TIP-ex is a three-hander starring Hannie, Melissa Johannisen and Maxine Caesar. The play focuses on gender issues and particularly on corrective rape, which is still prevalent in many South African communities today.

TIP-ex will preview at the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from 12 to 13 April and will run from 14 to 23 April at 19h30 with matinees on 16 and 23 April at 14h00.

Bookings can be made at Computicket or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. For discounted bookings contact Sharon Ward or Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993.

The play has an age restriction of 13.

Caption: Maxine Caesar, Lauren Hannie and Melissa Johannisen in TIP-ex.

Picture Charlton Sal.


New MOOC tackles disability, diversity and inclusivity in education
Friday, 1 April 2016

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On 4 April, UCT launched a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) – Education for All: Disability, Diversity and Inclusion – on the FutureLearn platform.

Aimed at parents, teachers and other professionals, the six-week course examines how children with disabilities can be included in all schools.

Covering all aspects of inclusive education, the course addresses barriers to learning and participation, and to transforming school communities. Although inclusive education is about all forms of diversity, this course is specifically about disability, which is often neglected.

Dr Judith McKenzie is the lead educator on the course. She has taught and published extensively on disability and inclusive education. Her co-pilot is Chioma Ohajunwa. Both are from the UCT Disability Studies programme.

This will be UCT’s third MOOC with links to health sciences.

A MOOC on social innovation is scheduled for July.

Caption: Course image from UCT’s new MOOC on inclusive education, which starts on 4 April 2016.

Story Helen Swingler.


Call for nominations for 2017 TB Davie Memorial lecture
Wednesday, 23 March 2016

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The Academic Freedom Committee has put out a call to UCT staff and students to submit nominations for the 2017 TB Davie Memorial Lecture.

This lecture, which is a significant event on the university’s annual calendar, is a chance to “affirm and clarify the values of academic freedom in our contemporary context, and to stimulate debate”.

The TB Davie Memorial Lecture was established by UCT students to commemorate the work of Thomas Benjamin Davie, vice-chancellor from 1948 to 1955 and a defender of the principles of academic freedom.

Previous speakers have included the likes of Noam Chomsky (1997), Kader Asmal (2002) and Max du Preez (2014).

Nominations should not exceed three pages and should include a CV of the nominated speaker and a motivation. These should be submitted via email to Denise Benjamin (denise.benjamin@uct.ac.za). Nominations can also be posted to Room 141, Bremner Building, Lower Campus, UCT. The deadline is 1 April 2016.

Caption: Lighting the Torch of Academic Freedom at the 34th TB Davie Memorial Lecture in 1994, the year South Africans cast their votes in the first democratic elections


Call for bright sparks to take part in pan-African challenge
Friday, 18 March 2016

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The MTN Solution Space, in partnership with leading online retailer Jumia and the MTN Group, has launched an entrepreneurial challenge to students across Africa who have online-based solutions relevant to the African market.

Watch the MTNEC video:

The MTN Entrepreneurship Challenge (MTNEC) throws down the gauntlet to students from more than 60 universities in 13 countries across the African continent, including UCT, and offers amazing prizes to the winners.

It is open to current and recent graduates (from academic years 2014/2015 and 2015/2016) of an African university. All participating teams must be made up of two or three members, at least one of which must be a student or recent graduate of an African university. (This allows for external members to be part of a team.)

For more on the competition, visit the official website.

Story by Andrea Weiss. Photo supplied.

Caption: The MTN Solution Space is based at UCT’s Graduate School of Business.


UCT alumni set to captivate audiences at the Baxter
Wednesday, 16 March 2016

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Award-winning jazz pianist Andre Petersen and SAMA-nominated classical pianist Kathleen Tagg will join forces for a special concert. Expect a mix of classical music, South African jazz and indigenous music from southern Africa in their compositions. The concert will also feature works by Abdullah Ibrahim, Bheki Mseleku, Moses Molelekwa and selections from Broadway.

Watch a clip of this unique music experience

The duo met 20 years ago at the South African College of Music and will be launching their CD at the concert. Where Worlds Collide: the Kathleen Tagg and Andre Petersen Duo will be performed for one night only on Friday, 18 March 2016 in the Baxter Concert Hall at 20h00.

Tickets cost R120 for individuals, R85 per person for groups of ten or more and R50 for students and pensioners. Book at Computicket or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet.

Photo of Kathleen Tagg and Andre Petersen by Jonx Pillemer.


Inspiration on the cards at Teaching and Learning Conference
Friday, 11 March 2016

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UCT’s Teaching and Learning Conference will bring together “inspiring people and challenging ideas” under the theme of Exploring our Landscape of Practice.

The daylong conference, set to take place on Wednesday 30 March in the Leslie Social Science building, was postponed due to the #FeesMustFall campaign in October last year. The conference is an opportunity for university educators to explore and reflect on the complex environment they operate in.

Planned activities include an interactive crowd-sourced session and formal presentations by practitioners looking at a wide variety of topics. There will also be a ‘change story’ venue where participants can explore the “human face of teaching and learning at UCT”.

Read the full programme

Participants who registered to attend in October 2015 are asked to re-register.

Photo by Michael Hammond

Caption: Dr Mathilde van der Merwe of the Centre for Higher Education Development’s Language Development Group interacts with attendees at a Write Science course. Academic literacies will be one of the areas of discussion at the conference.


Three UCT scholars attend Next Einstein Forum in Dakar
Monday, 7 March 2016

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UCT has three Next Einstein Forum (NEF) fellows attending a global gathering in Dakar from 8 to 10 March. Also in attendance will be at least 10 heads of state, Nobel laureates and ministers of science and technology, including South Africa’s Naledi Pandor.

The global gathering, which is held every two years, seeks to promote science as key to African development.

The three NEF fellows from UCT selected for being leading scientists in Africa are Dr Tolu Oni (Division of Public Health Medicine), Dr Amanda Weltman (Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics) and Dr Mohlopheni Jackson Marakalala (Division of Immunology).

You can follow the conference proceedings on Twitter at @NextEinsteinFor or by following the hashtag #AfricaEinsteins. The plenary session will also be livestreamed from 10h00 on Tuesday 8 March.

Download the full programme

Read more...


Sinking of the SS Mendi remembered
Monday, 29 February 2016

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Sub-wardens and students from Kopano, Leo Marquard and Tugwell laid wreaths at the 99th commemoration of the sinking of the SS Mendi which was held at the Castle on Sunday 21 February.

Over 600 members of the South African Native Labour Contingent (SANLC) lost their lives when the SS Mendi was accidentally rammed in the English Channel off the Isle of Wight in 1917. They had been recruited from many areas in South Africa for the British Army to carry out work in the French harbours and in supply lines to the Western Front. The sinking was a major maritime disaster and became a legend for the bravery of those who perished.

A memorial to those who lost their lives aboard the SS Mendi is located below the astroturf close the entrance of Graca Machel Hall at UCT because this is where the SANLC was billeted on what was then Rosebank Agricultural Showgrounds and spent their last night on South African soil. This memorial site will be the focus of the centenary event next year.


'I may not be on a canvas but I matter'
Thursday, 25 February 2016

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This was expressed on a placard at a silent protest staged under UCT’s Black Academic Caucus (BAC) banner on the plaza on 24 February. Dozens of scholars gathered with placards imploring members of the university community to, “Stop! Check your privilege”, and sardonically asking, “What ‘black accent’?”

Labelled the #BACsilentprotest, the demonstration lived up to its name with protestors letting their placards do the talking for the best part of an hour. The chatter came from interested onlookers, who discussed the messages amongst themselves and photographed the occasion. Some of said placards asked, “Transformation? Where is my black female professor?” and decried the “Structural violence in higher education” that reified “patriarchy, ableism, heteronormativity, colonialism” and similar injustices.

Story by staff reporter. Photo by Michael Hammond.


UCT launches open monograph publishing
Wednesday, 24 February 2016

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With the launch of UCT Libraries’ Open Monograph Publishing in January this year, the university has joined a handful of international academic libraries that publish freely accessible scholarly books.

Scholars and information seekers around the world now have unrestricted access to and reuse of the books or monographs published on the Open Monograph Press platform.

The development, a first for Africa, is part of UCT’s open access strategy to showcase institutional scholarship broadly, and supports the university’s teaching, learning and research enterprises.

Although UCT was a latecomer to the international open access arena (the OpenUCT institutional repository was launched in 2014), it now has over 15 000 scholarly items publically available.

Three new titles will soon join the two already launched and include UCT Libraries’ renowned Handbook on Citation.

UCT’s open access strategy now includes diamond open access publishing (books and journals, the latter via Open Journal Systems) and institutional repository publishing (research articles, theses, dissertations and open education resources).

  • For more information, contact the Scholarly Communications and Publishing office, 021 650 1263, or email openuct@uct.ac.za

Unrestricted access: UCT Libraries has launched Open Monograph Publishing, which allows books to be globally accessed on the Open Monograph Press platform. In the picture are OpenUCT’s Lena Nyahodza (left) and Jill Claassen. Photo by Michael Hammond.


Island life at Irma Stern
Friday, 19 February 2016

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Boston-based photographer Tessa Frootko Gordon is holding an exhibition titled Days of The Iguana at the Irma Stern Museum. It features images from Grenada in the West Indies, which resonate with those of Irma Stern, known for her colourful paintings of people, landscapes and flowers encountered on her travels throughout Africa.

Says Gordon: “I have long had a fascination with the heat, mysterious light and vibrant colour of the tropics. I see many similarities between my homeland of South Africa and Grenada, similarities in landscape, geography, politics and the influence of British colonialism.”

The exhibition closes on 5 March. Read more on the Irma Stern Museum website.


Inclusivity workshops for first years
Wednesday, 17 February 2016

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House committees in Kilindini, Varietas, Leo Marquard and Baxter have organised the training of students to conduct HIV/AIDS, Inclusivity and Change Unit (HAICU) workshops for first years during the orientation period.

Around 270 students have been trained as ACEs (Agents for Change Education) to conduct workshops around the intersectionality of HIV, sexual orientation, gender, race and class and making UCT inclusive.

So far, HAICU has facilitated 22 workshops with first years for roughly 1 000 students in the commerce and humanities faculties. Workshops scheduled for the science, engineering, law and health sciences faculty will bring the total to 60.


Swedish dance and music collaboration at Baxter
Monday, 15 February 2016

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The global economy and its effects on the individual once again come under the spotlight in Adagio for a Hacked Life, a contemporary dance and music piece that tackles the strains and pressures imposed on people in today’s modern society.

The show is the third and final instalment in the highly acclaimed Growth trilogy – a collaboration between the Baxter Theatre Centre and Scenkonst Sörmland (Sweden). It culminates with a short season at the Baxter Flipside from 17 to 27 February at 20h00, with matinees at 14h00.

Booking is through Computicket, or on 0861 915 8000, or at any Shoprite Checkers.

Picture: Shaun Oelf, Miskhkaah Medell and Themba Mbuli performing in Adagio for a Hacked Life.


VC celebrates centenary with University of Fort Hare
Thursday, 11 February 2016

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Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price visited the University of Fort Hare (UFH) in the Eastern Cape for a centenary celebration. UFH, which counts many luminaries like Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu among its alumni, has planned a range of activities for its centennial year.

During his visit, Price spent time with UFH Vice-Chancellor Dr Mvuyo Tom. He also met UCT alumni in East London to give them an overview of recent events at UCT.

UCT has a valuable relationship with UFH and the University of Venda through the Trilateral Postgraduate Programme, which enables selected PhD students (fellows) from Fort Hare and Venda to spend a period of up to 12 months at UCT during their three-year programme.

The programme is intended to foster the development of a cohort of strong academic leaders at their home universities while at the same time generating new knowledge and expertise for the understanding and solution of local problems.

Caption: Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price with UFH Vice-Chancellor Dr Mvuyo Tom during one of the UFH's centennial events.


Zabalaza Theatre Festival in its sixth year
Wednesday, 3 February 2016

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The highly popular Zabalaza Theatre Festival, which showcases outstanding grassroots talent, will celebrate six years of the best in development theatre at the Baxter in March this year.

Zabalaza Weekend takes place on Saturday 12 and Sunday 13 March, when all venues and spaces at the Baxter will be taken up with shows derived from eight mini festivals held across the province. A selection of the best shows will then be showcased from

Monday 14 to Friday 19 March daily.

At an award ceremony on Saturday 20 March, the best of the festival production will be announced, along with several other awards in various categories. The winner will receive a full run at the Baxter later in the year.

For more information about the festival contact Andiswa Gumbi at the Baxter on 021 680 3963 or email andiswa.gumbi@uct.ac.za.

Caption: Winners of the 2015 Zabalaza Theatre Festival.


New UCT MOOCs on offer
Friday, 29 January 2016

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UCT will be running a new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the topic of Education for All: Disability, Diversity and Inclusion starting on 4 April 2016.

Inclusive education is about addressing barriers to learning and participation and transforming school communities to allow them to really benefit from inclusion. Although inclusive education is about all forms of diversity, on this course participants will learn specifically about disability as it is often an aspect of diversity that is neglected.

Other new UCT MOOCs on offer this year are Climate Change Mitigation in Developing Countries presented by Professor Harald Winkler, and Understanding Clinical Research: Behind the Statistics by Dr Juan H Klopper.


Striking 2015 images at Molly Blackburn
Wednesday, 27 January 2016

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To coincide with orientation, UCT’s Communications and Marketing Department has put together an exhibition of highlights of 2015, a momentous year for both the university and higher education in general.

The exhibition is on display at the Molly Blackburn Hall and runs until 7 February. Entrance is free.

Caption: On exhibit at Molly Blackburn Hall, this photo was taken outside Bremner building during a #FeesMustFall march in October last year. Photo by Je'nine May.


All about DP
Wednesday, 20 January 2016

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We often start new commitments – new degrees and courses – with the best intentions. Then life happens. We hit hard times. And all our well-intentioned plans start to unravel, often resulting in a negative effect on our studies and overall performance.

If you ever find yourself in a position where life is starting to affect your ability to study or come to class, then we encourage you to speak to your lecturer or course convener as soon as possible.

This handy DP fact sheet will tell you everything you need to know about DP and DPR, including how to make the process work for you.

Photo by Michael Hammond.


How to work from home
Monday, 18 January 2016

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If your job at UCT allows you to work from home once in a while, you’ll have found that you need certain tools and technology to operate effectively. With this in mind, ICTS has published a telecommuting toolkit of what you might need (or need to consider) when working remotely. The toolkit includes suggestions on video conferencing, screen sharing and access to files and library facilities. Read more.

Photo by Rob Alinder under Creative Commons Licence.


SHAWCO SHINE applications now open
Wednesday, 13 January 2016

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The SHAWCO SHINE project – which helps learners from grade 10 to 12 with tuition in mathematics, accounting, physical sciences, English home language and life sciences – is now open for applications.

The programme, developed by project co-ordinator Thara Kallungal, is a project of SHAWCO (the Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation) and runs parallel to the Saturday School initiative, which provides the same tuition to students from identified disadvantaged areas.

Students from both programmes give up their Saturdays for the year to attend classes at UCT. The classes are administered by specialist teachers and are limited to around 20 learners to ensure an effective learning environment.

Ilyaas Abrahams, a former Groote Schuur High School pupil, credits the SHAWCO SHINE project for his academic achievements.

“Before SHAWCO I kept my goals for my studies pretty low (realistic for me at the time) but now I even got accepted into medicine at UCT! I could say without a doubt that the programme has helped me tremendously. I went from a 77% average in grade 10 to an 86% average in my final exam with six subject distinctions.”   

Learning large: A UCT specialist imparting knowledge to learners from the surrounding schools.


What if you could build an education?
Monday, 11 January 2016

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UCT, like universities across the country, is facing a 0% increase in fees for academic tuition and housing for all students from the African continent at UCT in 2016. While government has committed to increasing its subsidy, the anticipated financial shortfall threatens to impact the university’s ability to provide financial support to students in need.

If you would like to help UCT in its commitment to ensure no student accepted on academic merit is turned away just because they’re unable to pay, please consider making a donation to the UCT Student Financial Support Fund. Every rand donated goes toward the payment of students’ fees.

How to donate:

Donors of UCT: Dr Paul Motalane from the Council from Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), UCT/CSIR Fellow Sumaya Salie and Quinton Mauritz from the Postgraduate Centre & Funding Office at a December 2015 event held to honour donors who support postgraduate students. Photo by Michael Hammond.


Junior chess masters face off at UCT
Thursday, 7 January 2016

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UCT is playing host to the South African Junior Chess Championships 2015 this week.

Staff and students will thus have to contend with a queue of cars snaking up to upper campus in the morning and late afternoons until Sunday.

More than 2 000 registered players – the youngest of whom is five – are pitted against each other at the Sports Centre to determine the country's top young champions. The age categories range from under-8 to under-20 and games can be as short as half an hour or as long as five hours.

The tournament, organised under the auspices of Chess South Africa, ends on 10 January.

Photo by Steff Hughes.


UCT MOOC on top 10 list worldwide
Wednesday, 30 December 2015

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UCT's MOOC 'What is a mind?' has made it onto a list of the
top 10 MOOCs to have been offered in 2015. (MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course, and offers unlimited, free participation over the internet to people all over the world.)

'What is a mind?' was offered by neuropsychologist Professor Mark Solms and explored "the most pertinent scientific and philosophical concepts for understanding our own minds".

The top 10 listing comes from Class Central, which aggregates information about MOOCs. Class Central said they used thousands of reviews written by users to compile their list.

The UCT course was judged from among 2 200 MOOCs presented for the first time in 2015. It ranked sixth, one of only three outside the United States to make it onto the list.


Psychiatry prof has bumper crop of PhD students
Monday, 28 December 2015

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Professor Dan Stein (pictured), head of the Department of Psychiatry & Mental Health, and Director of the Brain-Behaviour Initiative (BBI) at UCT, saw eight of his PhD students graduate this year.

They were Lukoye Atwoli (a Kenyan national), Shareefa Dalvie (with Prof Raj Ramesar as primary supervisor), Kirsty Donald, Coenie Hattingh, Jacqueline Hoare, Nastassja Koen, Anne Uhlmann (a German national), and Daniella Vuletic.

Questions addressed in their dissertations centered on areas such as post-traumatic stress disorder, substance use disorders, and neuro HIV/AIDS. Research methods ranged over a broad number of areas, including epidemiology, brain imaging, and genetic research.

In further achievements, Atwoli set a new record of professional advancement by a PhD student by becoming dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences of Moi University in Kenya while completing his doctorate. Donald and Hoare were promoted to associate professors in the Faculty of Health Sciences of UCT. Koen doubled as BBI project manager during her doctoral studies.


Pink and purple joy for hospital patients
Tuesday, 22 December 2015

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UCT delivered its annual consignment of Christmas roses to the wards in Groote Schuur Hospital on 22 December.

The pink and purple hydrangeas are collected from the UCT gardens (pictured) and delivered by the campus gardening service, Green Perspective. The flowers are for the benefit of patients who have to spend the holidays in hospital beds.

The annual hydrangea delivery dates back to 1938, the year the hospital opened, and is believed to have been initiated by nurses, who wanted to spread the festive cheer in the wards by decorating them with flowers.

Photo by Michael Hammond.


VC honours outgoing UCT leaders
Friday, 18 December 2015

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The university’s senior leadership group (SLG) bade farewell to three of its members at a cocktail function on 15 December 2015.

On behalf of the SLG, VC Dr Max Price toasted outgoing registrar Hugh Amoore, retiring executive director of finance Enrico Uliana, and Professor PJ Schwikkard, who is stepping down as the dean of Law.

Price toasted Uliana’s artful contribution to the university, quoting DVC Professor Sandra Klopper, who believes that Uliana regards finance as “an art rather than a science”. He went on to commend Schwikkard for her “courageous empathy”, remarking that her career was punctuated by episodes of empathy shown to discouraged people, and reflecting on the hope that this empathy inspired.

In response to Price’s toasts, Amoore spoke of UCT as “a fragile and delicate plant” that he was confident the SLG would nurture very well.

From left: Enrico Uliana, VC Dr Max Price, Prof PJ Schwikkard and Hugh Amoore.


UCT MOOC on top 10 list worldwide
Friday, 18 December 2015

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UCT’s MOOC ‘What is a mind?’ has made it onto a list of the top 10 MOOCs to have been offered in 2015. (MOOC stands for Massive Open Online Course, and offers unlimited, free participation over the internet to people all over the world.)

‘What is a mind?’ was offered by neuropsychologist Professor Mark Solms and explored “the most pertinent scientific and philosophical concepts for understanding our own minds”.

The top 10 listing comes from Class Central, which aggregates information about MOOCs. Class Central said they used thousands of reviews written by users to compile their list.

The UCT course was judged from among 2 200 MOOCs presented for the first time in 2015. It ranked sixth, one of only three outside the United States to make it onto the list.


A toast to new academics
Thursday, 17 December 2015

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A cohort of new academics who took part in the New Academic Practitioners’ Programme (NAPP) in 2015 gathered recently for a year-end cocktail party at Glenara.

NAPP runs in two cycles during the course of the year, culminating in an event where deans present the new academics to the VC. This year saw 36 new academics taking part in the programme that equips them with the skills they need as educators, researchers and members of the UCT community.

VC Dr Max Price commended NAPP for focusing on teaching and tackling the challenges of transformation facing new academics. He said “newness” was too often seen as a deficit and not recognised for the expertise it brought to the institution.

Sharing knowledge: Sonia Spamer (EBE) shared her experiences with the group. From left are NAPP participants Kabelo Sebolai (CHED), Steeve Chung Kim Yuen (mechanical engineering), and Natalie le Roux (CHED). Photo by Michael Hammond.


UCT becomes first African university to join international research alliance
Monday, 14 December 2015

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UCT is set to be the first African university to become part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU) next year. From January 2016, UCT will become the 11th member in the strategic partnership and the first new member since the formation of the alliance 10 years ago.

“Universities are operating in an increasingly complex and challenging global environment,” says UCT Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price. “It is vital that we learn from one another and that we ensure that African-specific perspectives are part of the conversation. UCT very much looks forward to sharing its knowledge and resources in this global forum.”

Besides being a valuable collaboration network, IARU represents an important platform for exchange and reflection on issues that higher education institutions face in an increasingly global environment. “UCT will bring a new African perspective to the table,” says IARU Chairman Ralf Hemmingsen, rector of the University of Copenhagen, in this way “greatly enrich[ing] IARU’s dialogue among the members from different corners of the world”.

Read more...


Inter-varsity challenge for MTB enthusiasts
Friday, 11 December 2015

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UCT’s mountain bike enthusiasts have a new inter-varsity race series to look forward to in 2016.

The Varsity MTB Challenge has two legs: The first (in Bela Bela in Limpopo on 9 and 10 July) traverses game farms over a 130km track, while the second (in Franschhoek in the Western Cape on 1 and 2 October 2016) includes a ride past the house where Nelson Mandela was held captive in the Drakenstein prison.

The series is a new venture between Sports4U and Advent Sport and Entertainment Media (ASEM), events organiser for the popular Varsity Cup and Varsity Sports series of sport tournaments.

Says Francois Pienaar, CEO of ASEM: “All universities are invited to enter and compete for the inaugural Varsity MTB Challenge Champions title. The race is also open to all mountain bike fanatics and riders are encouraged to compete in their alma maters’ colours, or to adopt a university.”

Cyclists participating in the Absa Cape Epic prologue, held at UCT in March 2015. Photo by Michael Hammond.


Learn to be mindful
Thursday, 10 December 2015

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The law faculty is offering an eight-week course on mindfulness to anyone who wishes to learn how to still their mind and focus on the present.

Mindfulness is training that looks at how the mind works, how to focus and pay attention, and how to deal with stress and difficult emotions. It includes meditation that helps to regulate the brain and the nervous system, increasing a sense of calm and focus.

The course will be presented by Jenny Canau, a former attorney and law lecturer. It costs R5 000 per person. There are two courses starting either on 10 February 2016 or 2 August 2016, with sessions taking place from 18h00 to 20h00.

Find out more on the faculty website: Faculty of Law.

Photo by Darragh O'Connor on flickr.com.


Africa Research Cloud agreement
Wednesday, 9 December 2015

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With an increase in demand to meet big data requirements, UCT and North-West University have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to support researchers via the Africa Research Cloud (ARC).

Big data projects such as the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and the MeerKAT (being built in South Africa as a precursor to the SKA) have placed extra pressure on ICT resources to meet demands in managing big data.

The ARC combines distributed data storage, computing resources, other cyber infrastructure and skills development into a networked research and development platform for data intensive radio astronomy by all partners.

This MoU commits UCT and North-West University to co-operating and providing the necessary resources for the design, build, maintenance and support of the ARC, which is based on Openstack and Ubuntu.

North-West University IT director Boeta Pretorius (left) and Sakkie Janse van Rensburg, executive director for ICT at UCT at the signing of an MoU on the Africa Research Cloud. Image supplied.


UCT staff bag national teaching and learning awards
Tuesday, 8 December 2015

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UCT staff have won two out of five National Teaching and Learning Awards 2015 from the Higher Education Learning and Teaching Association of Southern Africa in collaboration with the Council on Higher Education.

Gwamaka Mwalemba, Assoc Prof Elsje Scott and Carolyn McGibbon – Faculty of Commerce

This trio won a team teaching award for a project that integrates carbon footprinting into the information systems curriculum with science students studying project management. The project, which inspires students to make a difference by collating UCT’s carbon footprint, is in its fifth year.

Prof Delawir Kahn – Department of Surgery

Prof Kahn was commended for his contribution to teaching and learning and for providing leadership as patron of the UCT Student Surgical Society. The selection committee noted that his passion for surgery and the desire to share this with students had been instrumental in promoting the popularity of surgery amongst students.


Property for Africa: Research into the role of real estate in economic development
Monday, 7 December 2015

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The commercial real estate sector in Africa has been described as “poised for lift off” by industry analysts. But is there a way to capitalise on this sector to ensure that property markets foster economic growth and development? It is to address this challenge that the UCT-Nedbank Urban Real Estate Research Unit has been formed, under the directorship of Associate Professor Francois Viruly.

“The success and long-term sustainability of African cities is a function of vibrant property markets,” says Viruly. “This engaged research aims to ensure that the property sector is able to play its role in fostering the needs of investors and other stakeholders.”

Read the full story on the EBE website: Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment

Photo of Ikoyi, Lagos taken by Ulf Ryttgens. Licensed under CC BY-SA 1.0 via Wikimedia Commons


Young scientists measure Atlantic's vital signs
Thursday, 3 December 2015

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Four UCT students arrived in port after five weeks aboard international polar research vessel the RV Polarstern having gained invaluable experience observing and measuring the Atlantic Ocean’s vital signs.

Angelee Annasawmy, Mohammed Kajee, Ngwako Mohale and Amy Wright were part of the 32-strong international group of students that sailed from Germany. They represented 19 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and America.

The aim of the voyage was to increase ocean-going training and build capacity for marine research.

The Atlantic Ocean, with its definite biogeographical gradients in temperature and salinity as well as its zones of upwelling is an integral part of our planet’s acclimatisation system. With the backdrop of climate change and an increasing El Niño signature it is imperative scientists understand how the ocean functions.

UCT student Amy Wright said: “This was an awesome experience where I could put my university knowledge to good practical use. I will never forget what I learnt on this cruise and we are all grateful to the crew and teachers for their time and patience”.

(The sponsors were the Alfred Wegener Institute Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, the Nippon Foundation, the Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans and the Strategic Marine Alliance for Research and Training.)

Story supplied. Image of the polar research vessel RV Polarstern courtesy of Pauhla McGrane.


UCT scientists develop new weapon in arsenal against TB
Wednesday, 2 December 2015

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Scientists at the University of Cape Town, in partnership with the Center for Infectious Disease Research in Seattle, have completed a decade-long project to develop a biomarker test that predicts whether a person is at risk of developing full-blown TB.

The World Health Organisation estimates that around a third of the world’s population is latently infected with TB.

The prognostic blood test, based on the human immune response, can predict whether a person with such a latent infection will develop TB more than 12 months in advance. A large clinical trial is now planned to see whether targeted preventive therapy will help to slow TB infections.

The clinical trial, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will start in 2016 and run for two years. If it is successful, a mass campaign using a “screen-and-treat” strategy could have a major impact by stopping TB before it becomes infectious and can be transmitted to others.

This international collaboration is led by the South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI) at UCT, in partnership with the Aurum Institute, the Stellenbosch University Immunology Research Group, the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA), the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC).

Photo by Michael Hammond.


Appeal for hosts for language students
Wednesday, 25 November 2015

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UCT’s new English Language Centre (ELC), a unit dedicated to teaching English as a foreign language to international students and visitors to Cape Town, is looking for homestay hosts.

Hosts are expected to provide either a single or double room with a desk and a wardrobe, and breakfast and dinner is usually included (alternatively, hosts may allow students access to self-catering facilities). Students may also share a twin room. Hosts are welcome to specify whether they prefer male or female guests, a minimum age, as well as any other specific requirements.

The ELC is particularly keen on hosts within reach of Hiddingh Campus, where the classes are held, either by the MyCiti bus, Jammie Shuttle, or on foot. Hosts are paid between R2,000 and R2,750 per week depending on the size of the room and the facilities available.

For more information contact simon.harrison@uct.ac.za (Tel: 021 650 2996), or juliette.hartmann@uct.ac.za (Tel: 021 650 3255).

Photo by Damien du Toit via Wikimedia Commons.


Acclaimed Grounded at Baxter in November
Tuesday, 24 November 2015

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Theatre lovers can catch George Brant’s award-winning one-hander Grounded at the Baxter in November.

Grounded tells the story of a female F16 fighter pilot, whose unexpected pregnancy ends her career in the sky. Instead, she finds herself directing remote-controlled drone strikes in Afghanistan from an air-conditioned trailer (known as the chair force) in the Nevada Deserts in Las Vegas.

Among the many accolades this topical piece has picked up are the Fringe First award at the 2013 Ediburgh Festival and the National New Play Network’s 2012 Smith Prize. It is currently being performed at venues around the world.

Directed by Christopher Weare and starring Mikkie-dene le Roux, the play runs from 4 to 28 November at 20h15 nightly and matinees on Saturdays at 17h30.


Bite-size opera at Artscape
Monday, 23 November 2015

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They call it ‘bonsai opera’, and that’s not because you buy it from Stodels.

It’s because four local composers have teamed up with four writers to create a quartet of half-hour works that tell uniquely African stories, from a shipwreck in the 1700s to the “troublesome” process of getting a passport. That’s also why the project is called Four:30.

The four operas – The Application, Blood of Mine, Bessie: The Blue-Eyed Xhosa and Anti-Laius – are the fruits of a collaboration between the Cape Town Opera and the UCT Opera School. They open at Artscape on 25 November.

“We must constantly create new operas,” says conductor Kamal Khan, a professor in the South African College of Music. “There are so many exciting new singers being discovered in South Africa, but what will they sing? They should be able to sing their own stories.”

The hope is that newer, younger audiences will latch onto bite-size operas that tell relatable stories, says Michael Williams, managing director of the Cape Town Opera.


Retirees urged to 'start a new chapter'
Friday, 20 November 2015

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“There is no constant but change,” registrar Hugh Amoore recently told retirees at an annual dinner in Smuts Hall to fete 2015’s cohort of 84 retiring staff, 28 of whom have clocked up 30 years or more at UCT.

Amoore, who will retire at the end of the year after 42 years on UCT’s staff, responded to Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price’s toast to the retirees.

Upbeat and dispelling any angst, after a year characterised by student and staff protests on this and other campuses around the country, Amoore said that after a “rollercoaster” year, UCT “can and must” emerge as a better place.

In his address, Price alluded to the contribution the retirees had made, and how they’d witnessed an extraordinary period in UCT’s history.

He also paid tribute to the PASS staff, vaults of institutional knowledge and experience, and to the academics, who had shaped the minds of thousands of students and contributed to the university’s growing knowledge base.

Referring to trends in longevity, Price encouraged the cohort to start a new chapter.

“You should retire to something.”

These endeavours would, of course, be free from the spectre of performance appraisals.

“And keep in touch,” Price urged.

Story by Helen Swingler. Photo by Rodger Sedres.


VC engages campus on “sea changes” in higher education
Thursday, 19 November 2015

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Earlier this month Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price embarked on a series of faculty and professional, administrative and support staff (PASS) departmental visits to engage the campus community on “sea changes” in higher education. This follows the widespread student protests that have gripped the country’s universities, particularly in recent months. These have resulted in damage to some campuses and delays to or cancellations of final exams at many others.

Today, 19 November, the VC (in picture) visited the International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO) to talk about fees, transformation and other important issues in higher education that have spearheaded the protests. On 23 November he will meet with ICTS staff and on 3 December he is scheduled to visit the Centre for Higher Education Development, wrapping up this year’s programme. In the new year Price will visit the law, humanities, health sciences and science faculties as well as six PASS departments.

Speaking after the event, IAPO’s Kimi Keith said she valued the context and background to the protests that Price had provided. “I think that staff appreciated the time that he took out of his busy schedule to ask us our opinions and to thank us for the good work we’ve been doing behind the scenes…. In short, it was encouraging that he was open for discussion, cared about our opinions and acknowledged all the extra work.”

Photo by Michael Hammond.


Mayosi takes the helm at Health Sciences
Wednesday, 18 November 2015

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Head of medicine Professor Bongani Mayosi is the new Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and will take up this position on 1 September 2016.

The delay between his appointment and assuming duties is as a result of his sabbatical at Harvard University from January to August 2016.

Mayosi earned his BMedSci (with distinction) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1986, followed by his MBChB (with distinction) in 1989. He was admitted to the Fellowship of the College of Physicians of SA in 1995.

He earned his DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2003. He joined UCT in 1992 as senior house officer in the Department of Medicine and has been head of Department of Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital and UCT since 2006.

Most recently he was inducted into UCT’s College of Fellows along with five of his peers.

Acting dean Professor Greg Hussey will serve in this capacity until August next year.

Click here for more about Mayosi and his appointment.


Crème of student leaders honoured by UCT
Tuesday, 17 November 2015

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Graça Machel residence’s dining hall was decked to celebrate of some of UCT’s brightest student leaders on 13 October for the annual Student Leadership Awards, held in partnership with Investec.

Among the awards was the Vice-Chancellor’s Award – given to outgoing SRC president Ramabina Mahapa – and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Award – conferred on Amy Booth, the incoming vice-president of the UCT Surgical Society.

Mahapa, who served on the SRC for two years and was its president in 2014/2015, received the Vice-Chancellor’s Award, which goes to a most outstanding student leader. A range of other exceptional student leaders were honoured, including the Surgical Society executive committee, which scooped the Most Outstanding Society Executive Award.

Keynote speaker Setlogane Manchidi encouraged the young leaders not to be bystanders. Let people know what you stand for and don’t stand for, he advised the students in a speech that drew almost a minute of applause.

For the full range of awards and citations, click here.

Story by Yusuf Omar.


10th edition of the South African Child Gauge released
Monday, 16 November 2015

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The 2015 edition of the only publication in the country that provides an annual snapshot of the status of the country's children, the South African Child Gauge, is now available for download or purchase.

The South African Child Gauge is published by the Children's Institute at UCT, in partnership with a range of other groups, including UCT's Poverty and Inequality Initiative.

This year's publication focuses on young people aged 15 to 24 and highlights the need for a range of interventions to support them as they transition into adolescence and young adulthood.

Says contributor Professor Murray Leibbrandt, UCT's pro-vice-chancellor for poverty and inequality: "Right now the majority of young people remain trapped in the continuing inequalities created by apartheid. This vicious cycle will continue to the next generation of children if we don't invest in youth today."

Currently, 59% of youth between the ages of 15 and 24 live in households with less than R620 per person per month, and many of them experience multiple forms of deprivation, including limited access to quality education, health care, housing and high levels of unemployment.

Poor youth also lack the beneficial kinds of social networks and information needed to access post-school education and the labour market.


Chibale part of society's 'hall of fame'
Friday, 13 November 2015

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Professor Kelly Chibale (Department of Chemistry) has been profiled in the Royal Society of Chemistry's campaign "175 Faces of Chemistry: Celebrating diversity in science".

Zambian-born Chibale is South Africa Research Chair in Drug Discovery and founder of H3D, Africa's first integrated drug discovery and development centre. He is also founding director of the South African Medical Research Council Drug Discovery and Development Research Unit at UCT, which works to find cures to endemic African diseases.

Seen by the RSC as a role model for African scientists, Chibale was also chosen for his support of research programmes that integrate scientists with different expertise and from different disciplines, crucial for tackling scientific challenges.

One example is the malaria drug discovery project, led by H3D and involving researchers in medicinal chemistry, biology and pharmacology and involving collaborations with institutions in Switzerland, India and Australia.

He says: "I want to debunk the myth and challenge stereotypical views that Africa cannot be a source of health innovation."

Prof Kelly Chibale, now part of the Royal Society of Chemistry's campaign: "175 Faces of Chemistry: Celebrating diversity in science". (Image courtesy of Kelly Chibale)


Esther Mahlangu exhibits at Irma Stern
Thursday, 12 November 2015

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The UCT Irma Stern Museum is showcasing paintings and 3D works by world-renowned artist Esther Mahlangu in an exhibition titled Esther Mahlangu 80.

Celebrating Mahlangu's 80th birthday on 11 November, the exhibition opened on 11 November and will run until 2 December.

A new range of sneakers designed by Mahlangu in collaboration with Swedish fashion label EYTYS will also be on view. Released at Paris fashion week, the range will be introduced in high-end fashion stores in Milan, London, Paris and New York in 2016. Work from Mahlangu's latest inspiring collaboration with acclaimed UK artist STIK will be included as well.

Mahlangu is known for painting the geometric patterns in vivid colours characteristic of Ndebele mural art on a BMW 525i in 1991. She was the first woman and African invited to contribute to this Art Car Collection.

UCT Irma Stern Museum is open Tuesday to Friday, 10h00-17h00 and Saturday 10h00-14h00.


New English centre boosts UCT's language offering
Wednesday, 11 November 2015

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The new UCT English Language Centre, which the humanities faculty is launching this week at the Hiddingh Campus, will see the university capitalising on the booming global English language learning market.

The centre will offer first-rate English language tuition and a comprehensive student package that includes accommodation and visa assistance, via the university's International Academic Programmes Office (IAPO).

Language learning is a growth market around the world and English particularly is a key requirement in today's global working world, says Simon Harrison, principal and chief architect of the school.

"Some view English as a gateway into the best colleges or universities. For others, it is simply about acquiring a new set of language skills and exploring a different culture.

Initially, the programme will target students from Africa, Latin America and Europe. "The focus will be on the teaching. But what will set the programme apart will be the combination of quality education, social support and the multicultural experience," said Harrison.

Language learning: Simon Harrison, principal and chief architect of the new UCT English Language Centre. Image supplied.


Comms and marketing team comes up trumps at the MACE awards
Sunday, 11 October 2015

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UCT’s Communication and Marketing Department walked away with a number of awards at the recent MACE congress in Durban – with the Monday Monthly earning special praise for the quality of its writing and design.

MACE, which stands for Marketing, Advancement and Communication in Education, recognises “excellence and achievement” among communication and marketing professionals at higher education institutions.

At the award ceremony at the Greyville Convention Centre in Durban on 8 October, the UCT team received four excellence and four merit awards – earning an overall Sevérus Cerff Award for Excellence.

Monday Monthly picked up two excellence awards – for best internal newspaper/newsletter; and for the publication’s faculty supplements – and the skills award for writing and design (the only one awarded this year).

Also earning an excellence award was an audiovisual production for the first of the MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) “What is a mind?”. The fourth excellence award went to the integrated campaign ‘Transforming UCT’.

Said executive director Gerda Kruger: “This was a wonderful effort on the part of our team. I'm particularly proud of our integrated campaign ‘Transforming UCT’, which included the department's online coverage of debates and discussions during the height of the #RhodesMustFall movement, and the ‘top-and-tail’ coverage by the Monday Monthly in April and May.”

The four merit awards were for:

Photo above: Aamirah Sonday, Aloy Gowne and Steff Hughes representing UCT at the 2015 MACE awards in Durban. Image supplied.


UCT hosts gathering of senior UN leaders
Friday, 9 October 2015

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UCT will play host to a United Nations Leadership Programme in Cape Town from 12 to 16 October 2015.

The UN Leaders Programme brings together senior UN staff from around the world to exchange knowledge and experience, in an interactive and dynamic learning environment. This year’s programme, coordinated by IAPO’s Short Term International Programme (STIP) and the Graduate School of Business, will focus on ‘Leadership for Transformation and Unity Building in the Workplace’.

UCT was selected to host the meeting because of its strategic location as a leading university in Africa. It was also regarded as having the requisite capacity while offering a unique opportunity to advance global knowledge from an African perspective, a conference press statement said.

“Towards strengthening its international research profile, and as an Afropolitan university, UCT aims to provide an intellectual meeting point, and offer a strategic lens into the African region for academics, professionals and practitioners alike. Alongside other African and international universities, UCT strives to champion African contributions within the international arena,” said the statement.

The purpose of the 2015 UN Leaders Programme in Cape Town is to provide a forum for participating senior UN leaders to network with colleagues and peers and to engage with, and learn from, faculty and speakers from diverse fields of experience and expertise.

The meeting will discuss and reflect on prevailing regional dynamics in Africa with in relation to UN strategic mandates.

The gathering will also explore the role of leaders and leadership in “forging and imprinting sustainable transformation and unity building within the workplace, towards fostering stable and cohesive work environments and cultures that celebrate diversity, promote cooperation and encourage professional excellence”.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price, Professor Walter Baets (director of the Graduate School of Business), Professor Evance Kalula (director of International Academic Programme Office) and staff from the UN System Staff College, who are the co-conveners, will open the conference on Monday 12 October.


You too can blow the whistle
Tuesday, 6 October 2015

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Staff and students at UCT are reminded that the university has a hotline that can be used to report fraud, corruption, unethical behaviour and misconduct confidentially and anonymously.

The 24-hour KPMG hotline is 0800 650 000 (toll free from a Telkom landline). Anyone with concerns can make a report and will get a reference number.  KPMG will then send the report to the university to investigate and, where required, take the appropriate action. Calls can be made in any of the 11 official languages as well as Dutch, French, German and Portuguese.

UCT also publishes the outcome of investigations arising out of the hotline. For more information about how the hotline operates, read the FAQs


International Open Access Week at UCT
Tuesday, 29 September 2015

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As part of an international community that promotes open access to scholarly literature, UCT will join in an international celebration of Open Access (OA) Week from 19-23 October.

Hosted annually, OA Week raises awareness and connects with the international scholarly community to promote open access to scholarship and research.

During the week there will be several events, hosted by UCT Libraries, in collaboration with the Centre for Innovation in Learning and Teaching, the Office for Postgraduate Studies and the Research Office. These include:

  • Monday 19 October – an opening session, with keynotes from international leaders in open access at the Centre for African Studies Gallery (from 14h00 to 16h00).
  • Wednesday 21 October – a discussion on open access publishing at UCT, in the Frances Ames Room in Health Sciences (from 17h30 to 19h30).
  • Friday 23 October – a session on establishing your career using open access, to be held in the Ulwazi Training Room in the UCT Libraries (09h00 to 12h00).

For more information email openuct@uct.ac.za


It's time to celebrate Rainbow Week!
Monday, 28 September 2015

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This year’s Rainbow Week (formerly known as Pink Week) takes place from 28 September to 2 October. The aim is to educate, inform and “open a few minds” about issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community.

RainbowUCT, a society that represents LGBTQIA+ students and their allies, are the hosts for the week.

This year, RainbowUCT aims to increase its visibility on campus and to highlight issues facing members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

To this end, they will set up Open Spaces on Jammie Plaza during meridian, where students can ask any questions they may have about the society or the LGBTQIA+ community in general.

Other events planned for the week include a workshop on safe sex, discussions, movie screenings and a Jammie Thursday event.

For more details visit the RainbowUCT Facebook page or email media.rainbowuct@gmail.com.

Photo caption: Workshops, discussions, movie screenings and more are planned for this year’s Rainbow Week, which runs from 28 September to 2 October 2015. (Photo by Michael Hammond)


SRC focuses on heart health for September
Monday, 21 September 2015

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In South Africa, 80% of heart disease is preventable, making education one of the best ways to prevent future disease. This is why the UCT SRC has been encouraging students to 'Run 4 Your Heart' in September, which is also heart awareness month.

Among the fun activities organised for the campaign have been aerobics and yoga sessions, along with a 100m race on Jammie Plaza during which UCT gymnasts also entertained the crowd by showing off their skills. The campaign aims to raise awareness around the role poor diet, low physical activity and genetic predisposition plays in the future development of heart disease.

Photo caption: UCT gymnasts take part in a handstand race as part of the 'Run 4 Your Heart' campaign. (Photo by Michael Hammond).


Baxter artists-in-residence showcase new work
Tuesday, 15 September 2015

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The Baxter 2015 artists-in-residence, Alex McCarthy and Mdu Kweyama, will showcase two new works The White Man's Guide to Sacrifice and Reza de Wet's Missing at the Baxter Golden Arrow in October.

The White Man's Guide to Sacrifice is a farce written and directed by McCarthy. The quirky story centres around two young men who have just been accepted into the Lamborghini Club, but discover a cow in their expensive apartment. The friends are presented with a dilemma: sacrifice their place in the club, or seal their position in the blood of an innocent animal. The play opens on 2 October and runs until 10 October at 19h00 nightly. There is an age restriction of 15 years.

Mdu Kweyama breathes new life into acclaimed South African playwright Reza de Wet's Missing – the magical-realist play about a young daughter's escape from her dysfunctional rural family. Kweyama takes the play out of its Afrikaans idiom and places it into a universal realm combining more physicality with De Wet's poetic writing. Missing opens on 16 October and runs until 24 October at 19h00 nightly. There is an age restriction of 13 years.

Booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet.

Photo caption: Cameron Robertson and Nathan Lynn star in The White Man's Guide to Sacrifice. (Photo by Oscar 'O Ryan).


UCT prof invited to debate Norwegian higher education reform
Monday, 14 September 2015

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Professor John Higgins, currently Arderne Chair of Literature at UCT, recently shared a platform with the Norwegian Minister of Education and Research, Torbjorn Roe Isaksen, to debate the progress and implications of reform in the Norwegian higher education system.

This follows Norwegian interest in his newly published book Academic Freedom in a Democratic South Africa (Bucknell University Press in the USA).

Sharing the platform with Higgins (top left in image) and the minister on 3 September were psychology professor Fanny Duckert and history professor Knut Kjelstadli, both from the University of Oslo.

Higgins is currently editing a collection of new comparative essays on the place of higher education in the South African and Norwegian systems, while his article 'The Constitutional Imperative for Academic Freedom' was recently published in the influential annual global survey, Europa World of Learning.


UCT students team together for historic Kilimanjaro summit
Friday, 11 September 2015

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UCT student Chaeli Mycroft became the first quadriplegic woman in the world to summit Kilimanjaro – and she could not have done it without the help of her good friend and fellow student Taylor Jackson, says the Chaeli Campaign.

Chaeli and Taylor became good friends when they shared a politics class in her first year at UCT. When Chaeli started planning to summit Africa's highest mountain two years ago, he immediately offered to help, bringing his friend Carel Verhoef on board as climb co-ordinator.

Said Zelda Mycroft, CEO of the Chaeli Campaign: "I know that Chaeli has received a lot of attention but the summit could not have happened without unsung heroes like Taylor. The teamwork involved on the part of the climbers and guides was phenomenal."

Taylor is also an executive member of the student society IkeyAbility which promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities.

SABC3 will screen a documentary on Chaeli's Kilimanjaro adventure on Fokus on Sunday 13 September from 19h00 to 19h30 on SABC 3.


Campus engagements to focus on ideas exchange
Friday, 4 September 2015

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Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price is set to embark on a fresh round of campus engagements during which he will meet staff to exchange ideas on key matters affecting the university.

These campus-wide discussions are an opportunity for staff in all faculties and departments to hear directly from the vice-chancellor about recent developments at the university, and also share their own thinking, concerns and ideas.

"During my time as vice-chancellor I have from time to time embarked on campus-wide discussions with various constituencies," Price explains. "They served to give me an opportunity to share my thoughts on key matters directly with staff but even more importantly to receive key inputs from staff on their thinking, their concerns, their ideas. In my view, these engagements have often proved important in narrowing the distance between the executive and staff."

Engagements kick off this week in the Faculty of Commerce, with sessions for other faculties and departments rolling out over the rest of this year and into early 2016. Dates, times and venues of each engagement will be circulated to staff by their deans or executive directors.

Photo caption: Staff of the Graduate School of Business gathering for a campus engagement with Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price on Monday 31 August 2015.


NEHAWU Women's Month treat
Tuesday, 25 August 2015

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NEHAWU set up a mobile 'spa' on Jammie Plaza on Monday to celebrate women workers and students on campus during Women's Month.

Braving the August weather, women were given neck and shoulder massages, hand treatments and giveaways, courtesy of Eternal Child.

It was a first for NEHAWU on campus and chairperson Patricia Bevie said she'd been surprised by the turnout.

"It was our aim to acknowledge women for the sacrifices they make in society and to let them know that there are outlets like this to destress. The labour relation is not a love relationship and can be stressful at times."

Bevie said NEHAWU encouraged women to unite in empowering one another.

Photo supplied.


Young and old Fullerites gather to celebrate a special birthday
Monday, 24 August 2015

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Georgina Harwood, more famous for celebrating her 100th birthday by going skydiving, was an apt choice of guest speaker at a special luncheon hosted recently at Fuller Hall to mark its 87-year legacy.

Affectionately dubbed 'Mrs Fuller' by residents, the residence was named after Maria Emmeline Barnard Fuller, one of the first four women to enrol at UCT.

It first opened its doors in 1928 and today's residents continue to enjoy its atmospheric ivy-clad walls, lush courtyards, arched corridors and wood-panelled dining room with stained-glass windows, along with easy access to lectures and libraries on Upper Campus.

The gathering, on 8 August, saw past and present 'Fullerites' enjoying a meal together while sharing their experiences and reminiscing about the past.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Sandra Klopper encouraged to achieve greatness in academia and other spheres of life, while Harwood, who enrolled at UCT in 1931 on the cusp of her 16th birthday, reminisced about her time as an undergraduate.

To round off the event, Warden Chao Mulenga urged the alumni to keep in touch and stay engaged.


EBE student council launches a Student in Distress Fund
Thursday, 20 August 2015

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With the poor economic climate and the changes in the funding criteria for NSFAS funding – there are a number of EBE students on campus who have no money for food, accommodation or just basic necessities.

With this in mind, on Friday 14 August, the EBE Student Council launched a fundraising campaign to raise money for a Student in Distress Fund. During the meridian, the student council members approached students and asked them to give up a luxury for the day and donate to the fund. Within an hour, they raised the first R600 for the fund. This will happen every Friday and will be handed over to the incoming 2016 EBE student council to continue the fundraising campaign. The EBE student council is also working with the two entrepreneurs, James Shin and Jason Hardy, final-year mechatronics students, who started UniCafe on campus. They will be raffling tickets for coffee, and donating the money to the fund.

The Faculty Office will administer the fund. This year, two students who were in dire need of assistance, received funding from the Chancellor's Challenge Fund. One of them, a final-year chemical engineering student said, "I would like to thank the fund for giving me an opportunity to graduate and make my family proud. I believe words of gratitude are not enough to show how grateful I am, but I totally am. I am glad that I will now focus on design without worrying about having access to the computer labs and the library."

"Through the fund, we hope to relieve the students of some of their financial burdens and help them to complete their degrees and graduate," said Sister Kashala, the EBE student council member driving the fundraising campaign. Anyone interested in contributing to the fund should contact Mandisa.Zitha@uct.ac.za.

Photo caption: Chris Sexwale, Itumeleng Ragoleka, Zain Bana, Sister Kashala and James Shin.


Sizwe Banzi is Dead returns to the Baxter
Friday, 14 August 2015

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Following its resounding success in the United States earlier this year, the South African theatre classic Sizwe Banzi is Dead returns to the Baxter Flipside from 19 August.

It is 40 years since John Kani and Winston Ntshona won the Best Actor Tony Award for their performances in the play, which they co-created with Athol Fugard, and nearly a decade after the two theatre veterans reprised their roles at the Baxter in 2006.

In this production, John Kani returns as director, with his son in the role, which originally Kani made famous.

The award-winning iconic production has at its centre the story of a black man in apartheid-era South Africa struggling to overcome oppressive work regulations to support his family.

"Sizwe Banzi is Dead became a statement that articulated the anger of black people against these laws," says Kani. "It's about the universal struggle of identity, of the dignity of the human being, and respect for humanity."

The New York Times called this production "a joyous hymn to human nature".

Sizwe Banzi is Dead previews from 19 to 20 August, opens 21 August and runs until 12 September in the Baxter Flipside, at 19h30 nightly, with a matinee on Saturday 22 August at 14h00. Go to Computicket for ticket prices and bookings.

Photo caption: Atandwa Kani and Mncedisi Shabangu in Sizwe Banzi Is Dead (Photo by Ruphin Coudyzer)


Youth should engage with AU agenda
Wednesday, 12 August 2015

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Prof Ben Turok has challenged young people to question the theme and scrutinise the implementation of the African Union's (AU) Agenda 2063.

Turok was the keynote speaker at the first ever Model Africa Union Summit (MAUS), which took place at UCT from 31 July to 2 August.

The summit was organised by the UCT chapter of the African Union, the first of its kind in South Africa, established in May this year. MAUS is an academic simulation of the AU that strives to educate participants on African current affairs and its Agenda 2063.

The theme of Agenda 2063 is 'The Africa we want'. Turok emphasised the important role Africa's youth will play in achieving the goals of Agenda 2063. He also encouraged attendees to establish AU chapters at other tertiary institutions in South Africa.

Other speakers at the event included Professor Evance Kalula, Director UCT's International Academic Programme Offices, and Deputy Minister of Communication Obed Bapela.

Delegates made up various committees that discussed and formulated resolutions on topics pertinent to young Africans.

Resolutions adopted at the summit were forwarded to the AU Commission, the body's secretariat, in order to raise the profile of problems affecting young people in Africa and suggesting solutions to these problems. Nine MAUS delegates were chosen to participate in the AU summit scheduled to take place in Ethiopia in November.

Photo caption: Musical and poetry performances were interspersed between serious discussions on the way forward for young Africans at the first ever Model Africa Union Summit.

Story by Abigail Calata. Photo by Michael Hammond.


Black Sash photographic exhibition at Artscape
Tuesday, 11 August 2015

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The Black Sash photographic exhibition, put together with the help of photographer Paul Weinberg and UCT Libraries Special Collections, was officially opened at the launch of the Artscape Women's Humanity Arts Festival from 6 to 9 August.

The event, which was attended by Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and several other dignitaries, marked the official launch of Mary Burton's book The Black Sash, to coincide with the organisation's 60th anniversary.

The festival culminated in a Women's Humanity Walk on Sunday 9 August, starting at the District Six Homecoming Centre and ending at Artscape Theatre, followed by a Humanity Meal sponsored by The Next 48 Hours newspaper.

Read more about the history of the silent sisterhood in our interview with former Black Sash president Mary Burton.

Photo caption: Former Black Sash president Mary Burton (right) and national director Lynette Maart at the photo exhibition and book launch marking the organisation's 60th anniversary.


Legal movers and shakers
Friday, 7 August 2015

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On Friday 7 August the Faculty of Law took time out to celebrate ahead of Women's Day on 9 August, with students and academic, administrative, support and cleaning staff enjoying a programme of sharing, coaching and relaxing together in the Staff Common Room.

In her welcome Jameelah Omar (Department of Public Law) said that while the business of law and women was a serious issue, reflected in language, health, criminal justice issues and property rights, Women's Day events reminded them "sometimes it's just about getting together and having fun".

A pair of zumba dance fitness instructors took more energetic members of the assembly through a fast-paced routine. In the picture are (from left) the Law Clinic's director, Varne Moodley, Ncumisa Willie, a candidate attorney at the Refugee Rights Clinic, and Law Clinic attorney Matilda Smith.

Story by Helen Swingler. Photo by Michael Hammond.


Language course breaches barriers
Wednesday, 29 July 2015

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Patients are more at ease and much more open about what ails them when a medical practitioner addresses them in their mother tongue.

This has been the experience of Cyril Mahlati, a Xhosa-speaking nurse at the Kraaifontein community health centre, who recently completed a course in conversational Afrikaans. The course, as part of which participants are able to improve their proficiency in either isiXhosa or Afrikaans, is a joint initiative between UCT's health science and humanities faculties, the Western Cape health department and the European Union.

"The patient is more free when I speak Afrikaans instead of English. I thought I at least understood some Afrikaans before the course, but notice that I understand a lot more now," said Mahlati.

This year saw the third group of healthcare workers completing the 12-week course, which is available to staff at both the Delft and Kraaifontein community health centres. Plans are afoot to extend the course to personnel in the Northern Tygerberg district. In September it will be presented to staff at the Orbit Centre and Karl Bremer Hospital.

Photo caption: Dr Minnie Lewis (right) from UCT with Dr Doris Nyembwe (middle) and Cyril Mahlati, who both completed a course in conversational Afrikaans.


Would you survive retirement?
Monday, 13 July 2015

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The financial aspect of retirement, that is. To help you maintain a steady footing in economically unsteady times, the UCT Retirement Fund is hosting two seminars for its members.

The first will take place on 29 July at the Sports Science Institute of South Africa, and is aimed at patrons older than 60 years. The seminar programme is packed with titbits from UCT's scholars and specialists in the field, ranging from tax planning with Professor Jennifer Roeleveld, to a session on laws about succession, wills and estate planning with Assoc Professor Mohamed Palekar. The second seminar will take place on 25 August, and is aimed at people younger than 60 years.

Update: Please note that the seminar on 29 July is already fully booked, however, spaces are still available for the seminar on 25 August.

Contact the UCT Retirement Fund via email or call them at 021 650 2934 for more information.

Story by Yusuf Omar.


We shall remember them
Monday, 13 July 2015

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The UCT community wishes to extend its condolences to the friends, family and colleagues of former students and staff members who passed away recently.

Emeritus Associate Professor Brian Paddon, who died on 20 June 2015, left a job in industry to join the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1969 where he remained until his retirement in 1994. He is remembered for helping many a young student struggling with the basics of chemical engineering, and young academics still finding their feet.

Emeritus Professor Peter Linder, who died on 3 July 2015, was an active member of the Department of Chemistry, which he joined as a senior lecturer in 1952 after obtaining a PhD from the University of Cambridge. During his time at UCT, he trained and mentored many research students who went on to pursue significant careers. He retired in January 1994.

Emeritus Associate Professor Bryan Davies, who passed away on 2 July 2015, was a freshwater ecologist in the Department of Zoology at UCT from 1980 until his early retirement in 2003. He was instrumental in the founding of the Freshwater Research Institute and highly regarded within the environmental community. He is remembered for being a passionate lecturer, postgraduate mentor and an enthusiastic researcher.

Douglas Roberts who was a prominent member of the University Building and Development Committee, passed away on 11 July 2015. Roberts graduated from UCT's Faculty of Architecture in 1961 and went on to study at the Venetian Scuole de'Arte, Italy, and at Yale University in the United States before returning to South Africa to establish the firm now known as R&L Architects.

Dr Khairunisa Parker, one of Cape Town's first Muslim women doctors, passed away at the Rondebosch Medical Centre on Sunday 12 July 2015 at age 81. Parker, who lived and was schooled in Salt River, enrolled for the medical degree at UCT in 1953 – an unusual step for a young woman at the time. She graduated in 1959 and went on to work at Langa day hospital where, while quietly tending to those who were affected and ill, she was eyewitness to many historic moments. She leaves behind her husband Abou Desai, her daughter Fatima and son Rasheed, her grandson Shadley and two adopted grandsons, Banele and Odwa.

Photo by Michael Hammond.


UCT opera star wins Belvedere competition
Monday, 6 July 2015

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Tenor Levy Sekgapane of UCT's Opera School has won the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition 2015 finals, held in Amsterdam on 4 July.

Among his prizes, Sekgapane has been awarded opera engagements (if roles are available) at the Aalto Theater und Philharmonie Essen, the Festliche Operngala der Deutschen AIDS-Stiftung and the Gran Teatre del Liceu Barcelona. The opera jury donated these. He also won the Wil Keune Prize, donated by the media jurors.

Sekgapane was one of four UCT singers (three alumni and a student from the Opera School at the South African College of Music), who competed in the finals. They accounted for more than a quarter of this year's 15 finalists from countries as diverse as South Korea, Canada, the US, Georgia, Russia, Finland, Slovenia and Norway.

The competition has been a springboard for world-renowned stars such as UCT alumna Pretty Yende, who won the first prize for opera in 2009.

The finals of the next competition will be held in Cape Town in 2016.

Photo caption: UCT's Opera School tenor Levy Sekgapane (middle) has won the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition 2015. He is flanked by runners-up soprano Lise Davidsen of Norway and tenor Ki Hun Park of South Korea.

Story by Helen Swingler. Photo courtesy of the 34th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition 2015.


Born in the RSA pays homage to Simon
Thursday, 25 June 2015

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To mark the 20th anniversary of the passing of theatre legend Barney Simon, the Baxter Theatre Centre, in association with the National Arts Festival, will present a revival of Born in the RSA, 30 years after its world premiere.

Devised by Barney and the original cast, the docu-drama lays bare a slice of everyday South Africa at the height of apartheid. After its first performance in 1985, the play toured to great acclaim in South Africa, England and the USA, where The New York Times applauded its "... dramatic, emotional and intellectual energy".

Directed by Thoko Ntshinga, this historic play comes to the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio from 8 July to 8 August at 7pm, following its debut at the National Arts Festival from 2 to 4 July. UCT Drama Department's exhibition about the life and work of Barney Simon will be on display in the Baxter foyer.

Book at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet.


Blanket Drive: Destination Diep River
Wednesday, 17 June 2015

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Freedom Day in the Diep River informal settlement was warmly celebrated thanks to the CHED Transformation Committee who distributed blankets and fleeces donated by UCT staff members to members of the community.

This was CHED's way of getting faculty members involved in both inward and outward facing transformation activities according to Cheryl Brown, acting chair of CHED's Transformation Committee.

"Although we all have the freedom to vote, continued inequalities in our society persist. The blanket drive was our way of acknowledging this," Brown said.

The committee members Gadija Arend, Janine Peters, Nicole Lesch, Wilma Adams and Rondine Carstens handed the blankets to the women and children that emerged from their shacks (pictured left). The organisers see the 'Blanket Drive' as the start of other initiatives to up-skill the community.

Rubenita, a grade two learner at Heathfield Primary School, shared her joy upon receiving a blanket: "Winter in a home that is not made with bricks is very cold," she said.


Bumper graduation for law
Friday, 12 June 2015

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On 11 June the Faculty of Law graduated four PhDs, all members of the academic staff team (from left), Julie Berg, Esther Gumboh, Kathy Idensohn and Meryl du Plessis.

Speaking at a graduation breakfast before the ceremony, dean of the Faculty of Law Professor PJ Schwikkard said: "Graduations are just the best of occasions in any dean's calendar, and it gives me great pleasure to welcome our graduates and their families this morning.

"The June graduation is traditionally weighted towards post-LLB degrees and today is no exception. We will cap 50 LLMs, 15 MPhils, 14 postgraduate diploma awardees and 4 PhDs as well as 17 LLBs – a wonderful 100 in total.

"Most wonderful of all is that our four PhDs are all staff and we will be welcoming them back this afternoon as doctors."

Berg's thesis (she was supervised by Professor Clifford Shearing) tackled polycentric security governance. Du Plessis's thesis (she was supervised by Professor Alan Rycroft) examined access to work for disabled people in South Africa and focused on the intersections of social understandings of disability, substantive equality and access to social security. Gumboh's thesis (her supervisor was Professor Danwood Chirwa) presented a critical analysis of the impact of the Bill of Rights on punishment in Malawi. Idensohn's thesis tackled the basis and boundaries of employee fiduciary duties in South African common law (her supervisor was also Professor Alan Rycroft).


Fisher celebrates 50 years at UCT
Wednesday, 10 June 2015

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UCT's Traffic Department had the rare opportunity to celebrate the 50th year of service with officer Harry John Fisher – who started his career at UCT on 8 June 1965 at the age of 15 years old. At this time his father had taken ill, and his uncle (who was working in the garden section at UCT at the time) advised him to come work with him. In 1982 he became supervisor of his section, with 28 staff members under his guidance.

In 1999, UCT's gardening services were outsourced and Fisher joined the Traffic Department, where he was promoted to a supervisor's position in 2003 – a post he continues to serve in today. Having witnessed and worked with the growing traffic flow on campus over the past years, he is now looking forward to retirement with his wife, three children and three grandchildren.

Photo caption (from left): Traffic Manager Keith Witbooi with Harry Fisher and Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price.


Car culture under the spotlight
Tuesday, 9 June 2015

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Academic literature on urban history is strangely silent on the history of the car.

So explained Assoc Prof Shamil Jeppie, director of the Institute for Humanities in Africa (HUMA), while serving on a panel focused on African automobilities and cultures of the road. His fellow panellists were Dr Mbugua wa Mungai of the Kenyatta University in Nairobi and Wamuwi Mbao, a lecturer from Stellenbosch University.

A research interest for Jeppie is the role and importance of cars for people living on the Cape Flats. He believes a three-volume history of the car is needed, especially in light of the fact that one of the most-read publications in South Africa is Auto Trader, where second-hand cars are advertised for sale.

Mbugua wa Mungai's interest revolves around Kenya's matatu (informal taxi) industry. He believes people's behaviour on roads gives insight into a nation and that, at times, the matatu industry represents the worst aspects of Kenya.

Wamuwi Mbao, a coordinator of the Stellenbosch Literary Project (SLiP), considers fuel and the way people relate to it as one of the unexamined aspects of everyday life. He observes that people consider fuel with "a degree of reverence" and that filling stations have come to represent much more than just places to refuel. "Filling up has become a process of refreshment while filling stations have become familiar beacons – where we go to ask directions when we're lost – in the urban jungle."

For more on the workshop that followed on from this discussion, visit the Humanities website.

Photo caption: Discussing the significance of roads and cars in modern day life are (from left) Wamuwi Mbao, Assoc Prof Shamil Jeppie and Dr Mbugua wa Mungai. (Photo by Je'nine May.)


Research in Africa boosted through agreement
Monday, 8 June 2015

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UCT recently signed an agreement with the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) to promote research on the continent.

VC Dr Max Price (right) and Dr Carlos Lopes (left), executive secretary of UNECA, entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) aimed at extending interdisciplinary research in Africa and promoting regional and continental engagement to drive the transformation agenda in industry and tertiary education.

Both UCT and UNECA expressed the hope that the "joint academic and research activities will help to bridge the research-policy gap to better inform the academic research on pressing policy issues and to bring academic research more to the attention of policymakers and governments".

UNECA is mandated to promote the economic and social development of its member states, foster intraregional integration and promote international cooperation for Africa's development. It is one of five regional UN commissions and works together with among others governments, civil society and academic institutions to promote Africa's economic and social development.

Photo by Michael Hammond.


EBE celebrates research excellence
Friday, 5 June 2015

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Acknowledged for having the best-ranked research profile for the last five years, Prof Gerald Nurick from the Department of Mechanical Engineering received the Professorial Research Award from the Faculty of Engineering & the Built Environment (EBE).

EBE staff and students were rewarded for their outstanding research work last month in a bid to raise the faculty's research profile. Nurick (right – photographed here with DVC Prof Danie Visser) was among those honoured for their outstanding research work. Nurick has worked in the field of impact dynamics for over twenty years and in that time has supervised over 60 MSc, PhD and post-doctoral students. He also produced more than 130 academic publications on a range of topics.


Prestigious medal for biomedical engineering student
Thursday, 4 June 2015

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Kevin Sack has received the South African Association for the Advancement of Science S2A3 medal for 2014. The medal honours outstanding South African research students graduating at the master's level.

In a nutshell, Sack's MSc – which he was awarded with distinction – outlined a new material model suitable for describing cardiac tissue within a computational framework. His supervisor was Dr Sebastian Skatulla of the Department of Civil Engineering.

Sack explains: "Our model, the 'Cosserat fibre continuum', accounted for bending and twisting, directly in the material model, which is not usually considered in classical mechanics."

He said that as the heart is composed out of mostly myocyte fibres, accurately accounting for their full range of deformation is an important research question.

"It goes without saying that winning the medal was an incredible honour," Sack added. "I'm sure there were many equally deserving candidates and I am grateful my work was chosen from them."

Sack is currently registered for a PhD in biomedical engineering to produce a computational model of an infarcted heart. He is currently visiting the University of Southampton as part his training.

Photo caption: Kevin Sack (foreground), winner of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science S2A3 medal for 2014, photographed with his supervisor, Dr Sebastian Skatulla, of the Department of Civil Engineering.


UCT alumni say 'no' to xenophobia
Friday, 29 May 2015

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In light of the recent xenophobic attacks on refugees and economic migrants in South Africa, UCT's Development and Alumni Department (DAD) arranged for an anti-xenophobia banner to be signed by members of the university's alumni community.

Messages of support were etched onto the banner by students, alumni and staff, including Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price. The signing took place in the Baxter Theatre foyer on Africa Day, 25 May, before a free commemorative concert that DAD hosted in the theatre complex's Concert Hall. Frank Paco, Dizu Plaatjies and Amanda Tiffin (with their ensembles) performed at the concert.

The banner has since found a home in DAD's offices in the Old Admin Building.

Story by Yusuf Omar. Image by Je'nine May.


N-GAP creates five new UCT academic posts
Friday, 22 May 2015

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UCT has been awarded over R10 million to create five new academic posts.

This is in terms of the New Generation of Academics Programme (N-GAP) initiated by the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) as part of its broader Staffing South Africa's Universities Framework. N-GAP seeks to address the challenges of transformation and the aging higher education workforce.

The new posts are in the disciplines of architecture, human biology, African studies, public law and environmental sciences. These posts are among 125 permanent academic posts created at local universities. For the first six years the posts are funded by the DHET, after which the universities takes over funding.

"This is a fantastic opportunity for UCT to appoint young black South African academics through this programme and promote transformation at UCT," said deputy vice-chancellor for institutional innovation, Professor Francis Petersen.

The advertisements for these posts will appear on the UCT website soon.


Children's hospital mural gives wings to smiles
Wednesday, 20 May 2015

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The Research Centre for Adolescent and Child Health (REACH) at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital sports a cheerful new Lovell Friedman ceramic mural, which has delighted children visiting this facility.

An art teacher and international lecturer, Friedman has a Master of Fine Art in Ceramic Sculpture (cum laude) from UCT. Her new design is inspired by a butterfly metamorphosis series. The triangular geometric shapes transform into cocoons, butterflies and negative forms become flying birds.

In her proposal, Lovell said: "The forms are inspired by Escher's etchings but more loosely rendered and different in colours and form. In my research on art in different hospitals, I found that healing art should portray aspects of nature that is both imitative and imaginative and depicts positive images such as flowers, water and nature.

"This positive representation of nature and evolution benefits children by directing their thoughts away from fear and illness towards something positive and tranquil. Thus the beautiful butterfly begins to take shape from a cocoon; transforming themselves into images of flight and hope."

The artwork was commissioned and funded by the UCT Works of Art Committee. REACH, which opened in 2013, is a state-of-the-art, expanded clinical research unit and serves as a hub supporting clinical research sites in the community and other healthcare facilities.


UCT alumnus an EU human rights defender
Tuesday, 19 May 2015

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Dr Livingstone Sewanyana, who obtained a law doctorate from UCT, recently received the 2015 European Union (EU) Human Rights Defender Award in Kampala, Uganda.

Livingstone (middle, pictured with EU representatives) set up a leading human rights group in Uganda, namely the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative and was awarded the Pan-African Human Rights Defender Award in 2013.

In his recent acceptance speech he advocated for an expanded political space where citizens gave direct input into who leads them and how resources are allocated. Livingstone was one of 50 nominees for this year's EU award, which pays tribute to human rights activists across the world.

He completed his PhD at UCT in 2012. The focus of his research was the NGO regulatory framework in Southern and Eastern Africa. Following this research he expressed the hope that his doctoral thesis would guide states that seek to promote full citizen participation in the development process.

Story by Abigail Calata. Image supplied.


Football for Africa
Monday, 18 May 2015

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It's become a mainstay of UCT's Africa Month calendar and Saturday's mini Africa Cup of Nations football tournament lived up to the standards set by its predecessors.

Four teams, each representing a region on the continent, battled it out on 16 May for the shiny trophy reserved for UCT's fourth annual AFCON champions.

Organised by UCT's International Academic Programmes Office, the football fest featured teams representing East Africa, West Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. In the picture, a Ghana Student Society player (in red) tries to evade encircling Zimbabwe Student Society defenders.

West Africa won the tournament for the third year running after beating the Swazi Society 4-2 in the final. This after Swazi Society had beaten the East African team 4-1 in the first semi-final, and West Africa had put four unanswered goals past Zimbabwe in the second semi.

"It was a really successful tournament and testament to the social cohesion fostered by IAPO of bringing people from different countries together," said Chanda Chungu, who co-ordinated the event.

Story by staff reporter. Image by Luke Walker.


Order of Luthuli (Silver) for Frankel
Monday, 4 May 2015

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Bill Frankel, OBE, a long-time benefactor of UCT and chair of the Claude Leon Foundation, has been awarded the Order of Luthuli (Silver) by the South African government. This national order recognises his anti-apartheid activities, with particular reference to his involvement with Canon Collins' International Defence and Aid Fund for Southern Africa (IDAF).

Frankel was responsible for overseeing and secretly channelling funds into Southern Africa to pay for the legal costs of almost every political trial during the apartheid years. National orders are usually conferred annually on Freedom Day, but this year's ceremony was postponed to mourn those who died in the recent xenophobic violence.

The Claude Leon Foundation is one of UCT's Platinum funders (those who have donated over R50 million to UCT over the years). A grandson of Claude Leon, Frankel was born in South Africa and an alumnus of UCT. He is also a recipient of a Vice-Chancellor's Silver Medal for his services to human rights, constitutionalism, education and philanthropy.


Youth change-maker Keal leads the way
Friday, 24 April 2015

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Greg Keal, chair of the Student Representative Council entertainment and fundraising portfolio, has been honoured as a LeadSA Youth Hero of the Month for the Western Cape. He was photographed and videoed on campus during the recent handover of his award (see left).

While still at school, Keal founded and directed the NPO RiseUp, which encourages South Africa's youth to stand against human rights violations through peaceful protests, community work and petitions.

Among other things, Keal has collected textbooks for rural schools and protested against unconstitutional legislation. He is also a recipient of a World Changers Entrepreneur Challenge first prize for his proposal for a profitable and sustainable feeding scheme in rural schools around the Western Cape. This environmentally friendly scheme would also provide employment.

Last year Keal was involved in raising R80 000 for Makaputhu Children's Village outside Botha's Hill near Durban. This houses over 100 children affected by HIV/AIDS.

Story by Helen Swingler. Photo by Michael Hammond.


UCT Radio's Rise and Grind shines at MTN Radio Awards
Thursday, 23 April 2015

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UCT Radio breakfast team's boundary-breaking approach to broadcasting is the reason Rise and Grind won this year's MTN Radio Award for best campus breakfast show, maintains the show's host Duncan Patrick.

The 2015 MTN Radio Awards, which took place at the Sandton Convention Centre on Saturday 18 April, saw UCT Radio nominated in five categories – two of which were for Rise and Grind.

Patrick conceptualised the show four years ago with the intention of making it an accessible, "hybridised" programme, incorporating social media and online content to draw in listeners who might not be tuned in at that moment. For him, that's the secret to the show's success.

He explains the meaning behind the show's name: "It means get up and do; get up and go to the proverbial grindstone."

Tune in to Rise and Grind, featuring Duncan Patrick, Ivan Asem and Nikesh Ramaser, every week day from 07h00 on UCT Radio 104.5fm.

Photo caption: UCT Radio Rise and Grind show host Duncan Patrick.


Good vibrations
Wednesday, 22 April 2015

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Dignitaries, colleagues, students, friends and family were on hand to congratulate Prof Alphose Zingoni at the Cape Town launch of his book Vibration Analysis & Structural Dynamic for Civil Engineers.

First published by CRC Press (Taylor & Francis Group, London) in November last year, the book has already sold over 2 000 copies.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof Francis Petersen congratulated Zingoni on this publication. "Not only have you produced an excellent book for students, but for lecturers, researchers and practitioners as well. We are here today to celebrate a major scholarly achievement, an international book authored by one of our own."

Trueman Goba, chairman of the engineering company Hatch Goba said, "Industry expects universities to provide innovative solutions based on sound research. How grateful we are that Professor Zingoni and his UCT colleagues continue to do this work. The book fulfils a great technical need for practitioners."

Dr Gansen Pillay, deputy CEO of the National Research Foundation added his congratulations and said it was inspiring to have Zingoni serve as a role model for the younger generation.

Photo caption: Undergraduate and postgraduate students celebrate the launch of Prof Alphose Zingoni's book: (l-r) Rugare Masendeke, Nosakhare Enoma, Matthias Schulz, Alphose Zingoni, Abdulkadir Ibrahim and Kenny Mudenda. Photo by Angus Rule.


UCT opera stars to shine in La Traviata
Monday, 20 April 2015

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The crème de la crème of UCT's Opera School perform in the Cape Town Opera's staging of Verdi's La Traviata which runs at Artscape from 30 April to 9 May, 2015. The full cast lists can be viewed here.

Several cast members have recently been selected as finalists in two of the world's most prestigious opera competitions and will be jetting off soon to participate in the Belvedere Competition in Amsterdam and in Placido Domingo's Operalia Competitione at Covent Garden in July.

Based on Alexandre Dumas' The Lady of the Camellias, this tale of the courtesan with the heart of gold has invited countless stage and screen adaptations, including Pretty Woman.

Director Angelo Gobbato's production features the UCT Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Kamal Khan, with design by Michael Mitchell and choreography is by Sean Bovim. Book at Computicket.


Zimbabwe: rule of law under the cosh?
Thursday, 16 April 2015

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The rule of law is falling victim to political machinations in Zimbabwe, and this could be eroding one of the core pillars propping up that country's democracy, says Beatrice Mtetwa.

Mtetwa, a Zimbabwean human rights lawyer, was speaking at UCT's law faculty on 16 March, as part of the inaugural 'Leading in Public Life' programme at the university.

The law's power over Zimbabwe's policies and actions was being compromised from many sides, said Mtetwa. For instance, the country's previous constitution was amended often, seemingly to overcome court findings of unconstitutionality. This rendered 'precedent' meaningless, she said.

It was hoped that the new Zimbabwean constitution would lead to an improvement in the independence of the judiciary, for example, but this has not proven the case. Mtetwa pointed to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's recent remarks – about a challenge to the expulsion of members of the ruling party – put pressure on the judiciary. While the chief justice made a formal statement describing the comment as inappropriate, the damage to the independence of the judiciary was already done, she said.

"Whichever way the courts find, the public will believe the decision would not have come about had the statement not been made by the president," said Mtetwa. "The casualty of this is the rule of law."

This 'arbitrariness' in the law could have dire consequences for human rights, democracy and economic development, all of which lean heavily on the rule of law.

Photo by Michael Hammond


Thomson bags UCT Masters
Tuesday, 14 April 2015

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Medical gastroenterologist Professor Sandie Thomson (left in picture) won the 25th UCT Master's title at the Royal Cape Golf Club on Sunday 12 April.

Every year retired and current UCT staff vie for the honour of winning Ron's Mug and an opportunity to don the "vile green jacket".

Ron's Mug is a pewter mug from the country club in Dar es Salaam, donated by former staffer Ron Allen who initiated and sponsored the competition in 1991. Professor Jeremy Midgley (biological sciences) added the "vile green jacket" when he won the title in 2007.

Competing for Kate's Jug were spouses, family members and friends associated with UCT. The jug was donated by registrar Hugh Amoore and named after his wife, Kate Brown.

Brown had won the competition 11 times but this year was delighted to present Kate's Jug to Keith Roman (right in picture), husband of the former Dean of Health Sciences, Marian Jacobs.


Electrical Engineering celebrates academic excellence
Friday, 27 March 2015

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To celebrate their academic achievements, third and final year electrical engineering students on the 2014 Dean's merit list, were invited to join Department of Electrical Engineering staff on a hike to visit an old radar station at Slangkop recently.

Professor Mike Inggs, who heads up the Radar Remote Sensing Group in the department, gave a brief account of the history of radar and the role that a UCT professor, Basil Schonland, played in its development. South Africa was at the forefront of radar's early development and this critical technology helped the Allies win the Second World War.

The students were given the opportunity to explore the various radar buildings before visiting the old naval guns above Simonstown. They were also treated to a braai and had an opportunity to interact with HoD, Prof Ed Boje, and the academic staff.

"The outing was not only to celebrate achievements, but to encourage students to keep up their good performance and to think about postgraduate possibilities," Prof Boje said.

Caption: Third and final year students from the Department of Electrical Engineering explore the old radar station at Slangkop.


Google Hangout with VC and The Daily Vox
Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price will be in conversation with Faranaaz Parker, managing editor of local news website The Daily Vox on 26 March 2015. They'll be talking transformation in higher education, institutional racism, and the #RhodesMustFall debate.

It's an opportunity for students and staff to pose questions to the vice-chancellor about these issues. Send your questions to The Daily Vox beforehand on Twitter, Facebook, thedailyvoxteam@gmail.com and WhatsApp: +27 72 899 4461.

The interview will be broadcast via Google Hangouts, and can be viewed live from 14h45. If you miss it or would like to revisit bits that piqued your attention, the video will be loaded to YouTube.


A 'one-stop-shop' for economics writers
Wednesday, 25 March 2015

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A new writing hub for economics students will help students get to grips with the finer points of translating complex data into flowing essays, says Professor Edwin Muchapondwa, director of the School of Economics.

The hub will enable students, tutors, lecturers, writing consultants and librarians to pool their expertise in order to provide training and advice about essay writing. Muchapondwa says undergraduate students, particularly first-years, could use the centre to get into good writing habits as soon as they arrived on campus.

One of the hub's writing coordinator Richard Bryce, who is also a final-year law student, drafted the proposal to reinvigorate the old writing hub on Upper Campus, which is on level 3 of the Leslie Social Sciences Building.

Caption: Celebrating the opening of the School of Economics Writing Hub in Leslie Social Sciences Building are, from left: Ashleigh Fynn (monitoring and evaluation officer), Tessa Moll (writing consultant), Richard Bryce (writing coordinator), Professor Edwin Muchapondwa (School of Economics director), Leonette Craffert (first-year teaching assistant), Samson Mbewe (second- and third-year teaching assistant).

Story by Yusuf Omar. Image by Michael Hammond.


UCT graduates prepare for Beijing
Monday, 23 March 2015

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Four UCT postgraduate students have been selected for the competitive postgraduate scholarship programme at the Yenching Academy of Peking University in Beijing, China. The students, all young women, will be completing a Master of Arts in China Studies. The programme seeks to provide students from around the world with a broad interdisciplinary knowledge of China as its role in global affairs continues to grow. The four will leave for Beijing in August.

Nothando Khumalo and Thuthukile Mbanjwa completed their master's degrees in civil engineering in 2014. Both will be doing the economics and management stream in the programme. Both have professional and personal goals for their time in China.

"I hope to merge my knowledge of civil engineering with a better understanding of economics and management, in order to deepen my understanding of the relationship between infrastructure management and economics," says Mbanjwa, who plans to use this opportunity to become a leader in her field.

"As well as the educational opportunity," says Khumalo, "I am excited to be immersed in a completely different culture and build new friendships with a diverse range of people."

Wadeisor Rukato and Sihle Isipho Nontshoweni completed their honours and master?s degrees respectively in political science. Both will pursue the public policy and international relations streams. Wadeisor says she is most looking forward to leaving her comfort zone: "I believe that when people are challenged by discomfort or the unfamiliar, they are given an opportunity to morph into better, more empowered versions of themselves."

Story by Natalie Simon. Photo by Daniel Ng, accessed via Wikimedia Commons.


Shaved or sprayed? Supporting UCT's fifth CANSA Shavathon
Friday, 20 March 2015

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Every year, medical students get shaved or sprayed in the name of raising cancer awareness. This annual event, held on 6 March this year and run for the last five years, is hosted by the CANSA-funded laboratory of Assoc Prof Sharon Prince and supported by the South African Medical Students Association, The Humanitarians and several students and staff from the faculty.

Here Jaco Botha and Magali-Erika Adjovi show their support and get sprayed by Zizipho Ndlawa, Danica Smuts and Joy-Mari Buys. Photo by Michael Hammond.


Raymond Ackerman's birthday treat
Wednesday, 11 March 2015

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In what has become an annual celebration SHAWCO and RAG students visited Pick n Pay founder and UCT alumnus Raymond Ackerman to wish him a happy birthday, present him with a multi-layered cake and express their thanks for his unwavering support of both student organisations.

The birthday tradition dates back to the early 1980s and RAG members have taken a birthday cake to Ackerman every year since then. He has annually supported SHAWCO and his family have close links with RAG. His daughter Suzanne was RAG chair in 1984 and his son Gareth was RAG chair in 1980. They have all supported SHAWCO in their individual capacity, as has Pick n Pay, and both RAG and SHAWCO are extremely grateful for their ongoing support.

Birthday greetings: UCT alumnus and benefactor Raymond Ackerman (middle) received birthday wishes from RAG and SHAWCO. Celebrating with him are (from left to right) Skylar Motlantshe (UCT RAG), Kgosi Moatshe (SHAWCO), Michelle Ramiah (SHAWCO), Jason Wicht (SHAWCO), Naledi Gcobo (SHAWCO), Raymond Ackerman's personal assistant Yvonne Cummins, Wendy Ackerman's personal assistant Juliet Taljaard, Amanda Gumede (UCT RAG), Nicole de Leeuw (UCT RAG) and Ntando Malueka (UCT RAG).


From student to master: Michaelis exhibitions underway
Friday, 6 March 2015

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The Michaelis School of Fine Arts' Masters Graduate Show is currently underway on Hiddingh campus.

The series of exhibitions mark the culmination of the Masters in Fine Arts programme and the works represent the range and depth of their art practices over the rigorous two-year degree.

Caption: An image from Christine Cronje's two-channel video called The Weeping. (Courtesy of Christine Cronje)

The 2015 Masters Graduate Shows include:

Each exhibition is hosted by Michaelis Gallery on Hiddingh Campus and attendance is free. To find out more, please call 021 480 7111.


Fleishman directs world premiere in Cape Town
Thursday, 5 March 2015

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One of the country's foremost theatre companies, Magnet Theatre is currently staging I Turned Away and She Was Gone, directed by the company's co-founder, Professor Mark Fleishman from UCT Department of Drama.

UCT alumnus Jennie Reznek wrote and stars in the production which is her first solo show in two decades. It explores interpersonal connections, the relationship with self and examines women's rites of passage, from young girl to woman.

Reznek says, "I Turned Away and She Was Gone is a powerful story for both males and females, capturing the delicate and beautiful cycle of life."

The play, which had its premiere on 18 February, runs Wednesdays to Saturdays at 20h00 until 14 March 2015. Bookings can be made online at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet. Tickets are also available at the Magnet Theatre box office.

Caption: UCT alumnus Jennie Reznek as she appears in I Turned Away and She Was Gone, currently showing at the Magnet Theatre.


Tierney fellows visit Michaelis
Friday, 27 February 2015

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Up and coming young visual artists benefited from the biannual Tierney Fellowship workshops that took place recently at the Michaelis School of Fine Art under the auspices of the Market Photo Workshops, WITS and the Michaelis School of Fine Art.

Created by Matthew Tierney in 2003, the fellowship identifies talented artists and photographic leaders and assists them in advancing their careers. At the workshop, the fellows had the opportunity to present and discuss their work with distinguished artists and academics such as David Goldblatt and Marilyn Martin.

The Tierney fellows work with mentors to develop a body of work for a professional exhibition. The 2014/15 Tierney fellows include Thandiwe Msebenzi from Michaelis who is mentored by UCT's Jean Brundrit and Svea Josephy.

Caption: From left: Market Photo Workshops founder David Goldblatt attends the Tierney workshop with UCT's senior scholar Marilyn Martin and Senior Lecturer Svea Josephy.


Ikeys trounce Madibaz in Varsity Cup home game
Wednesday, 25 February 2015

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Fifth-ranked UCT's Ikey Tigers picked up their first win of the season scoring 40-13 against Nelson Mandela University's Madibaz. The home game was part of the third round of the Varsity Cup rugby competition. After the team's draw against Stellenbosch's Maties and loss to Potchefstroom's TUKS, many are seeing this as a stellar come-back.

Proud Ikeys coach Kevin Musikanth adds: "NMMU are a good side and never stopped playing, despite at one stage being more than three scores behind, which is testament to the quality of the Varsity Cup".

He cautioned against any thinking that the Madibaz hadn't played a good game, "I thought the boys really put in a sterling performance. Taking into account that we have a young squad, I think there really was great effort from the team."

Caption: Lihleli Xoli (UCT-13) attacks with ball in hand. Courtesy of SASPA.


Solms and Baumann direct spotlight on mental health
Tuesday, 24 February 2015

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Mental health specialists Professor Mark Solms and Dr Sean Baumann will be participating in a post-show discussion about the treatment of mental illness. This follows the performance of the award-winning play Blue/Orange in the Baxter Golden Arrow Studio on Wednesday, 25 February, at 19h00.

Directed by UCT alumnus and senior lecturer at UCT's Drama School, Clare Stopford, Blue/Orange is a psychological thriller which brings psychiatric theory and practice under scrutiny. Solms, renowned neuropsychologist, will be in conversation with psychiatrist Baumann, whose diagnosis of Shrien Dewani recently made international headlines. Published experts in their fields, the academics will discuss psychiatric diagnosis in underprivileged communities and address the issue of professional and personal boundaries between practitioner and patient.

Blue/Orange runs until 14 March and tickets are R130 and are available through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet.


UCT to host Absa Cape Epic Prologue for the first time
Friday, 20 February 2015

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The University of Cape Town will for the first time play host to the Absa Cape Epic Prologue on Sunday, 15 March 2015. This year's race will see 1 200 riders start and finish the prologue on UCT's sports fields. The route is only 20km, but the 600m of hard climbing on the slopes of Table Mountain will be a sure test for their endurance.

Since its beginning in 2004, the annual eight–day Absa Cape Epic has become the world's foremost mountain bike stage race, attracting the world's leading professional riders and amateurs keen to test their limits in the rugged Western Cape countryside.

In the photo are this year's firm favourites to win, Swiss rider Christoph Sauser (back) and his Czech partner Jaroslav Kulhavy from the Investec–Songo–Specialised team. The photo was taken at last year's prologue at Meerendal by Nick Muzik.


City premiere for Run!
Friday, 6 February 2015

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Run! – a dance performance choreographed by Nicola Elliott will literally run from 11 – 14 February at UCT's Hiddingh Hall.

According to Elliott, Run! subverts the notion of women as "only soft and fragile and, in both a concrete and abstract way, engages the complex relationship between the female performer and the space and place of the stage".

Recipient of the 2014 Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Dance, Elliott is currently a guest lecturer in choreography at the School of Dance, and in movement for opera at the College of Music.

The show's cast includes UCT dance graduate Thalia Laric, UCT dance students Adriana Jamisse and Julia de Rosenwerth, as well as Ciara Barron and Jori Snell, with musical accompaniment by pianist Mareli Stolp.

Watch the Run! video preview

Run! is presented by the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA); call 021 480 7156 or email GIPCA for more information.

Photo by aMan Bloom.


Bathe Leadership Programme grows
Thursday, 5 February 2015

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The Klaus-Jürgen Bathe Leadership Programme, launched in November 2014, has been given a shot in the arm worth R7.28-million, thanks to another donation by Prof Klaus-Jürgen Bathe. This brings the funds Bathe has donated to the programme since March last year to R18-million.

The programme – targeted at UCT undergraduate students – is focused on producing graduates with outstanding leadership qualities and a strong sense of social justice, who will go on to play significant roles in business, government, industry and civil society in South Africa and on the African continent.

The additional funds allow the programme to support another twenty students, bringing the total of fully funded undergraduate UCT students to 46 over the short term. The programme will call for applications for the 2016 intake later this year.

Caption: Professor Klaus-Jürgen Bathe (left) with UCT's Professor Alphose Zingoni, who directs the programme.


UCT signs MoU with Beijing Normal University
Tuesday, 3 February 2015

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UCT's ongoing drive to boost co-operation with international peers received a boost with the signing a memorandum of understanding with Beijing Normal University (BNU) on 22 January 2015.

The non-binding MoU encourages staff from both universities to explore collaboration opportunities in teaching and research, and reflects UCT and BNU's broader agendas to strengthen partnerships between BRICS universities.

The institutions agreed to mutually pursue activities in a number of broad areas, including visits and research and study exchange programmes for graduate and undergraduate students; staff visits and exchanges related to teaching, research and discussions; information sharing (eg exchange of library materials and research publications); and joint research activities in fields of mutual interest.

Caption: UCT Deputy Vice-Chancellor Prof Francis Petersen (left) and Beijing Normal University's Chancellor Madam Chuangshen Liu sign a memorandum of understanding on behalf of their institutions.


New take on the Scottish play
Friday, 30 January 2015

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Marthinus Basson's acclaimed adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth, macbeth.slapeloos, will be staged at the Baxter Theatre from 4 to 21 February at 19h30 nightly.

The 'Scottish play' has already amassed nine awards and several nominations at various festivals around the country and features doyennes of Afrikaans theatre, Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Jana Cilliers and Antoinette Kellermann, alongside Dawid Minnaar in the title role.

Critic Nigel Vermaas called it "... brilliant theatre ... a dream production", while The Star Tonight's Diane de Beer wrote: "Those of us who witnessed what this wise wizard of magical storytelling pulled out of his hat, again, feel blessed."

Performed in Afrikaans with English surtitles, macbeth.slapeloos has an age restriction of 14 years. Booking is through Computicket on 0861 915 8000, online at www.computicket.com or at any Shoprite Checkers outlet.

Caption: Edwin van der Walt, Dawid Minnaar, Antoinette Kellermann, Anna-Mart van der Merwe, Senzo Madikane and Jana Cilliers star in macbeth slapeloos at the Baxter in February.


Popular Mechanics win for top engineers
Tuesday, 13 January 2015

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The Department of Mechanical Engineering's Dr George Vicatos and his MSc student Severin Tenim recently won the 'Cutting Edge' award at the Popular Mechanics annual FutureTech Conference 2014. This was for the design and development of a low cost, mechanically operated prosthetic hand.

Vicatos also won the Popular Mechanics South African Inventor of the Year award in 2011. His area of speciality is fusing his engineering expertise with a lifelong interest in the medical field to design titanium alloy bone implants and prostheses that have already changed the lives of more than 500 patients worldwide. The technology can salvage a damaged or diseased limb and avoid amputation.

"Because locally designed and produced products cost far less than imported equivalents and are delivered faster to the surgeons and hence to the patients, the lower cost is passed on directly to the patient. They're also more affordable to medical aids," said Vicatos.

Story by staff reporter. Image of prosthetic hand: The Department of Mechanical Engineering's Dr George Vicatos and MSc student Severin Tenim designed this award-winning mechanically operated prosthetic hand.


Afrikaans season of acclaimed theatre at the Baxter
Tuesday, 6 January 2015

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The Baxter Theatre Centre kicks off its 2015 programme in Afrikaans with three all-star productions.

Jaco Bouwer's Samsa-masjien takes to the Baxter's Flipside stage from 16 to 31 January at 20h15.

Marthinus Basson's macbeth.slapeloos will run in the Baxter Theatre from 4 to 21 February at 19h30.

From 20 January to 7 February – in the Baxter's Golden Arrow Studio – Vinette Ebrahim and Chris van Niekerk will delight in Die Ongelooflike Reis van Max en Lola at 20h15.

Book at any Shoprite Checkers outlet, via the Computicket website, or call 0861 915 8000. For discounted tickets or block bookings, contact Sharon Ward or Carmen Kearns.


UCT flowers spread Christmas cheer
Monday, 29 December 2014

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Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Danie Visser (right) was on hand last week to make the annual delivery of blue and pink hydrangeas – commonly known as Christmas roses – to Groote Schuur Hospital.

Belinda Jacobs (centre), acting chief operating officer, and Maureen Ross (left), director of nursing, received the flowers on behalf of the hospital.

The flowers will be distributed among the wards to bring some Christmas cheer to those patients who will spend the holidays in a hospital bed.

The annual hydrangea delivery – most likely initiated by nurses who make a point of decorating the wards over the festive season – is said to date back to 1938, the year the hospital opened.

These days the flowers are collected and delivered by the UCT gardening service, The Green Perspective.

Photo by Je'nine May.


Improving the protection of refugees in Southern Africa
Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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Leading experts on refugee law and senior officials from 12 SADC (South African Development Community) countries and the South African Department of Home Affairs converged on Cape Town in late November for a conference on international refugee law. Hosted by UCT's Refugee Rights Unit in partnership with the UCT's United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the conference was an opportunity for training and dialogue – particularly around cutting-edge developments in refugee law, such as the international legal framework for refugees' protection; an overview of the 1951 Refugee Convention; asylum and refugee policies in Southern Africa; the right to seek and obtain asylum under the African human rights system; refugee status determination in southern Africa; and strengthening refugee protection.

From left: UNHCR's regional representative for Southern Africa, Clementine Nkweta-Salami; Madagascan delegate Jean Max Rakotomamonjy; and director of the Refugee Rights Unit, Fatima Khan were among the refugee law experts that attended the conference on international refugee law, hosted by UCT and the UNHCR.


Vice-Chancellor's Medal for Alexander
Friday, 19 December 2014

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"Few conversations beat those in which you tell a young adult that their tuition fees are covered, and covered for the next five years," comments Pauline Alexander, recipient of the Vice-Chancellor's Medal in recognition of her important contribution to developing a new model for alumni relationships and fundraising for UCT.

Alexander joined UCT in 2002 and serves as development and marketing manager for the Faculty of Law.

UCT Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price said Alexander had become an integral part of almost every aspect of life in the faculty, recognising her "dedicated and innovative work – specifically the way she has established and maintained a loyal community of alumni who continue to give back to the university year after year".

The Vice-Chancellor's Medal was instituted during the 1980s. It is awarded, at the vice-chancellor's discretion, to someone who has made an important contribution to the university.

Photo by Michael Hammond.


Vice-Chancellor's Medal for Ackerman
Thursday, 18 December 2014

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Wendy Ackerman (left) was recently honoured by UCT when she received the Vice-Chancellor's Medal, awarded to an alumna or alumnus who has made a distinguished contribution to society.

Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price noted that Ackerman received the medal not just as a philanthropist, but as a human being, for the intelligence, empathy and passion that infuses all of her work, which she has passed on to her children and grandchildren.

Ackerman was the life governor of the former University of Cape Town Foundation. As a founder and executive director of Pick n Pay, Ackerman led the family business to the forefront of social responsibility initiatives, including Pick n Pay becoming the first company in South Africa to offer free antiretrovirals to employees living with HIV/AIDS.


Comedy and laughter at the Baxter Theatre
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

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The festive season is in full swing at the Baxter Theatre with three comedy productions, a children's show and a new year party.

Joe Barber VI – Life celebrates its 15th birthday at the Baxter Theatre until 10 January at 20h00 nightly.

This is Captain Lottering Speaking is in full flight at 20h15 until 10 January.

WhatWhat will wow audiences from 1 December until 10 January, Mondays to Saturdays at 20h15.

My Forever Friend runs until 10 January, with two shows daily at 10h00 and 12h00, Mondays to Saturdays.

On 31 December, a new year's eve party commences after the shows – with audiences invited to sing, dance and party with their favourite stars. All shows start later and tickets include the show, a complimentary drink, a spectacular balloon drop and a performance by Kinky Afro.

Book via Computicket or at Shoprite Checkers. For discounts, block bookings, charities or fundraisers, contact Sharon Ward on 021 680 3962 or Carmen Kearns on 021 680 3993.


Life and times of Madonsela
Monday, 8 December 2014

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UCT's Dr Bongi Bangeni and political commentator Judith February shine a spotlight on the extraordinary life of South Africa's public protector Thuli Madonsela in a local podcast series in partnership with the Mail and Guardian.

In an episode of Extraordinary Lives, Bangeni, senior lecturer in the Language Development Unit, discusses with February the traits that make Madonsela one of the world's most influential figures.

Presented by Jonathan Ancer, the podcast series profiles remarkable people that have impacted South Africa and the world. It is inspired by the BBC's Great Lives and produced by Triple World Score Media.

Stream the Extraordinary Lives podcast or read Madonsela's brief biography on the Mail and Guardian website.

Image courtesy of GovernmentZA under Creative Commons license.


Early Christmas in Khayelitsha
Friday, 5 December 2014

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Christmas came early for 64 children at the Khayelitsha Isiseko Literacy Centre, thanks to gifts and books collected from the UCT community by the Centre for Higher Education Development's (CHED) Transformation Committee.

Run by eight community volunteers and funded by individuals and small organisations, the Isiseko Literacy Centre teaches literacy to children from under-resourced backgrounds.

A few days beforehand, the ZK Matthews Gallery in CHED's headquarters was transformed into a production line with assembly stations for clothing, stationery, toiletries, toys and luxuries, all of which were packed into shoeboxes for delivery.

Committee member Nicole Lesch explained: "Since the focus was on transformation, the idea behind the activity was to invite staff members to participate in the event as a community."

On the distribution day, the committee members were welcomed at the Isiseko Literacy Centre with lively dance performances and songs by the Isiseko children. This was followed by a site visit, lunch, and the eagerly awaited distribution of gifts.

Chair of the transformation committee, Associate Professor Mbulungeni Madiba (back row in picture, in red), said: "It is amazing to see the work that ordinary people are doing in the township to improve the lives of many children and to prepare them for education."

Find out more info about the Isiseko Literacy Centre and make a donation.


Grounded: theatre in flight
Wednesday, 3 December 2014

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Grounded – a theatrical work currently showing on international stages – has landed in Cape Town for its South African premiere this week at the Arena Theatre, Hiddingh campus.

The acclaimed work has won the Fringe First award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the National New Play Network's Smith Prize. Written by George Brant and presented by the Mechanicals, it follows the unusual journey of a drone pilot living on the opposite side of the world. Dismissive of her paradoxical role as a safe combatant, the protagonist – a trained female fighter pilot – explores the shifting roles of the military in a contemporary battlefield.

Bookings: www.webtickets.co.za

Venue: Arena Theatre 37 Orange Street, Gardens

Dates: 04 - 13 December

View the official Grounded flyer here.


UCT student's thesis tops the pile
Tuesday, 2 December 2014

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UCT engineering student Sam Wegener won the 2014 South African Institution of Civil Engineering (SAICE) Barry van Wyk Award for the best undergraduate thesis on a geotechnical engineering topic.

Wegener, who graduated with a BSc in engineering from UCT last year, submitted a dissertation titled The Effect of Vibratory Pile Driving on the Original Gravity Structure Quay Wall at Ben Schoeman Dock Berth 603, Port of Cape Town.

Wegener was supervised by Dr Denis Kalumba, a geotechnical engineering expert in the Department of Civil Engineering. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in civil engineering at UCT, specialising in geotechnical engineering.

The award is presented annually to the best thesis on a geotechnical engineering topic. This is the fourth time in six years that a UCT student has won this coveted award.


SA College of Music immortalised in new ringtones
Thursday, 27 November 2014

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The South African College of Music (SACM) at UCT has produced five of the new Microsoft Lumia 535 ringtones as part of the Microsoft Sounds of the World project, which has been creating ringtones from regions around the world.

The project, championed by principal sound designer at Microsoft, Henry Daw, was initiated a year ago with the idea of creating localised ringtones for their devices. Inspiration for the project started in the School of Oriental and African Studies' (SOAS) music department in London, where ethnomusicology is a main focus. From there, Microsoft decided to take the project global. Daw and his team visited four continents and met more than 150 music students in their search for the right ringtones. He set up workshops and seminars with the SACM, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music in China and the KM Music Conservatory in India. The final selection are now included as ringtones on the Lumia 535, the first Microsoft-branded Lumia.

"Creating different ringtones from the four corners of the Earth, and learning about music cultures and music education, was an eye-opening experience," says Daw. "In Cape Town, the African percussion department introduced to us some drums I'd never even heard of."

Listen to the full SACM ringtones playlist on SoundCloud or listen to the individual ringtones below:

African Hue | Back in Town | Djembe Jig | Kalimba Sunrise | Tabletop

Listen to more Lumia ringtones.


World War I in Africa
Wednesday, 19 November 2014

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2014 marks the centenary of the beginning of the world's first global conflict, the Great War, later known as World War One, which saw the rise of a new world order. Some 40 000 South Africans of all races volunteered in service of the British Empire. Altogether over two million people in Africa fought on the side of their colonisers, many being forcibly recruited.

To mark the importance of this war in world history, UCT Libraries have mounted an exhibition – with posters, books and archival material such as medals, field diaries and letters sourced from UCT Special Collections – in the Chancellor Oppenheimer Library foyer (level 4 research wing), and Special Collections in the Jagger Library.

The library will continue to recognise important events of the war over the next four years – starting with a virtual display of war poets, researched by Alexander d'Angelo.

Exhibition curator: Renate Meyer
Research: Beverley Angus
Photo research: Andre Landman
Poster layout: Brian Muller


Prizes for best postgraduate talks
Tuesday, 18 November 2014

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Eighteen presentations in November by the Department of Biological Science's postgraduate students showcased some of the department's best research. It was the first postgraduate research day for the department, now almost two years old.

"It was truly impressive to see such high quality of work presented by our students," said head of department, Professor Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan. Prizes were awarded for the best MSc and PhD talks.

MSc candidate Jannes Landschoff won the prize for his talk, titled 'Insights into the brooding of a brittle star' (brittle stars are echinoderms, closely related to starfish), and Robert Skelton took the best PhD talk award for his topic, 'The remarkable diversity of fynbos hydraulic responses to drought'.

Landschoff CT-scanned several brittle stars and showed juveniles within brooding pouches (located between each of the brittle star's arms), which were miniatures of the adults. "There are no larval forms," Chinsamy-Turan explained. "Thus, these brittle stars give birth to live young (they are viviparous) that are miniatures of the adults."

Skelton's PhD found that different fynbos species display different 'hydraulic strategies': distinct reliance on summer rainfall, cloud moisture and different responses to summer drought. He used this knowledge to determine how vulnerable these plant communities are to potential long-term changes in environmental conditions.

Photographed here are (from left) Dr Adam West, Jannes Landschoff, Robert Skelton and Prof Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan.


'Queen of Rain' Jill Farrant featured on 21 Icons
Monday, 17 November 2014

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Professor Jill Farrant, of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, is featured in 21 Icons, a photographic project by Australian-born photographer Adrian Steirn dedicated to honouring the work of men and women who have shaped the world around them for the better.

The 21 Icons project is inspired by the life of Nelson Mandela, and tells the stories of people who have continued his legacy. Other icons featured on the show include Albie Sachs, Anant Singh, Preggs Govender and Pieter Dirk-Uys.

Professor Farrant, African/Arab States recipient of the 2012 L'Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science, is a leader in the field of plant response to drought conditions. Her research focuses on understanding the mechanisms used by so-called 'resurrection plants' to 'return to life' within 24 hours after rain. Her research is likely to be critical in the development of drought-tolerant crops that might combat food insecurity in Africa in the face of climate change.

21 Icons, featuring Jill Farrant, aired on SABC 3 on Sunday 16 November. Watch the full show:


UCT wins three awards in a first at international congress
Friday, 7 November 2014

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UCT excelled at the 27th International Mineral Processing Congress (IMPC), taking three of ten Young Author Awards - awarded for the most outstanding papers presented, where the main author is under 35 years.

"This had never happened before at an IMPC, that one university received three out of the ten Young Author Awards," said Emeritus Professor Cyril O'Connor, the chair of the IMPC Council. The awards went to Margreth Tadie (PhD student, right), Lucy van de Ruit, (MSc student, left), and Dr Lawrence Bbosa (senior lecturer, middle), all from the Centre for Minerals Research in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

Director of the Centre for Minerals Research, Professor Dave Deglon commented, "This is an exceptional outcome for three young authors out of ten to come from the same institution and, in this case, from the same research centre. The IMPC is the premier world conference in minerals processing and delegates attend from hundreds of research institutions around the world."

The congress was held in Santiago, Chile in October, and the Department of Chemical Engineering was well represented with 14 delegates attending.

Photo supplied.


Xhosa course attracts international, philosophy students
Thursday, 6 November 2014

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No fewer than half of the 42 UCT students completing a course in Xhosa communication skills this semester were international students.

Students from the Department of Philosophy were also well represented among those who received certificates for completing the course on 2 October 2014. These students at the same time engaged in a pilot course on Xhosa ethics focusing on ubuntu, a philosophy that works from the premise that "I am because we are".

Associate Professor Mbulungeni Madiba, the co-ordinator of the Multilingual Education Project and deputy dean of the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED), was on hand to present students with their certificates. He encouraged students to learn more languages and to equip themselves with intercultural communication competences.

The course is offered each year – with participants learning conversation basics like greeting and making personal introductions. For more information or to register for the Masithethe isiXhosa course, go to www.mep.uct.ac.za.


Paediatric students applauded
Wednesday, 5 November 2014

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UCT's Department of Paediatrics and Child Health recently celebrated students who successfully completed their College of Paediatricians exams.

Departmental head Professor Heather Zar (in blue in the back row, photographed with some of this year's students) commended these students on their achievement and praised their families and friends as well as the departmental staff who supported them. "We have good reason to be proud of these results this year – it is an incredible achievement. We also had a very successful through-put rate."

Each year the students who sit these exams, which include the fellows of the African Paediatric Fellowship Programme, are lauded for the incredible effort they put into qualifying in their chosen field of specialisation.


Klatzow wins top music award
Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Peter Klatzow has won the Helgaard Steyn Award for the second time in 20 years. Dedicated to promoting artistry, the Helgaard Steyn Award of R500 000 is one of the most-valued art prizes in South Africa and was awarded for Klatzow's work, LIGHTSCAPES for marimba and small ensemble.

The work impressed adjudicators with its "various harmonic layers in a multi-tonal language ... The sound-world Klatzow created was fresh and 'magical'."

He first won the award in 1994 for his piano work From the Poets.


Cafe Scientifique gets new sponsor
Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Cafe Scientifique – a "science for the sociable" platform where UCT research is shared with members of the public over a glass of wine – is being sponsored in 2015 by intellectual property (IP) law firm Spoor & Fisher.

Prof Danie Visser (second from the right), deputy vice-chancellor responsible for research, welcomed the new sponsor, represented by Dirk Hanekom (second from the left).

"Spoor & Fisher is a specialist IP law firm, and it was therefore a natural fit for us to partner with RCIPS (Research Contracts and Intellectual Property Services) in making these events possible," said Hanekom. "We are excited and proud to be associated with Cafe Scientifique, and look forward to the 2015 programme."

Piet Barnard (far left), director of RCIPS, believes the events have stimulated considerable interest in UCT innovation activities. "Mentors for potential start-up companies have come forward and many useful questions have been asked by the attendees," he said. Also in the image is Dr Andrew Bailey, RCIPS' IP manager.

Photo by Michael Hammond

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