DECEMBER21/12/00: SA Debating Unions off to Scotland
to announce PhD scholarship
22/11/00:Blind cricket at Wits
16/11/00:T’kama-Adamastor book to be launched at Wits
15/11/00:Pre-University Accounting School
07/11/00:Top American physicist to speak at Wits
07/11/00: Planning for human resources for health care
01/11/00:Wits Engineers awarded
27/09/00: Bundy lands top international job
26/09/00: Ethics and AIDS
20/09/00: Youngsters in debating championships
04/09/00: Wits public debate on genetic engineering
22/08/00: Haywood to start Wits & Liberty 10K race
17/08/00: FIRST SAFARI 2000 SCIENCE FLIGHT
15/08/00: Scholarships for Wits & Liberty 10K race
14/08/00: Successful take off for SAFARI 2000 Science Project
04/08/00: Urban Renewal
02/08/00: Launch of new home for Wits Palaeo-Anthropology
01/08/00: Wits and Liberty to host 10K charity race
01/08/00: SAFARI 2000 update number 2
19/07/00: NASA’s environmental field campaign in SA
10/07/00: Architecture and dance at Urban Futures
10/07/00: Cameron in AIDS debate at Wits Great Hall
10/07/00: Moving public art – photos on taxis;
10/07/00: Urban Futures to discuss privatisation
09/07/00: Johannesburg and the urban world
05/07/00: Top speakers at Urban Futures
25/06/00: Wits gives free tuition to top learners
25/06/00: INDEPTH health studies urgently needed
23/06/00 Wits Council approves academic restructuring
19/06/00: Wits appoints bioethics prof
14/06/00: Wits to host Youth Day 2000 videoconference
03/06/00: Wits Council reiterates support for restructuring plans
30/05/00: Wits Council reiterates support for restructuring plans
30/05/00: Wits has followed the LRA
30/05/00: Wits Refutes NEHAWU Claims
29/05/00 New social research institute at Wits
22/05/00: Wits to honour Chief Justice Margaret Marshall
12/05/00: Wits uses cranes and trucks to save priceless rock art
12/05/00: Invitation to the opening of Kwere Kwere / Journeys into Strangeness
26/04/00: AMAZING FOSSIL FIND OF APE-MEN PAIR WILL REWRITE THE RECORD BOOKS
19/04/00: Wits conference on disability policy
07/04/00: Role of the humanities in higher education in South Africa (Word document)
31/03/00: International materials science conference in SA
31/03/00: Rock Art exhibition at Wits
31/03/00: Asmal to launch National Lecture Series
14/03/00: NASA scientists in South Africa for educational electronic theatre tour
13/03/00: Mnemosyne: the Greek goddess of memory and the mother of history
08/03/00: Wits inquiry into cancer researcher
07/03/00: Varsities to sign health partnership agreement
28/02/00 Where do we come from? Come to the weekend of our human origins
26/02/00 Wits Council approves major changes
08/02/00 Wits 2001 Academic Restructuring and Support Services Review:
Keeping staff informed
03/02/00 Researcher under investigation
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SA Debating Unions off to Scotland
The Wits Debating Union, along with teams from Stellenbosch, University of Cape Town, Medunsa and Rhodes, will depart from South Africa on 26 December to compete in the World University Debating Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. The annual championships, which this year will take place from 27 December to 4 January, feature over 50 university teams which will debate topics such as international relations, resolving military conflict, debt in the developing world, genetic engineering and other pressing issues.
Wits in corporate social-environmental study
Following the news that South Africa will host the Earth Summit in 2002, the University of the Witwatersrand announced on Tuesday 19 December more good news in the area of environmental research.
R6 million grant for microbiological research
The Innovation Fund Trust of the Department of Arts, Culture, Science & Technology awarded a R6 million grant to a Wits University coordinated research project to develop natural soil fertilizers.
Maths boost in January
Matriculants who have applied to study science or engineering at Wits University but fall short of a C in Higher Grade mathematics could still have a chance to make up the deficit.
Wits University’s School of Mathematics will offer a three-week intensive course in January covering selected topics in the matric maths syllabus. “In 56 hours of teaching, we aim to establish an appropriate level of competence for students who have not met our entry requirements,” said Mathematics Professor Kathy Driver who is leading this first ever pilot project.
Driver said the minimum requirements for acceptance into this course are matriculation exemption, a minimum of a C symbol in Standard Grade Maths or an E symbol in Higher Grade Maths; and the student must have applied to Wits with Science or Engineering as a first choice.
The course will run from 9 – 26 January from 09:00 to 13:00 daily at a cost of R500 (limited bursaries are available).
Driver said experienced mathematicians Professor Anne Love and Mrs Charlotte Brennan will lecture the 50 students who are selected.
On 29 January the students will write a three hour examination and those who pass, showing that they are at a level of understanding needed to succeed, will be accepted to study first year maths at Wits.
Driver encourages primary and high school learners to work hard at mathematics and to take the subject on Higher Grade in high school. She says the increasing demand for scientists and engineers in technology based economies means that there is no limit to the number of exciting career opportunities that await Wits graduates in these fields.
and enquiries for the January course will only be handled after the final matric
results are published.
Phone (011) 717-6204
or apply in person to Room 402 West Annex, Central Block, East Campus, Wits University between 2-5 January 2001.
more information, visit the website:
more information, or an interview with Prof Kathy Driver, media can contact
Martha Molete at (011) 717-1019 or cell: 083-327-0103 or
Wits joins with business to launch first SA fossil website for kids
The University of the Witwatersrand and Timeworld (Pty) Ltd. launched the first popular South African fossil website for kids, educators and anyone interested in our fossil heritage at Wits University on 12 December.
Head of Wits University’s Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research, Professor Bruce Rubidge, said “it is important for the University to work with the private sector to increase the amount of top educational materials available for young people who are our future scientists.” He added that schools can use the website and print pages as tools for teaching about South Africa’s rich fossil heritage. “The main aim is to stimulate interest in science amongst the public,” Rubidge said.
The subject of palaeontology (the study of fossils) is an ideal medium to stimulate an interest in science in South Africa as this country has an unsurpassed fossil heritage and South African palaeontologists have been world leaders in this field.” He added that Wits is a world leader in palaeontological research and this is a way of communicating the results of the University’s research to the public. The website is http://www.primeorigins.com and then click on timeworld.
Chairman of Timeworld, Marion Duncan, said: "This web site will significantly contribute to helping plug some of the gaps in Earth Sciences education in South Africa, which is in a drastic state." Results just in from The International Mathematics and Science Study - Repeat (TIMMS-R) that reviewed education in 38 countries - including developing nations - put South Africa at the very bottom of the world heap. Our Grade 8's scored particularly badly in the Earth Sciences.
For more information contact Martha Molete, Wits Media Relations Officer at: (011) 717-1019 or 083-327-0103 or email: email@example.com ENDS
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Wits signs R1.3 million education contract
The University of the Witwatersrand and Joint Education Trust signed a R1.3 million contract on 12 December for an Inclusive Education pilot project in North-West Province.
“Inclusive Education is a philosophy and system of education that accommodates all learners who are experiencing barriers to learning and development,” said the National Department of Education’s Eva Mahlangu, who was at the signing ceremony at Wits University. Examples of these barriers include poverty, race, language, culture and disability.
Wits is leading a consortium that includes University of North- West, the Catholic Institution of Education and the North-West Department of Education. Pilot projects will also be run in KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape over the next 18 months.
The three pilot projects are part of a R13 million project funded by the Danish International Development Fund. Once the pilot projects are concluded, the project will extend to all provinces and all 14 SADC nations.
“Wits University’s long tradition of excellence in teacher education and research and our concern with human rights in education put us in a very strong position to lead this project,” said Education Professor Shirley Pendlebury.
Project Manager Thabisile Levin, who works for JET and is based at the National Department of Education, said the project aims to build capacity at the national, provincial and district levels in the three pilot provinces, raise awareness and conduct action research.
Researchers will also evaluate the project and plan how it will be extended to all of South Africa and all 14 SADC countries, Levin said.
Ezma Flattery, pilot coordinator in the North-West Department of Education, said 13 schools in the province will take part in the project. “We hope after two years that these schools will be totally inclusive,” Flattery said. “We then hope to use these schools as role models for the whole of the province.”
The results of the three pilot projects will be presented at an international conference in South Africa in September 2002.
For more information, contact Martha Molete, Wits Media Relations Officer at: (011) 717-1019 or 083-327-0103 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org ENDS
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Fire season aids research on air and climate change
Fires that raged across southern Africa this August and September produced a thick "river of smoke" that observers compared with the aftermath of the Kuwaiti oil fires in 1991. Studies led by the University of the Witwatersrand on the event will contribute to improved air pollution policies in the region and a better understanding of its impact on climate change.
"We observed a river of smoke that moved from northwest to southeast over the subcontinent, causing heavy haze and reduced visibility over Botswana and South Africa for about 10 days in early September," said Wits University Professor Harold Annegarn, organiser of the Southern African Regional Science Initiative (SAFARI 2000).
"Every year African biomass burning greatly exceeds the scale of the fires seen this year in the western United States," says Dr Robert Swap of the University of Virginia, one of the organisers of the field campaign. "But the Southern African fire season we just observed may turn out to be an extreme one even by African standards. It was amazing how quickly this region went up in flames."
The intensive SAFARI 2000 six-week field campaign was planned to coincide with the dry-season fires. The experiment included observations from the National Aeronautical & Space Administration (NASA) Terra and Landsat 7 spacecraft, research aircraft including NASA's ER-2 high-altitude jet, and several ground stations. Over 200 scientists from around the world participated in the campaign, which ended on 25 September.
This year the southern African fire season peaked in late August and early September. The region is subject to some of the highest levels of biomass burning in the world. Planners tracked the changing location of fires with daily satellite maps provided by researchers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (Greenbelt, Md.).
The heaviest burning was in western Zambia, southern Angola, northern Namibia, and northern Botswana. Some fire fronts were 20 miles long. The thick haze layer from these fires produced between 23 August and 7 September was heavier than campaign participants had seen in previous field studies in the Amazon Basin and during the Kuwati oil fires.
According to veteran pilot Ken Broda, who flew NASA's ER-2 above the haze layer, "this was probably the worst in-flight visibility I've seen anywhere, even during the oil fires following the Persian Gulf war. From the ER-2's altitude of 60,000 feet, where normal visibility can stretch 60 miles, I couldn't clearly see the city of Johannesburg until I was directly overhead."
With instruments on the ground, in the air, and in space, scientists were able to sample the chemistry and measure the thickness of the smoke plumes, map the movements of the haze layer, and investigate how the smoke and fine aerosol particles affect clouds. "For the first time we were able to track this annual haze from its source and determine what happens to the aerosols in the haze," says Annegarn. "The measurements we have now of carbon transport in the haze, both as gases and particles, will add important pieces to balancing global carbon budgets."
Studies by research aircraft flying inside the pall of haze revealed several surprises. Aircraft encountered puzzling layers of extremely clean air sandwiched between polluted layers.
"The pollution in the region is often very stratified with height in the atmosphere," says Peter Hobbs of the University of Washington, principal investigator for the experiments onboard the university's Convair-580 aircraft. "Regions of heavy pollution were separated by a very thin – just a few hundred feet deep - layer of almost pristine air." The haze aerosols sampled were also more heat-absorbing than expected, which means the haze layer may have a significant warming influence on the region's atmosphere. "The aerosol in the region was surprisingly absorbing," says Hobbs. "Such aerosols may well add to the greenhouse warming effect, particularly in the mid-troposphere. Most aerosols are thought to offset that warming by scattering incoming solar radiation back into space."
The thick haze also contained high levels of ozone, a component of smog that frequently reached levels similar to those found during air pollution alerts in major US cities. Making the first balloon-borne measurements of ozone during the height of a southern African burning season, NASA Goddard scientist Anne Thompson found that the impact of the haze may be greater on climate change than on human health. "Ozone levels in US urban centers may be more unhealthy at the ground, but the ozone profiles we took in Zambia show that much of the ozone here is in the middle and upper troposphere where ozone's 'badness' is its effect as a greenhouse gas," says Thompson.
New air quality data collected during the campaign will also help governments in the region develop future environmental policies. Annegarn and other South African scientists are working to distinguish the industrial sources of air pollution from natural sources such as emissions from vegetation and soils. "With the SAFARI 2000 data we now have the first comprehensive measurements of aerosols from the major industrial sources in southern Africa," said Annegarn. "Together with the detailed chemical analyses of these sources gathered during the campaign, we can now evaluate the relative importance of industrial emissions in the region's air pollution, which will contribute to the development of both national and regional air quality management policies." The first formal results will be presented at a regional data meeting in Zambia in August 2001.
For more information phone Martha Molete, Wits University Media Relations at: (011) 717-1019 or email: email@example.com
Wits to announce PhD scholarship
A high profile delegation from the University of Namibia is at the University of the Witwatersrand from 22 to 24 November to discuss collaboration in the areas of higher education reform and Human Resources capacity building.
“We have a long-standing relationship between faculties of both universities. This relationship formed the basis for further collaboration in other common areas of interest,” said Sharon Edigheji Director of International Office at Wits.
In July this year Wits Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Bundy and Sharon Edigheji visited the University of Namibia to identify areas of collaboration between the two institutions in relation to medical training, promoting access for science students to study engineering at Wits and educational policy research. Added Edigheji: “We hope to establish colloquia to discuss curriculum issues and the joint development of textbooks in science and mathematics.”
Part of the visit was to formalise a scholarship for a Namibian doctoral candidate to pursue studies at Wits. Wits University’s Policy on Internationalisation includes a focus on the SADC region. It aims to expand the number of students from SADC countries to 5% of the student population and to develop rich, university-wide exchange agreements with institutions in this region.
There are currently 938 international students from 66 countries studying at Wits. “We have about 150 exchange agreements with universities and have recently signed an agreement with Edwardo Mondlane University. “Wits is committed to strive for academic excellence in Africa,” said Edigheji.
For more information, contact Malekhotla Maleke on (011) 717-1055/1052 or Mandla Mpangase, Media Relations Office at Wits on (011) 717-1018.
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Blind cricket at Wits
A three-day cricket test series is being played between the National Blind cricket team and Pakistan at the Walter Milton Oval cricket stadium, East Campus at the University of the Witwatersrand from Tuesday 21 to Thursday 23 November. Matches start from 10:00 to 18:00 every day.
“This is the first series ever in the history of blind cricket in the world,” said Nic Mare President Blind Cricket South Africa.
Blind cricket is played on a normal cricket field and according to standard cricket rules with a few adaptations. Players use a plastic ball that contains bearings that make a noise to enable the players to know where it is. A team comprises partially sighted and totally blind players.
Added Mare: “To host Pakistan is a great honour for South Africa. While a lot has been done about blind cricket, it still does not enjoy the great support other normal sports receive.” Wits is the first tertiary education institution in South Africa to host blind cricket.
For more information, contact Mark Metcalfe national coach on 082 6843 110 or Mandla Mpangase, Wits Media Relations Office on (011) 717-1018, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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T’kama-Adamastor book to be launched at Wits
A ground-breaking collection of essays inspired by Cyril Coetzee’s painting T’kama-Adamastor will be launched at Wits University on 23 November. T’kama-Adamastor: Inventions of Africa in a South African Painting is edited by Ivan Vladislavic and published by the University of the Witwatersrand.
The media are welcome to attend this celebration in the William Cullen Library, on the West Campus, at 5.30 p.m. Appropriately, this is the home of the painting itself. Copies of the book, signed by the editor and the artist, will be on sale for R275.00 a copy.
In 1998, Wits added a major new artwork to its collection when Coetzee’s T’kama-Adamastor was unveiled in the reading room of the Cullen. One of the fascinating things about this massive canvas was that it completed – and subverted – a trilogy begun more than sixty years earlier.
The painting drew on the many colonial images in the Cullen’s archives that document the ‘discovery’ of Africa from a Eurocentric perspective. It also commented ironically on the bombastic and clichéd portrayal of the colonial encounter.
Prof. Alan Crump has called the new work ‘one of the most challenging and evocative paintings produced in this country in recent times’.
Now the University has published an equally challenging collection of essays about the painting. Some of South Africa’s finest interpreters of culture explore the sources and significance of this richly allusive artwork. They offer insights into the life of the university, the nature of its African holdings, the purposes of public art, and the contemporary debate about Africa’s place in the world. How did Europeans in the Age of Discovery ‘invent’ the image of Africa? How are Africans reinventing their own continent today? These essays provide some answers.
The contributors are André Brink, Cyril Coetzee, Daniel Herwitz, Karel Nel, Reingard Nethersole, Andries Oliphant, Anthony Parr, Ivor Powell, Struan Robertson, Malvern van Wyk Smith and Dan Wylie.
Cyril Coetzee is a former art historian who has worked as a full-time artist for ten years. He has exhibited at major galleries in South Africa, the United States and India, and has painted portraits of many well-known personalities, including Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel and George Bizos. His most recent public commission was a series of four portraits for the Women’s Memorial at the Union Buildings.
Ivan Vladislavic is a prominent writer and editor. His fiction includes the award-winning novel The Folly, and two volumes of stories, Missing Persons and Propaganda by Monuments. Among his recent editing projects was the collection of essays blank__ Architecture, apartheid and after, developed in collaboration with curator Hilton Judin and published in 1998.
T’kama-Adamastor: Inventions of Africa in a South African Painting is bound in cloth, and contains over 200 images in full colour, including 4 fold-out plates depicting the major works discussed. This beautiful book sells for R275 and will be available from leading bookshops, including Exclusive Books, from 23 November. For more information, contact Mandla Mpangase, Wits Media Office at (011) 717- 1018 or Ivan Vladislavic on (011) 614-2440 and Cyril Coetzee on (011) 788-5994.
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Pre-University Accounting School
Professor Dave Kolitz and Manuel de Freitas, from the School of Accounting at Wit University will present the popular and successful Pre-University Accounting again from Monday 22 January 2001 to Friday 02 February 2001. There is a full programme of lectures, tutorials, curriculum planning, career advice and social activities from 08h15 to 13h15 each day.
“The primary objective of the course is to bridge the gap between school and university for students intending to study accounting at a tertiary level,” said one of the course presenters Professor Dave Kolitz. Kolitz is the lecturer in charge of the Financial Accounting I course and is one of the founders of the new Pre-University Accounting School. He is also the co-author of ‘A Concepts Based Introduction to Financial Accounting’, as well as ‘Selected Questions, Exercises and Problems in Accounting: Introductory’. He recently taught at Cambridge University in England and The Aarhus School of Business in Denmark.
De Freitas is also a lecturer in the Department of Accounting at Wits. His international experience includes a year teaching in the Department of Accounting at The University of Hull in England.
Students are grouped according to their previous accounting experience. Students who have not studied accounting at matric level gain a basic understanding of the concepts and principles underlying the subject before the main academic year begins. For those students who have studied accounting at matric level the course enables them to benefit from their school accounting knowledge and to use it advantageously at university.
The course has both academic and non-academic components. The academic component comprises two lectures of 3/4 of an-hour duration each day and a tutorial of 1 3/4 hour duration each day. The non- academic component consists of a series of presentations on topics such as career guidance, curriculum planning, motivation, time management, body language and memory training. The presentations take place each day for about 45 minutes.
The 2001 course will be held on the Wits West Campus from Monday 22 January to Friday 02 February. The cost is R350 for tuition and notes. The course is open to all students planning on studying Accounting at a tertiary level, and it is not necessary to be a prospective student of the University of the Witwatersrand.
For more information, contact Professor Dave Kolitz on (011) 717-8043 or Manual de Freitas on (011) 717- 8048. Website:http://www.wits.ac.za/puas/
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Top American physicist to speak at Wits
Leading high energy physics expert Jim Gates will give a lunch-hour talk on the ‘Superstring Theory’ at 13:05 to 14:05 on 16 November at Wits University, Physics Department.
Gates is an African-American theoretical physicist, internationally recognised as a pioneer in the development of supersymmetry, supergravity and superstring theory. He has been working to explore and understand superspace since the seventies.
“The fact that someone like Jim Gates is visiting South Africa is exciting. He is a role model for young physicists in the field,” said Dr Robert de Mello Koch, lecturer at Physics Department.
Superstring theory is the best candidate to date for a theory that realises Einstein's final goal of constructing a unified theory. Einstein's general theory of relativity describes gravity as a curving of spacetime. However, he was not able to convincingly unify electromagnetism with gravity in a geometrical way. Superstring theory unifies quantum mechanics and general relativity. In particular, it is possible to unify all known forces in this theory and thus, string theory may achieve Einstein's goal.
Added de Mello Koch: “This is a cutting edge field and Wits is the only university in Africa doing research in this field.” Gates received his B.A and Ph.D. at MIT, and is currently the John S. Toll Professor in Physics at the University of Maryland. For more information, contact Robert de Mello Koch on (011) 717-6847 or 907-5390 (H)
or Mandla Mpangase, Media Relations Officer on (011) 717-1018 cell: 072 1921 038
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Planning for human resources for health care
How can provinces plan how many health care personnel they need years in advance? Dr Thomas Hall, from the World Health Organisation (WHO), was a recent guest at the Department of Community Health, University of the Witwatersrand, to show senior health managers in the country how to do just that – on the computer.
Prof William Pick from the Department and Dr Rita Lehmann, from the University of the Western Cape, were co-facilitators in the five-day workshop that included directors and directors general from provincial health departments across the country.
Hall, a world expert on health care systems, has worked in 40 countries. “I have been working with WHO to improve methods to establish size and composition of the workforce needed in future years,” he said. This crucial information is used to advise medical schools and nursing colleges on how many to train.
He has helped develop a computer model so countries can put in data and different scenarios for how they would like the health care sector to develop. He said all over the world, health care systems operate in crisis. “What this model is trying to do is, in the longer term, get a better health system and improve the quality not quantity of care.” He said 10% of health depends on a good health system. He added that because it takes so many years to train a nurse or doctor, we have to plan ahead.
In South Africa, only 1 100 doctors graduate each year from the total of eight medical schools. “One rule of thumb is a 10% change in the intake of medical students results in a 2% change in the supply of doctors,” he said.
Participants made 15-20 year projections in the last two days of the workshop by putting in their own provincial data. They worked on how to look ahead in terms of, for example, numbers and distribution of beds and clinics and a breakdown of the different staff needed in hospitals and clinics.
said problems in the country include maldistribution of personnel, a tendency
towards overspecialisation, and too many resources going into hospitals instead
of more going to prevention programmes. He is positive about South Africa and
says the country is, within a primary health care focus, “trying to reduce inequalities
and give important emphasis to quality all on a very thin budget.” For more
information, contact Prof William Pick at (011) 717-2543 or
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Wits Engineers awarded Professors Diane Hildebrandt and David Glasser of the Chemical Engineering department at the University of the Witwatersrand have been awarded Gold Medals by the South African Institution of Chemical Engineers (SAICE) for their contribution to reactor technology and its practical application to industry in SA.
The two academics are world renowned for their work in reactor technology and process synthesis. Their research enables chemical engineers to optimise reactor and process configurations in the design of new plants, as well as the assessment of existing plants. It is this application of groundbreaking theoretical research to industrial processes that ultimately won them the award.
The nominations were made by local industry and supported by major international process engineering companies. The awards are generally made every three years at the national meeting of the Institution, which was held this month.
The award holds a number of firsts. It is the first time that a woman has received this prestigious award. It is also the first time that academics, rather than engineers working in industry have been recognised in this manner. For the first time individuals, rather than a team has been recognised by the institution.
Although the nomination of the two academics was made as a team, after the adjudicators evaluated the work of the two, they felt that both engineers deserved to be recognised in their own right.
For more information or photos, contact Martha Molete, Wits Media Relations Officer at (011) 717-1019 or cell: 083-327-0103.
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SA students in finals of world art competition
Two Masters students in Fine Art at the University of the Witwatersrand and one from the University of Cape Town are finalists in one of the most prestigious student art competitions in the world.
The winner of the UBS Art Award 2000 will receive 30 000.00 Swiss Francs which is equivalent to about R126 000. UBS is a global integrated investment financial services firm and the leading bank in Switzerland.
“South Africa is one of the 10 countries participating in this competition and we coordinated the selection of the three paintings chosen for the final on 7 December,” said Cyril Chessex of the Johannesburg office of UBS.
Mandla Mabila and Dorothee Kreutzfeldt from Wits and Kevin McCauley from UCT will fly to London for the opening of the exhibit and the final announcement on 7 December. They are part of the 30 finalists that include three artists chosen from each of the 10 countries selected to participate in the competition.
“It’s great that South Africa was one of the 10 countries in the world chosen to participate,” said Wits Fine Art Professor Alan Crump. “It’s great that UBS has recognised the immense talent that exists in this country.”
The student exhibition will travel around the world and UBS will produce a highly prestigious catalogue of the all the exhibition’s artwork.
work is currently on show until 16 November at Hofmeyr House, 9:00-15:00 Monday
to Friday, East Campus Wits University.
Tel Karen at (011) 717-9320.
For more information, contact Martha Molete, Wits Media Relations Office at (011) 717-1019 or cell: 083-327-0103 or email:email@example.com
Or Cyril Chessex at UBS (011) 322-7911 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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18 October 2000
Van Coller and Gerrard voted top Wits athletes
Olympic canoeist Alan van Coller and international diver Tandi Gerrard were voted sportsman and sportswoman of the year at the annual Wits Sports Council Awards Dinner on Wednesday 18 October.
Wits science student Raymond Fletcher, a cricketer, high jumper and decathalon athlete, won sportsmanship of the year award. Van Coller, a PhD botany student, competed in the Sydney Olympics where he placed eighth in the finals of the 500 metre canoe sprint. Gerrard, a physical education student, is South Africa's top diver and qualified for the Olympics.
The Wits Basketball Club was voted club of the year and long distance runner Simon Honnet, who is a biology student, was voted sports administrator of the year for his work in the Wits Athletics Club.
more information, contact Martha Molete at: (011) 717-1019 or cell: 083-327-0103.
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12 October 2000
Wits launches Mandela Institute
In an effort to increase South African expertise in international law, former president Nelson Mandela launched the Mandela Institute at the University of the Witwatersrand on Thursday 12 October.
The Institute, located at the Wits Law School and devoted to international trade, competition law and intellectual property, honours the contribution that Mandela has made to transforming South Africa.
“Mr Mandela gave his name to the Institute because it is devoted to the advanced teaching of those aspects of the law that will ensure economic growth for South Africa and other developing countries,” said Wits Law Professor David Unterhalter who is the Director of the Institute.
The Institute is a centre of excellence that will undertake research, develop policy and offer advanced teaching in global law in the fields of competition, trade, intellectual property, banking, telecommunications and company law.
“The Institute will also educate a new generation of black commercial lawyers in areas of law that previously have not been accessible to the historically disadvantaged,” Unterhalter said, adding that the teaching staff will be professors from the Wits School of Law.
Alumni of the Law School and committed supporters of the Institute include President of the Constitutional Court Judge Arthur Chaskalson, Wits Chancellor and Constitutional Court Judge Richard Goldstone, Constitutional Judge Albie Sachs and High Court Judge Edwin Cameron, who is also Chairman of Council at Wits.
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Asmal to speak at Wits disability policy conference
Minister of Education Professor Kader Asmal will deliver the keynote address on the importance of disability programmes at tertiary institutions at a policy conference at the University of the Witwatersrand on Friday 13 October.
Prof Asmal will speak at Sturrock Park, West Campus, Wits University from 18:00 to 19:00 on Friday 13 October. Media are welcome to attend. About 100 delegates from all over South Africa, and other countries including Ghana, Namibia, Kenya and Botswana, will attend the conference from 13-15 October.
“A Southern African Conference for the Formulation of Tertiary Education Policy and Practice for People with Disabilities” is organised by the Disabled Students’ Programme (DSP) at Wits University.
“The number of students with disabilities at tertiary institutions is increasing,” said Nita Lawton-Misra, Head of the DSP. “It is therefore important that we prepare ourselves to accommodate and provide them with all the resources and support they need.”
The conference will also make recommendations to Government on the formulation of a national policy on disability programmes at tertiary institutions.
Papi Nkoli and Patricia Mohlala are some students from the DSP who will share their experiences on being a disabled student at tertiary level.
Other speakers include Jerry Nkeli of the Human Rights Commission and Dr Claudine Storbeck, Head of the Centre for Deaf Studies at Wits.
The conference will also explore ways of creating partnerships with the business sector and regional collaboration with other tertiary institutions. It is sponsored by Billiton Development Trust and supported by Wits, The Department of Labour, the Disability Desk at the Gauteng Premier’s Office, the Disabled People of South Africa, DEAFSA and the Association of the Physically Disabled.
Wits established the DSP in 1986 to address the academic needs of persons with special needs.
Through this programme, Wits has led the way in making university degrees accessible to disabled students. DSP provides services for three broad categories of students with disabilities. These include visual, physical and hearing disabilities. The DSP serves the needs of 60 disabled students, both at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
For interviews, the programme or to attend the conference, contact Martha Molete, Senior Media Relations Officer, Wits University on (011) 717-1019 or cell: 083-237-0103 or email: email@example.com or conference organiser Ms Lesley Stephenson on (011) 717-7031 email: Stephenson@egoli.min.wits.a.za
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Mozambican academics visit Wits
A high profile delegation from Eduardo Mondlane University in Maputo, Mozambique arrived on Wednesday 11 October for a two- day meeting at the University of the Witwatersrand to implement a partnership agreement. The meeting follows a partnership agreement signed in Maputo in April by Wits Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Bundy and EMU Rector Professor Brazao Mazula.
The agreement included the launch of an annual Eduardo Mondlane doctoral fellowship for a Mozambican postgraduate student to study at Wits. The Wits and EMU academics, including Professor Brazao, will discuss projects of mutual interest, information exchanges between academic faculty members, potential areas of collaboration and possible joint ventures, particularly in the fields of science, health sciences, commerce and public management.
“South African universities need to reconsider their identity and in this context, Wits is carefully considering its place in Africa and SADC in particular, and its role as an international institution,” said Bundy.
“It is only by initiatives of this kind that we can begin to realise the intentions of the SADC protocols on education,” said Deputy Vice- Chancellor Professor Leila Patel, whose portfolio includes international partnerships.
Wits University’s three-page Policy on Internationalisation includes a focus on the SADC region. Wits aims to expand the number of students from SADC countries to at least 5% of the student population and to develop rich, university-wide exchange agreements with institutions in this region.
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Dutch Minister to see lunch box science project at Wits
Dutch Minister of Education Dr Loke Hermans and a team of Dutch education officials will meet Wits educators who developed a groundbreaking project aimed at boosting interest in science among primary school learners.
The meeting to evaluate the project’s success so far will take place from 09:00-10:00 on Thursday 5 October at 19th Floor, University Corner, corner of Jorissen and Bertha Streets, Wits East Campus, Braamfontein.
The micro-science project enables teachers in schools without labs to use a mini-lab in a lunch box that includes tiny plastic beakers, spoons, tubes and other assorted attachments. This facilitates implementation of outcomes based education in the natural sciences – a learning area in which there is a critical national need for improvement.
With funding from the Royal Netherlands Embassy, the National Department of Education distributed kits to 400 primary schools in Eastern Cape, Northern Province, Northwest and KwaZulu-Natal. “The toy nature of the kit contributes to motivating the children because doing science becomes fun,” said researcher Mpunki Nakedi of the Research & Development in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education (RADMASTE) at Wits University.
Nakedi, together with a team at RADMASTE, trained education officers in the four provinces. Prof John Bradley, also of RADMASTE, says the Dutch officials will get an update and learn the reasons for the success of the micro science project. “We are hoping that the report we have submitted will be seen as a very good report and that they will say we need to extend the project into all provinces,” Bradley said.
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Top 10 US businesswomen visit Wits
Top American businesswomen will give a talk at the University of the Witwatersrand in the Senate Room, 2nd Floor Senate House at 15:00 on Thursday 5 October. Media are welcome to attend.
Hosted by the School of Commerce, the 10 leading businesswomen headed by Marge Searing, acting assistant secretary of commerce, will talk to students and staff about starting and running successful businesses.
Dave Solomon, head of school, will open the session, Dr Wendy Orr, Director of Transformation and Employment Equity at Wits, will speak on the empowerment of women in South African society, and US Consul-General Sue Ford-Patrick will introduce the delegates.
This Business Development Mission coincides with the Global Summit of Women 2000: Africa being held in Johannesburg from 5-7 October. The delegation aims to introduce American companies to Egypt and Africa and promote American women- owned businesses and their products/services in Egypt, Kenya and South Africa.
“The visit will offer valuable opportunities to extend our network of contacts in the global business environment, and to explore mechanisms to foster cooperation with institutions in the United States,” Solomon said. “The example offered by this delegation of women strongly supports our focus on gender equity and the nurturing of the business talent that is manifest among our women students,” he added.
more information, contact Media Relations Officer Martha Molete at (011) 717-1019
or cell 083- 327-0103
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02 October 2000
Wits appoints mathematician as new research head
The University of the Witwatersrand appointed Professor Loyiso Nongxa as the new Deputy Vice- Chancellor for Research. Nongxa, a mathematician and former Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of the Western Cape, took up office at Wits on Monday 2 October.
Nongxa said his new post at one of Africa’s premier research institutions is exciting and attractive as “research is what sets universities apart from other educational institutions and research is what sets academics apart from other educators.”
Nongxa, now in his forties, graduated with a Doctorate in Philosophy from Oxford University in 1982. He completed his Masters of Science (cum laude) from the University of Fort Hare in 1978 with a BSc (Hons) (cum laude) and BSc also from Fort Hare. His student career was studded with distinctions being the first black South African recipient of a Rhodes scholarship. He was also a recipient of the South African Harvard Fellowship and the Abe Bailey Travel Bursary.
His academic career began as lecturer in the Department of Mathematics at Fort Hare from 1977- 78. He also lectured at the National University of Lesotho and later the University of Natal before becoming Professor of Mathematics at UWC, followed by Dean in 1999. He has had considerable international exposure as a visiting researcher at the universities of Harvard, Connecticut, Colorado, Illinois, Hawaii and Baylor.
Regarding the role research can play in our young democracy, Nongxa said that South Africans have a lot to learn about themselves. “We have to address the legacy of apartheid such as poverty, crime, housing, infrastructure, uneven development and unemployment and research has a fundamental role to play in all these issues.” Research at Wits
For more information, or to interview Prof Nongxa, phone Martha Molete at: (011) 717-1019 or cell: 083-327-0103 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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02 October 2000
2000 Art thieves target university treasures
The University of the Witwatersrand’s priceless collection of centuries old maps of Africa was the latest target of what experts believe is the work of an international art syndicate.
Other recent South African targets have been valuable pieces from both state and provincial art museums.
Following what appears to be a well-thought out plan, armed thieves entered the William Cullen Library on Saturday 30 September, minutes before the library was due to close for the day at 12:30. Four thieves ripped 15 framed maps off their concrete fittings, smashed the glass and rolled up the maps and left. None of the four staff and four students present was injured in the incident.
“This is not the work of common thieves,” said Wits Fine Arts Professor Alan Crump. “This is the work of a highly professional team that are aware of the world market.”
Rob Kemp, Head of Campus Security said Wits has contracted an international investigation organisation to take over the investigation into the incident and the team arrived on campus early Monday morning.
The University management met this morning to review its security of the public display of its valuable treasures. The investigating team and the risk management group is reviewing the security arrangements of all libraries, museums and art galleries on campus. By the end of Tuesday, CCTV will be installed at the William Cullem entry and exit points and thereafter all libraries, art galleries and museums,” Kemp said. An inventory of stolen items is being prepared and will be faxed to Sotheby’s to establish the value of the missing items.
For more information, contact Martha Molete, Wits Media Relations Officer at: (011) 717-1019 or cell: 083-327-0103 email: email@example.com
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27 Sept 2000
Bundy lands top international job
Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand Professor Colin Bundy has accepted the post of principal and director of the prestigious School of Oriental and African Studies, one of the self-governing institutions comprising the University of London. He will take up the post on 1 May 2001.
“Prof Bundy’s departure will be a sad loss to Wits,” said Chairman of Council Judge Edwin Cameron. “But Bundy, after three years of dedicated service, leaves a University that has re-positioned itself to meet with confidence the challenges of academic growth and excellence.” Cameron added: “to be appointed as head of one of the most distinguished research and teaching institutions in the United Kingdom and indeed the English-language world is an honour and an opportunity that none of us will deny him.”
Bundy said he is confident that the major changes that he helped initiate at Wits are now ratified and underway. “I am also proud of the calibre of leadership that the University has attracted and developed and am certain that those who hold senior positions at Wits will ensure the continued success and growth of the institution.” Bundy, who has been called one of South Africa’s foremost intellectuals, is a leading historian and former Rhodes Scholar. He is thrilled with the challenge of his new post specialising in the study of Africa and Asia. “I believe that understanding and explaining the developing world is one of the most vital tasks confronting academic life today,” he said.
Wits has embarked on a plan with tightly defined timeframes to appoint a new vice-chancellor. This process includes convening the senior appointment selection committee, appointing a search committee, calling for nominations, advertising the post as well as shortlisting and interviewing candidates.
Regarding his new post at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, Prof Colin Bundy will have a live interview on Voice of Wits today at 12:00. He will be interviewed by Joe Makhafola. Bundy will also be interviewed by eTV's Guy Oliver at 16:00 for tonight's news at 19:00. Other interviews include the Star, Business Day and Sunday Times. Bundy will take up the post on 1 May 2001 and a new VC will be appointed before Bundy ends his term at the end of May.
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26 Sept 2000
Ethics and AIDS - difficult choices
The Bioethics Division at the Wits Faculty of Health Sciences invites you to a public debate on ethical issues surrounding HIV/AIDS in Senate Chamber, 2nd Floor Senate House, Wits University from 17:00 to 19:00 on Thursday 28 September.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Bundy will open this first ever Bioethics Hypothetical at Wits. A Hypothetical format is when a hypothetical case scenario is developed and debated by expert panelists.
“This event is designed to show that Bioethics at Wits is concerned about tackling real life problems,” said Prof Udo Schuklenk, Head of Bioethics at Wits. The audience and media will have the opportunity to ask many questions as well, he said.
Among the distinguished panelists debating the issues raised by the case presented by Schuklenk are:
Jenny Marcus, Director of the Community/AIDS Response
* Ines Kristensen, Aarhus University Department of Epidemiology
* Max Price, Professor and Dean, Wits Faculty of Health Sciences
* Charlene Smith, Journalist
* Charles Ngwena, Professor of Law and AIDS/Human Rights specialist from Vista University
* Dr Ian Sanne, Head of Wits AIDS Clinical Trial Centre
* Lato Leopeng, HIV/AIDS Counsellor, Wits
* Dr Helen Schneider, Head, Wits Centre for Health Policy
For more information contact Mandla Mpangase, Wits Media Officer at (011) 717-1018 or cell: 082-734-7671 of Prof Udo Schuklenk at (011) 717- 2718 or cell: 083-633-6613 Also see the website at:www.wits.ac.za/bioethics
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Youngsters in debating championships: Wits Debating Union
The Wits Debating Union and the South African Institute of International Affairs are organising the inaugural National Schools Debating Championships at St John’s College in Johannesburg from Friday 22 September with the final at the Gauteng Legislature on Monday 25 September.
Constitutional Court Judge Kate O’Regan is patron of the championships. "This is the first time high schools from across the country will debate with each other in world schools style," said Greg Lewis, Vice-President of the WDU and chairperson of the championship’s organising committee.
Top teams from all nine provinces plan to compete with about 100 participants from 25 schools. "Debating is important to teach learners to think critically and communicate effectively," said Lewis, adding: "Teachers and learners will learn and spread debating within their provinces."After only one hour of preparation time, teams will debate hot topics such as quotas in sport, the African Renaissance, genetic engineering and HIV/AIDS.
From these championships, 12 learners will be chosen to attend trials in December for the South African team to compete in the 13th World Schools Debating Championships hosted by the South African National Debating Council in Johannesburg in January 2001.
For more information, contact Wits Media Relations Officer Martha Molete at
(011) 717-1019 cell: 083-327-0103
or Greg Lewis at 082-929-0503
or Steve Budlender at 082-927-3559
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4 Sept 2000
Wits public debate on genetic engineering
Designer babies, animal organ donors, genetically engineered drugs and “Frankenfood”. These are some of the hot topics to be debated at a public panel discussion on “Gene explorations: impact on society and biotechnology” at Wits University on Friday 8 September.
Speakers include Micro Biologist Professor Valerie Mizrahi, Head of Bioethics Professor Udo Schuklenk and Dr Shadrack Moephuli, Director of Genetic Resources in the Department of Agriculture.
The panel discussion will take place from 4-5:30pm in Theatre 4 at the Oppenheimer Life Sciences Building, East Campus Wits University. The discussion concludes a day-long symposium on issues related to the Human Genome Project hosted by the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at Wits. For more information, contact Dr Monde Ntwasa at (011) 717-6354 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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22 August 2000
Haywood to start Wits & Liberty 10K race
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17 August 2000
FIRST SAFARI 2000 SCIENCE FLIGHT
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15 August 2000
Scholarships for Wits & Liberty 10K race
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14 August 2000
Successful take off for SAFARI 2000 Science Project
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04 August 2000
Urban Renewal - do you have great ideas for Braamfontein?
The University of the Witwatersrand has launched an initiative to revitalize the Braamfontein area. Wits invite you to submit ideas for projects in which the University can participate, leading to the renewal of Braamfontein. Projects should satisfy one or more of the following criteria:
Wits will mobilize support from the Johannesburg Metropolitan Council and the business sector to ensure the success of the initiative and will make every effort to secure financial and technical support for the chosen project/s. Submissions must be made by 4 September 2000.
Further details of this call for proposal are available from the Vice Chancellor's office.
Telephone: (011) 717
Fax: (011) 339 8215
Postal: Office of the Vice Chancellor, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag 3, Wits, 2050.
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Wits and Liberty to host 10K charity race
Registration is now open for the Liberty & Wits 10 km Charity Challenge to be held on Wits campus on Sunday 27 August. Runners who register before the day of the race will receive a free pair of running gloves.Organised by the Wits Athletics Club and Wits Physical Education students, all profits from the race will go to Special Olympics SA, an organisation providing year-round training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with mental disabilities. "The Wits Athletics Club is proud to have a race of this stature, and we are grateful to Liberty for its continued sponsorship," said Simon Honnet, club chairperson. "We would like to encourage fun runners, seasoned athletes and spectators to come out and support this event," he said. The race will begin at 0800 at Charles Skeen Stadium, West Campus, Wits University on 27 August. The entry fee is R15 (R10 for scholars) and temporary licences are available for an additional R10. The 5km Fun Run/Walk is R10.00. Pre-entries are available from The Sweatshop: corner Jan Smuts Ave and Bompas Rd, Dunkeld West or at Wits Sports Administration, Sturrock Park, Raikes Rd (Off Enoch Sontonga Rd). Entries are also taken on the day, from 06h00. For more information, the public can contact the call centre at tel: (011) 717-9357 or fax (011) 717- 9359 Also see the website http://www.wits.ac.za/libertywits/ Back to top
02 August 2000
LAUNCH OF NEW HOME FOR WITS PALAEO-ANTHROPOLOGY
01 August 2000
SAFARI 2000 update number 2
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19 July 2000
NASA’s environmental field campaign in SA
An intensive scientific field campaign will study Southern Africa's ecosystems, air quality, and land use for six weeks from 12 August to 24 September.
The campaign is headed by the University of the Witwatersrand and CSIR Environmentek, in partnership with the National Aeronautical and Space Administration (NASA) and the University of Virginia.
"SAFARI 2000 - the Southern African Regional Science Initiative – brings together over 100 African, U.S. and international scientists in a multidisciplinary research effort to understand the sustainability of the region's sensitive and pressured ecosystems," said Professor Harold Annegarn, Head of the Atmosphere and Energy Research Group at Wits University. "It is the most comprehensive study ever conducted of the continent's land/atmosphere system," he said.
Media events are scheduled for August 12-18 during the start of the six-week field experiment, from SAFARI 2000 field operations headquarters in Pietersburg, South Africa, in the country's Northern Province. Events include tours of field research sites within the Kruger National Park.
The campaign, taking place at the height of the region's dry season, will study the complex interaction of air pollution and ecosystems across the southern half of the African continent. NASA's ER-2 high-altitude aircraft and planes from the University of Washington and the South African Weather Bureau will make regular research flights from Pietersburg.
SAFARI 2000 includes extensive ground-based and/or airborne campaigns in South Africa, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe over a three-year period.
Observations from NASA spacecraft - Terra, Landsat 7 and SeaWiFS – will also contribute to the experiment. NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS) project is the primary sponsor of U.S. participation in SAFARI 2000.
Preliminary Schedule of Media Events Saturday, August 12: Public Open Day at Pietersburg Airport: Opening ceremonies with government officials; displays of ER-2 and other aircraft; interviews with project scientists. Sunday, August 13; Orientation briefing by project scientists; informal press dinner
Monday-Tuesday, August 14-15: Bus tour to field research sites within Kruger National Park; demonstrations by field researchers; observe a controlled burn (weather permitting); photo opportunities in the Kruger Park Wednesday-Friday, August 16-18; Press briefings and interviews at Pietersburg Airport Conference Centre, including daily mission updates, briefings on scientific and policy issues; tours and photo opportunities of research aircraft; chartered flights over the region (tentative)
SAFARI 2000 media events are open to accredited national and international media only. Space is limited; requests to participate must be received by July 31. Fax requests to Steve Cole, EOS Project Science Office, Greenbelt, Md. USA (301- 441-2432); or Martha Molete, University of Witwatersrand Media Relations Office, Johannesburg, South Africa (27-11-339-7620).
More information on SAFARI 2000 is available on the World Wide Web:
SAFARI 2000 News Media Guide
SAFARI 2000 project home page http://safari.gecp.virginia.edu/
Enquirer magazine article
Issued by: Allen Kenitzer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland, USA. Tel: 091-301-286-2806 Martha Molete, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Tel: 27-11-717-1019 ENDS
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Wednesday 12 July 2000
Architecture and dance at Urban Futures
Miguel Angel Roca, an architect from Argentina, will give a special public keynote lecture in the Wits Great Hall at 19:00 on Thursday 13 July.
"Architecture – Art – City: Architecture as cultural, social and political activism” is the lecture’s topic. It is part of Urban Futures 2000, the international conference on the future of our cities, jointly hosted by Wits University and the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council from 10 – 14 July.
The public lecture will be followed by a dance programme featuring Speaking with Tongues & Ngoma (Music) and Kwela by Moving into Dance Mophatong and Umoya Womzansi/Breath of the South by Ballet Theatre Afrikan.
Other highlights at Urban Futures on Thursday 13 July
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Wednesday 12 July 2000
Cameron in AIDS debate at Wits Great Hall
Mr Justice Edwin Cameron, High Court judge and Chairman of Council at Wits University, will be part of a panel debating HIV/AIDS in the Wits Great Hall on Friday 14 July.
This public debate concludes Urban Futures 2000, the multi-disciplinary international conference on the future of our cities, which is jointly hosted by Wits University and the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council from 10 – 14 July.
The debate begins at 19:15 with no reserved seats so members of the public and media must arrive early.
Italian scientist Dr Barbara Ensoli will deliver a public lecture on her ground breaking research on developing an HIV/AIDS vaccine. A discussion and public debate will follow her address. Dr Helen Schneider will be chairperson of the debate while other panel members apart from Judge Cameron include Dr Glenda Gray, Ms Mercy Makhalemele, Dr Helen Rees, Dr Ian Sanne and Professor Udo Schuklenk.
Media are also welcome to attend a Special AIDS Research Session chaired by
Dr Christine Rey in Central Block 38 (210) Wits East Campus from 16:30 to 18:30
on Friday 14 July. Topics include:
* Impact Assessment of AIDS in Gauteng
* How does research allow for better access to therapy?
* Research with plant-derived drugs
* Social equalities and AIDS: A South African case study.
Speakers include Dr Ian Sanne, Dr Matias Stoss and Professor Leah Gilbert.
For more information or for interviews, media can contact Martha Molete, Wits Media Relations at: (011) 717-1019, cell: 083-327-0103 or email: email@example.com See the Urban Futures website at www.sunsite.wits.ac.za/urbanfutures ENDS
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Monday 10 July 2000
Moving public art – photos on taxis:
25 taxis each covered with two huge portraits of faces of Johannesburg by world acclaimed photographer Maryvonne Arnaud accompanied by writings from international authors will meet at the Electric Workshop in the Newtown Cultural Precinct at: 13:00 Tuesday 11 July. Don’t miss this photo opportunity!
Managing urban sprawl
With the coming of a new global economic system, rapidly increasing urbanisation will result in most of the world’s population living in urban areas by 2020. This is according to international urban development expert Professor Manuel Castells, who addressed over 800 delegates at Urban Futures 2000 at the Johannesburg City Hall on Monday.
By 2001, 30 percent of us will live in urban areas and that figure will jump to 63 percent by 2020, he said, adding that metropolitan areas will grow, leading to more "mega constructions".
More people are moving from rural areas to cities to find jobs, especially in the manufacturing and service industries, but people are also hoping that cities will provide better health and education, especially for their children, he said. But this changing urban world needs to be managed carefully. "Throughout the world, the most important trends are that the elites are leaving the city centres to move out to new constellations," he said.
"When social groups leave the city, communication breaks down and the lower income groups become more susceptible to epidemics."
Castells discussed four ways to manage and reconstruct a city in this new era: * support for the emergence of urban communities * attempts by local government to reconstruct and democratise society with a plan that is adapted to a global plan * the ability to reconstruct meaning based on an interface between communal and international experiences * creative use of inner city space to promote culture. Cities in the information age need to build bridges between technology and culture, Castells said.
Castells has been a leading urban theorist since the 1960s. His work has moved from early Marxist analyses of the city to an analysis of grassroots urban movements to a later interest in the impact of information technology on urban development. He is Professor of Sociology and Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley. Urban Futures 2000 is a multi-disciplinary conference jointly hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand and the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council from 10 – 14 July Over 800 delegates from around the world are attending the conference held in the Johannesburg inner city and on Wits campus.
The programme for Tuesday July 11 has 27 sessions on key urban issues. All media welcome. For more information, media can contact Riason Naidoo at 083-356- 5625 or Martha Molete at (011) 717-1019 or 083-327- 0103 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. See the website: www.sunsite.wits.ac.za/urbanfutures/ ENDS
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10 July 2000
Urban Futures to discuss privatisation
Sparks may fly at the Urban Futures privatisation lekgotla on Tuesday 11 July. But organisers say that debate and confrontation will be encouraged in this session that will also look at utilities, municipal service partnerships, urban water and sanitation. "This lekgotla aims to establish partnerships between municipalities and the private sector and, where appropriate, national policy for the delivery of some services – particularly those related to engineering infrastructure,"' said Arthur Benting, Infrastructure Planner at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Media are welcome to attend the panel discussion at the Electric Workshop in Newtown from 14:30 to 16:00 on Tuesday 11 July. It will be chaired by Roland Hunter, Chief Financial Officer of the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council.
Mike Muller, Director General, Department of Water Affairs and Forestry;
Jean Nassau, International Director, Lyonnaise des Eaux:
Greg Ruiters, Director, Wits Municipal Service Project;
Anthony Still, Greater Johannesburg Transition Manager; Water and Sanitation Utility.
Media are also welcome to attend a forum on the newly gazetted regulation dealing with contracts between the public sector on the one hand and water service providers on the other. This session will be held in Committee Room D, 3rd Floor, Johannesburg Metro Council Chamber Building, 158 Loveday Street, Braamfontein on Wednesday 12 July from 8:30 until 12:00.
Urban Futures 2000 is the multi-disciplinary international urban development conference jointly hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand and the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council from 10 – 14 July.
For more information on this lekgotla, contact Arthur Benting at:
(012) 841-3234, cell 082-871-9388,
Fax: (012) 841- 4036 or email: email@example.com
For information on Urban Futures in general, contact
Riason Naidoo at 083-356-5625 or
Martha Molete at (011) 717-1019 or 083-327-0103 or
email: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
See the website: www.sunsite.wits.ac.za/urbanfutures/
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Sunday 9 July 2000
Johannesburg and the urban world
When over 800 delegates from South Africa and around the world descend on the Johannesburg inner city on Monday for Urban Futures 2000, they will no doubt feel a sense of urgency in finding ways to rejuvenate the City of Gold. As they climb out of buses and cars in front of City Hall, they will be amazed at the contrasts: old and new, clean and dirty, rich and poor.
But delegates will certainly be excited. They have entered a thriving and transforming metropolitan that is one of Africa’s most important cities. They will also be among the world’s top urban development experts debating present issues and finding alternatives for Johannesburg and the urban world. Urban Futures 2000 is a multi-disciplinary conference jointly hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand and the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council from 10 – 14 July. After Mayor Isaac Mohase opens the conference and Premier Mbhazima Shilowa addresses delegates at City Hall at 9:00 on Monday morning, three plenary sessions will complete the day’s work.
(Editors please note: there will be media briefings after each session).
Professor Akinlawon Mabongunje, executive chair of the Development Policy Centre in Ibadan, Nigeria, will present a global view of cities from an African perspective. Mabogunje has served in a number of public sector positions in Nigeria and is extensively published. He is widely respected as a leading African urbanist.
Manuel Castells and Saskia Sassen will then present a session on global urban management. Castells has been a leading urban theorist since the 1960s. His work has moved from early Marxist analyses of the city to an analysis of grassroots urban movements to a later interest in the impact of information technology on urban development. He is Professor of Sociology and Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley. Sassen is a leading theorist of globalisation and its impact on cities, and is Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago and Centennial Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics. She is the author of many publications on the subject of globalisation.
After lunch, Elong Mbassi, a French-speaking West African, and two Latin American contributors - Yves Cabbannes and Raquel Rolnik – will speak on practical aspects of urban management and development. Mbassi is a former president of the World Association of Cities and Local Authorities. Cabbannes is co-ordinator of the United Nations Development Programme’s urban management programme for the Latin American and Carriean regions and Rolnick is a planner from Sao Paolo with extensive experience in the upgrading of informal settlements.
Delegates will then move to Museum Africa where Major Isaac Mogase will officially open the Urban Futures 2000 Cultural Events Programme at 18:00 on Monday night. Situated in the heart of the Newtown Cultural Precinct, Museum Africa is the main focus point of the cultural programme that includes many other venues and 30 tours in and around the city.
For more information, media can contact
Riason Naidoo at 083-356-5625 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
or Martha Molete at (011) 717-1019 or 083-327-0103 or email: email@example.com.
See the website: www.sunsite.wits.ac.za/urbanfutures/ ENDS
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5 July 2000
Top speakers at Urban Futures
International urban development scholars Professors Manuel Castells and Saskia Sassen will speak on Monday 10 July, the opening day of Urban Futures 2000, the multi-disciplinary conference jointly hosted by Wits University and the Greater Johannesburg Metropolitan Council from 10 – 14 July. After their plenary session on Global Urban Management from 11:00 until 12:30 at the City Hall, the two will brief the media at 12:30 and 13:00 respectively.
Castells has been a leading urban theorist since the 1960s. His work has moved from early Marxist analyses of the city to an analysis of grassroots urban movements to a later interest in the impact of information technology on urban development. He is Professor of Sociology and Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of California at Berkeley.
Sassen is a leading theorist of globalisation and its impact on cities, and is Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago and Centennial Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics. She is the author of many publications on the subject of globalisation.
Other conference highlights:
Journalists must register their names in advance to get accreditation for the
week at no cost. To register or for more information, contact Riason Naidoo
or Martha Molete at (011) 717-1019 or 083-327-0103.
See the website: www.sunsite.wits.ac.za/urbanfutures/
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Friday 23 June
Wits Council approves academic restructuring
Wits' Council, the highest decision-making body of the University, on Friday, 23 June unanimously approved the academic plans of its five new faculties and the consequent creation of new schools.
Commenting on Council's decision, Wits' Vice-Chancellor and Principal Bundy said it was a momentous step towards the reshaping of the University.
"Wits' restructuring programme has been guided by the White Paper on Higher Education which encourages efficiently-run universities, regional co-operation and partnerships among institutions.
"We are also keenly aware that we have to be able to respond to the social and economic needs of the region, to market trends and the dire need for a higher skills base in the country. Universities are pivotal to these factors and Wits' new academic arrangements will allow us to be proactive in a changing environment."
Council approved, with regret, the closure of the departments of Afrikaans en Nederlands, Classics and Religious Studies due to declining student numbers. In Afrikaans en Nederlands the number of registered students over the last eight years dropped from 521 to four. Classics showed a decline from 233 to 103 for the same period and in Religious Studies there were 1 036 students registered in 1993 while there are 69 this year.
These disciplines may, however, be absorbed into other schools in the Faculty of Arts and Education, allowing students to continue their studies. In the meanwhile, Wits is investigating collaborative partnerships with neighbouring universities in order to meet its contractual obligations to registered students.
"Wits regrets the phasing out of these departments but sharply declining student numbers have forced us to look at their viability," said Bundy.
"We do not have a Faculty of Theology and while we are aware that Classics has been taught through the ages, the reality is that there is no longer a demand for classical languages."
Also due for reshaping is the Department of Music, which is to be absorbed into the School of Performing and Visual Arts in the Faculty of Arts and Education. Council further approved reductions in the number of schools in this faculty and reductions in other disciplines are also likely. However, this will only be determined at Council's next meeting in August.
The impact on academic staff posts will not be known until the next phase of the restructuring programme is completed at the end of August. In its meeting on Friday, Council also unanimously approved the continuation of the academic restructuring programme and mandated the University Executive to engage in a consultative process Section 189 of the Labour Relations Act.
For more information call Panna Kassan: (011) 717 1024 Fax: (011) 339 7620 or cell: 082 295 2163.
Sunday 25 June
Wits gives free tuition to top learners
In a groundbreaking move to help solve the shortage of science and engineering graduates, the University of the Witwatersrand is offering a year’s free tuition to matriculants who pass with more than 30 points. January 2001 is the first intake of students in this new initiative.
To qualify, learners must graduate in higher grade English, Science and Maths and their marks must total at least 30 points according to the Wits rating system. This offer is for the Faculties of Science, Engineering and the Built Environment (which includes architecture, town and regional planning, construction management and quantity surveying).
“Wits is very proud to launch this initiative as a commitment to investing in South Africa’s future scientists, engineers, architects and town planners who are in great demand,” said Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Bundy yesterday. “A year’s free tuition will also greatly assist parents and families who are trying to save for their children’s higher education expenses,” he said.
Bundy added that this initiative does not in any way take away from the R23 million Wits spends annually on bursaries for students from disadvantaged backgrounds or the R1 000 to R4 000 discount for every A grade a matriculant earns. Students must apply as soon as possible as applications close on 30 September 2000. Learners or parents can phone 0861 200 717 from 11:00 to 20:00 Monday to Friday or 09:00 to 12:00 on Saturdays.
There are no restrictions in the numbers accepted – as long as the learner qualifies. “Given the smaller matric pool each year and the increasing shortage of matriculants with maths and sciences, this will encourage young people to work hard and succeed,” Bundy said. More...
Sunday 25 June
INDEPTH health studies urgently needed
Malaria, the spread of TB and HIV/AIDS, oral rehydration, measles, family planning, and primary health services. These are some of the most pressing African health problems to be discussed at an international meeting of scientists near Johannesburg this week from 26-10 June.
INDEPTH is an international network of 25 key research sites in Africa and Asia. The sites are situated in rural communities, mostly in Africa, and were set up to gather, store and interpret crucial health statistics in defined communities over an extended period of time, said Professor Steve Tollman, of the University of the Witwatersrand’s Department of Community Health.
“There is an overwhelming absence of information on health issues, and without this information, we are seriously in the dark regarding health priorities, the impact of interventions or judging how serious the spread of a disease and its impact is,” Tollman said.
Tollman is the convenor of this year’s meeting, the network’s second, which includes about 75 delegates, mostly from Africa. Delegates will analyse and share research data as well as decide on the direction of their research in areas such as malaria, reproductive health, health policy, mortality, adult health and aging. Delegates will also ensure that the network’s programme of work for the next 18 months is closely tied to critical health issues faced by Africa, as the recently released study by the World Health Organisation shows. This WHO report highlights the worsening health scenario for Africa. The network is African and Asian based with selective criteria for research sites joining. Sites should be community based and conducting population based work, and should not be managed by a northern institution.
“This network of field sites, as well as the work it can do in conducting rigorous scientific research, also serves to train up and coming researchers and strengthen much needed research management skills,” Tollman said. The three South African sites are: Agincourt and Dikgale in Northern Province, and Hlabisa in KwaZulu-Natal while the other site in the region is Manhica, 80 km north of Maputo, Mozambique.
INDEPTH stands for the International Network of field sites with continuous Demographic Evaluation of Populations and Their Health in developing countries.
Monday 19 June
Wits appoints bioethics prof
HIV/AIDS, access to medicine, abortion and patient consent for research trials. These are just some of the areas of expertise Professor Udo Schuklenk has brought to the University of the Witwatersrand Faculty of Health Sciences.
Schuklenk, who previously worked at Monash University in Australia, says he is excited at the challenge of encouraging a deeper awareness of ethical issues related to health care in South Africa.
Professor Max Price, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, says Wits is taking up the recommendation from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that all medical schools in the country set up bioethics departments and start teaching bioethics to all medical students.
“Wits is creating a centre for the teaching and research of bioethics, health and human rights in the name of Steve Biko and has made its first full-time appointment of a qualified and dedicated bioethicist,” Price said. “The public can look forward to Professor Schuklenk becoming a major protagonist in the bioethics debate in South Africa, especially regarding HIV/AIDS.”
Schuklenk has published over 100 contributions to professional journals, books and reference works as well as publishing and editing books. He is co-editor of the leading international journal Bioethics, the official journal of the International Association of Bioethics. His AIDS-related PhD research was undertaken under the supervision of internationally acclaimed Princeton University philosopher Professor Peter Singer. Schuklenk specialises in ethical aspects of HIV/AIDS including research, resource allocation, public health promotion as well as research ethics and a wide range of other bioethical issues. His appointment began on 1 May 2000.
Wednesday 14 June
Wits to host Youth Day 2000 videoconference
Students in Johannesburg and New York City will talk to each other ‘face to face’ in a live Youth Day videoconference at the University of the Witwatersrand on 15 June. A videoconference enables people to talk to and see each other while in different locations through video and satellite technology. “This special Youth Day videoconference will be held at Computer and Network Services Department, 1st floor Senate House, Wits University at 16:00 on Thursday 15 June,” said Ms Penny Nakedi, videoconference facilitator at Wits. “Human Rights: A Question of Justice” is the theme of the videoconference and is part of Youth Day 2000, a programme launched by the Board of Education of the City of New York to commemorate youth killed in South Africa during the 1976 Uprisings.
The programme aims to help the world remember the South African students who were killed, to raise awareness about the youth of the African Diaspora (migration of Africans around the world), the obstacles they face, and the contribution they have made to civil and human rights. The programme also aims to:
The programme’s educational activities include writing essays, producing videos and designing posters. It is co-sponsored by the Office of the Multicultural Board of Education of the Board of Education of the City of New York, The Links Inc., Brooklyn Public Library, UNICEF, the South African Consulate and various African and Caribbean consulates.
New York learners participating in the videoconference won competitions run in their schools while learners from Johannesburg schools were invited from Barnato High School in Berea, Realogile High School in Alexandra and Fumana Comprehensive School in Katlehong.
For further information, contact Martha Molete at (011) 717-1019, cell: 083-327-0103 or Mandla Mpangase on (011) 717-1018, cell: 082-734-7671 or Penny Nakedi at (011) 717- 1604.
Saturday 3 June
Wits Council reiterates support for restructuring plans
The University of the Witwatersrand’s Council fully reconfirmed its decision of 25 February to implement plans for restructuring the University. The council meeting on Friday 2 June also decided that management will continue to seek agreement with the National, Education, Health and Allied Workers Union on outstanding issues.
“We reviewed and debated views from various perspectives as part of an extremely consultative process, and approved management’s implementation of the plans,” said Mr Justice Edwin Cameron, Chairman of Council. “Wits must become a better managed, more cost-effective and service-oriented institution able to respond flexibly to society’s needs,” Cameron said. “Wits will continue with its comprehensive plan that involves new academic structures and new arrangements for the provision of support services,” he said.
Nine faculties are being transformed into five faculties that will be run by executive deans to be employed by the end of the year. The application process has begun and shortlists have been drawn up. Faculty boards are preparing implementation plans for the new structures and Senate and Council will review these plans in June.
In regard to the 624 support service workers who will be retrenched, unions, staff associations and management agreed on 1 June to a far reaching social plan. This plan includes arrangements for: retraining and reskilling, assistance towards establishing small businesses and a social fund for those employees whose personal circumstances are such as to render them “most vulnerable” to poverty. The package includes three months notice and three weeks salary for every year of service. Further enhancements for length of service have been provided for. Bursaries for children of retrenched Wits staff will be continued for the length of their degree. This includes children who are currently in matric and who will enrol at Wits in 2001.
For more information, contact
Martha Molete, Wits Media Relations Officer:
(011) 7171-1019 or cell: 083-327-0103,
Wits has followed the LRA
Over the past 14 months the University of the Witwatersrand has been engaged in a highly consultative and comprehensive restructuring exercise involving both academic and support service functions.
As a result of restructuring for operational requirements, institutional improvements and financial sustainability some 624 employees are to be retrenched.
During all processes leading up to this outcome the university has meticulously and consistently complied with both the letter and the spirit of the Labour Relations Act.
Moreover the university is implementing generous severance packages and a comprehensive social plan to mitigate the impact on affected staff. The package includes three months notice and three weeks salary for every year of service. Further enhancements for length of service are also provided for. Bursaries of dependents of retrenched staff studying at Wits University or currently in their matriculation year will be continued.
The social plan covers such matters as retraining and reskilling, assistance towards the establishment of small business and a social fund for those employees whose personal circumstances are such as to render them “most vulnerable” to poverty.
The University’s offer not only far exceeds the requirements of the LRA and normal industry standards, but constitutes a model settlement.
The University emphasizes that the retrenchment of employees is a labour relations issue. The actions of NEHAWU in appealing to the Human Rights Commission and the Office of the Public Protector, as well as attempting to use the Employment Equity Act to prevent retrenchments, are entirely inappropriate. We urge NEHAWU to follow the remedies available to them in the Labour Relations Act, as opposed to attempting the circumvention of normal labour relations.
Issued by Professor Colin Bundy, Vice-Chancellor, Wits University For Information: Contact Martha Molete Cellphone: 083 327 0103 or (011) 717-1019
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Wits Refutes NEHAWU Claims
The University of the Witwatersrand strongly refutes NEHAWU claims that current restructuring constitutes privatization of a public asset, or that access to the university’s academic courses will become more difficult for less well off students.
In a statement issued by Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Bundy on Tuesday 30 May, he said that current restructuring simply involves outsourcing contracts for certain non-core functions, rather than any shift in ownership relations or governance. The changes being made are in fact improving the financial sustainability of Wits, taking pressure off management and students, and allowing for better academic and support facilities and services.
The University also refutes allegations that work done on our behalf by consultants is in any way below par or prejudiced. On the contrary Wits has received excellent service and good value for money during the long and highly consultative review process undertaken. The University entirely rejects all suggestions and allegations that the change management process has been either unilateral or predetermined.
The comprehensive changes and improvements unfolding at Wits are in fact leading to new and exciting academic programmes, more productive use of infrastructure and resources, as well as enhancing the Wits contribution to South Africa’s human resource and development needs, Bundy said.
For more information: Contact Martha Molete, Media Relations Officer, Cellphone: 083 327 0103: (011) 717-1019 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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New social research institute at Wits
The process of transforming South Africa will get a boost with a new institute that will conduct cutting edge research on pressing social and economic issues, the University of the Witwatersrand announced on 29 May.
Distinguished Wits academic Professor Deborah Posel has been appointed as director of the new institute called the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER). Posel will take up the post on 1 July 2000.
“The University of the Witwatersrand wishes to see this new institute become a leading centre of research locally, regionally and internationally,” said Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Bundy.
“The institute will also contribute to the research training of postgraduate students, the facilitation of inter-disciplinary research, intellectual exchange and the development of research partnerships with a range of stakeholders – government, the private sector, research agencies and non-governmental organisations,” he said.
He added that the University’s location within the economic and industrial heartland of South Africa, its strategic location in the Southern African region together with its tradition of research excellence, gives it a head start in this objective.
Top academic Posel obtained her BA and BA Honours both with distinctions from the University of the Witwatersrand, and her Doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Oxford in 1987. She has served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology since 1995. She is the author of the acclaimed book, The Making of Apartheid, 1948 - 1961 published in 1991, and edited Apartheid’s Genesis (with Bonner and Delius) in 1994. She has authored many articles and chapters published internationally and locally.
Posel is a scholar of international standing, and has been a visiting fellow at the Universities of Oxford and Harvard.
“I feel privileged to have been appointed founding director of WISER,” she said. “I see WISER as bringing together top scholars from a range of disciplines, to shed new light on the complexitites of South Africa’s transition. I also want WISER to play a leading role in social and economic research beyond our borders, drawing on networks of scholars in the rest of Africa and beyond.”For more information, or to interview Prof Posel, contact Martha Molete, Wits Media Relations Officer at: (011) 717-1019 or cell: 083-327-0103; email: email@example.com
Monday 22,17 May
Wits to honour Chief Justice Margaret Marshall
Chief Justice Margaret Marshall, former South African student leader in the 1960s and now American judge, will receive an honorary degree from the University of the Witwatersrand at a graduation ceremony on Tuesday 23 May.
Marshall, who graduated from Wits in 1966 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, was active in student politics and went on to be elected president of the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) in 1966.
In 1968 she went to the United States and in the following year was awarded a master’s degree in education by Harvard University. She then studied law at Harvard and Yale Law Schools, receiving her Juris Doctor degree from Yale in 1976. She became an American citizen in 1978, by which time she was practising law in Boston.
Marshall enjoyed a brilliant legal career which was crowned by her appointment as an associate justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts in 1996 and, three years later, at the age of 54, as the first woman to be sworn in as the Chief Justice of that court. Prior to those appointments she held high office in one of the world’s great universities; and for the past three decades she has remained active in causes and organisations dedicated to a just and democratic order in her native South Africa.
For photo opportunities, interviews or a seat at the graduation, contact Martha Molete at (011) 717-1019 or cell: 083-327-0103, email: firstname.lastname@example.org The graduation begins at 6pm Tuesday 23 May but photos can be taken at 5:30pm in Room CB8 near the front doors of the Great Hall, Wits University.
Wits uses cranes and trucks to save priceless rock art
Wits University has come to the rescue of valuable rock art engravings – not by recording them in photographic books but by trucking them across Johannesburg out of the highveld wind and acid rain.
Dr Ben Smith, director of the Rock Art Research Institute at Wits University, says the 33 large rocks with priceless San engravings have been at the Johannesburg Zoo getting covered with moss and lichen for the last 30 years. Wits has been granted permission to move the rocks to a safe storage place on campus while it constructs the first national museum of rock art. The collection will form the centrepiece of this new museum.
“It is fantastic that Wits has saved this collection for the nation. No one else can take them. It is our duty to come to the rescue of Southern African rock art wherever it is threatened,” Smith said, adding that Wits has a 911 rock art team that goes to rock art where it is threatened.
Rock engravings are carved into the rock so are different from rock paintings. Smith says these engravings are estimated to be thousands of years old.
In the 1950s Mr Paul Friede was concerned that dam projects, graffiti and the environment were damaging the numerous rock art engravings in the North West Province and in the Magaliesburg area of Gauteng. They got permission from landowners to take care of these precious engravings but had to remove the entire pieces of rock.
Friede and a team that included Wits Professor Clarence van Riet Lowe transported almost 100 engraved rocks to a site near the War Memorial at the Johannesburg Zoo. They wanted to build a museum in Johannesburg to bring rock engravings to a wider audience. However, the damper and more polluted Johannesburg air caused lichen and moss to grow on the rocks, Smith said. “The engravings became less clear and acid rain began slowly eating away at the rock surfaces.”
In the early 1990s, Museum Africa moved 60 of the small boulders to their Newtown building. However, the floors were not strong enough to hold the bigger stones. The largest one is 4x2 metres and weighs seven tonnes.
Wits has set aside a building – the Rembrandt Gallery – for the safe storage of the rocks while another building is prepared as the Wits national museum of rock art. The museum will house the largest original rock art collection in the world. “A lot of the engravings are engravings of eland, a key symbolic animal for the San people. For the San, the eland was God’s favourite animal and he blessed it with special spiritual power,” Smith said. “The San heritage is a truly national heritage as San rock art is found throughout every province. It is therefore a heritage that unites us all, as so beautifully exemplified in the new national coat of arms.”
Trucks and cranes will be moving the huge rocks from Wednesday 17 May to Friday 19 May. The route is from the War Memorial to Wits West Campus. For more information, or to take photos, contact Dr Ben Smith at (011) 717-6044 or cell: 083 770 1086 or Martha Molete at (011) 717-1019.
Invitation to the opening of Kwere Kwere / Journeys into Strangeness
Invitation to the opening of Kwere Kwere / Journeys into Strangeness A multimedia exhibition on migration and identity in South Africa, curated by Rory Bester.
Tuesday 16 May at 17:30 for 18:00 Jenny Parsley of the Roll Back Xenophobia campaign will open the exhibition at Gertrude Posel Gallery, Ground Floor, Senate House, Jorissen Street, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
Secure parking available on request
Kwere Kwere / Journeys into Strangeness
Open 17 May – 21 June 2000
Gertrude Posel Gallery,
Ground Floor Senate House,
Tuesday to Friday 10:00 - 16:00 Tel. (011) 717-1363
Taking as its starting point the increasingly xenophobic reaction of South Africans to ‘foreigners’, whether migrants, refugees or asylum seekers, Kwere Kwere / Journeys into Strangeness is an exploration of the history of migration and identity in South Africa.
‘Amakwerekwere’, a word that originally referred to people who spoke a strange language that couldn’t be understood, has increasingly been used as a derogatory reference to unwanted ‘foreigners’. “The Kwere Kwere exhibition explores the impact of patterns of migration on perceptions about the identity of people and communities,” says curator Rory Bester, who teaches in the Department of the History of Art at the University of the Witwatersrand.
“In examining the relationship between migration and identity, the Kwere Kwere exhibition looks at four thematic areas: the making and maintenance of borders, the undertaking of cross- border journeys, the experience of displacement migrants feel in strange place, and the sense of home and belonging migrants forge in a strange land,” Bester says.
The Kwere Kwere exhibition includes 24 projects by photographers, filmmakers and artists including Ernest Cole, David Goldblatt, Themba Hadebe, Henion Han, Randolph Hartzenberg, Jacqueline Maingard, Zola Maseko, Gideon Mendel, Santu Mofokeng, Malcolm Payne, Jo Ractliffe, Berni Searle, Penny Siopis, and Paul Weinberg. There is also a range of historical and contemporary media footage presented in the form of 3 large-screen video projections, 6 television monitors and 5 slide projections.
Projects cover subjects as divers as the Great Trek, Angolan War, AWB invasion of Bophuthatswana, Sharpville massacre, mine hostels and migrant labour, homelands, land restitution, colonial ethnography, cross-border surveillance footage, pass laws, house arrest, Lindela Repatriation Centre, ‘illegal immigrants’, and xenophobia.
The exhibition focuses on the impact that colonial and apartheid era attitudes to race have had on recent xenophobic reactions to ‘foreigners ’, including systems and practices such as forced removals, pass books, migrant labour, and house arrest. The exhibition thus explores the criminalisation of migrants’ status and lifestyle as an attitude inherited and repeated from the past.
The exhibition also explores the role of culture in forming attitudes to ‘strangers’ and attempts to debunk some of the social myths about 'foreigners' that are, ironically enough, often generated within the cultural domain.
Kwere Kwere, in bringing together cultural experiences of alienation, loss, migration, displacement, defiance, home, isolation and return, is an attempt to create awareness and debate around the history of social discrimination against the victims and survivors of forced migration in the southern African region.
The Kwere Kwere exhibition opened at the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town in March 2000. After its run at the Gertrude Posel Gallery in Johannesburg, the exhibition will travel to the NSA Gallery in Durban (October 2000). The Kwere Kwere exhibition is made possible in part by the Arts and Culture Trust of the President, City of Cape Town Arts and Culture Services, Ford Foundation, Hedwig Barry Productions, Hivos, National Arts Council of South Africa, Red Pepper Pictures, The Refinery, and Western Cape Cultural Services.
For more information, interviews or slides for publication, please contact Rory Bester at email@example.com or 083 458 6150. You can also contact Julia Charlton at (011) 717-1363.
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Link to articles in the South African Journal of Science, Vol.96
No.4 April 2000:
Two fossil hominids - a female, whose skull is the most complete ever found of her species, with a male lower jaw found a few centimetres away - were introduced to the modern world today (Wednesday, April 26, 2000) at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. They were discovered by Wits scientist Dr Andre Keyser at a new site in the Cradle of Humankind north-west of Johannesburg.
The one-and-a-half to two-million-year-old pair, christened by their discoverer Orpheus and Eurydice (after the ancient Greek mythological lovers), was unearthed from a new research excavation called Drimolen in October 1994, only a year after it had been opened in the World Heritage Site area. They have been identified as Paranthropus robustus, a type of Australopithecine (ape-man) known for its huge teeth.
This constitutes a double first for the Palaeoanthropological Unit for Research and Exploration (PURE) of the Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research (BPI) at Wits.
As Dr Lee Berger, Director of PURE, described it: "The female skull represents certainly the most complete skull of a robust Australopithecine ever found in Africa, and may in fact represent the most complete skull of an early hominid ever found.
"There has never been a better discovery in this little-known branch of the human family tree. For the first time, we can directly compare unequivocally associated male and female robust Australopithecines. For the first time, we can see the complete morphology [scientific form] of a female robust Australopithecine; their form and shape has always been in question until now."
Dr Berger said the discovery "further demonstrates that the newly-proclaimed World Heritage Site of Sterkfontein, Kromdraai, Swartkrans and environs is worthy of its name as the Cradle of Humankind."
Dr Keyser said the first piece of fossil that had been noticed was the female's teeth, which were spotted by Ms Rosalind Smith, a volunteer assistant at the site. The skull and the second mandible were exposed by Dr Keyser and Ms Smith over the following three days.
Said Dr Keyser: "I knew immediately what I was dealing with, and was extremely excited and absolutely delighted to have found it. It was certainly the highlight of my career as a palaeontologist."
Said Ms Smith: "We all just sank down on our knees, we were so overwhelmed."
The fossil pieces were so fragile that they had to be treated with a special glue as they were being exposed.
The first steps in rebuilding the skull were made by Dr Ron Clarke, who works at the nearby Sterkfontein cave. Dr Keyser, Dr Jacopo Moggi-Cecchi (Research Officer with PURE) and Mr Colin Menter, graduate student and PURE'S Deputy Diretor of Excavations at Drimolen, completed the reassembly of the two specimens.
Dr Keyser described his Orpheus and Eurydice: "She is beautifully preserved, and has a lower jaw with all its teeth. Next to her skull was another very much larger lower jaw, obviously that of a male.
"When I recognised them as belonging to Paranthropus robustus, which has been known since 1938 from Kromdraai and 1948 from Swartkrans [two of the older sites within the Cradle of Humankind], I was incredibly excited. Nobody knew what a female Paranthropus looked like or what the differences were between the male and female skulls. These two now gave us those answers."
And what are those differences? The males have a crest along the top of their skull, called a sagittal crest, to which the muscles of the lower jaw were anchored. The female, apart from being smaller than the male, has no such crest - a distinction echoed among male and female gorillas today.
In life, Orpheus and Eurydice were largely vegetarian but may have included some meat in their diet from scavenged kills. They may even have used tools.
The Drimolen site is now officially the second richest Australopithecus robustus site in the world after Swartkrans, having yielded around 74 specimens in the past eight years.
Said Ms Mary Metcalf, Gauteng MEC for Agriculture, Conservation and the Environment: "The provincial government would like to congratulate Wits and its hard-working scientists. This magnificent discovery underscores yet again the importance of the South Africa community of palaeontologists to the international community, and the need for conservation of the area through its declaration as a World Heritage Site."
|Photos available from Colin
Dr Andre Keyser of Wits University
holding the skull
foreman of the Drimolen Site Project
preparing one of the fossils from the site
Orpheus (jaw), Eurydice (skull),
Dr Andre Keyser of Wits University
at the Drimolen site where he found the fossils
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The University of the Witwatersrand will announce a groundbreaking discovery of not one but two new exciting hominid fossils at a media conference on Wednesday 26 April at 2pm.
The fossils were found centimetres from each other in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and underlines the pre-eminence of Wits University and South Africa in the palaeo-anthropological field. The fossils will be on display at the media conference.
Venue of media conference:
James Kitching Gallery
Bernard Price Institute for Palaeontological Research
Van Riet Lowe Building
2pm, Wednesday 26 April 2000
Food and refreshments will be served. To confirm attendance, journalists must contact Martha Molete, Wits Media Relations Officer at: (011) 717-1019 or 083-327-0103
The University of the Witwatersrand is calling for contributions on disability issues for "A Southern African Conference for the Formulation of Tertiary Education Policy and Practice for People with Disabilities" from 13-15 October 2000.
"All disability sectors, government bodies and the corporate sector are invited to share goals and ideas and plan a common way forward in terms of policy formulation, state-funding, employment equity and many other issues," said Mrs Nita Lawton-Misra, Head of the Disabled Students' Programme. Wits established the programme in 1986 to address the academic needs of persons with special needs and make university degrees accessible to people with disabilities.
"With the White Paper for the Public Service and Administration, the Employment Equity Act, and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act now in place, the corporate world must comply with new labour laws," Lawton-Misra said. "However, increasing employment opportunities for people with disabilities implies the acquisition of necessary skills and qualifications which have implications for tertiary education."
Minister of Education Professor Kader Asmal, will deliver the keynote address. Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Bundy will open the conference, which will take place on Wits campus. A formal publication of papers, as well as recommendations on disability policy and funding at tertiary institutions will also be produced.
Call for Papers
People interested in presenting a paper at the conference are invited to submit their abstracts before 1 July 2000. The steering committee will notify authors if they will be chosen to present at the conference. The format can include panel discussions, group initiatives, role plays and art work. Suggested Themes: Employment Equity; Disability Policies and Programmes at Tertiary Institutions; International Perspectives and Advances in Teaching and Learning; Disability and South African society; Students' Experiences of University (successes and failures); Students' Experiences Post-University in the workplace and in society; Lecturers' Fears in the Classroom.
For more information, contact: Ms Nita Lawton-Misra at (011) 717-9151, cell 082-897-1861, Fax: (011) 403-1064 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Postal address: Coordinator of Disabled Students' Programme, University of the Witwatersrand, Private Bag X3, Wits 2050
Top physicists, chemists and materials scientists from around the world will gather in Johannesburg on Monday 3 April for the 14th International Conference on Defects in Insulating Materials - the first time this meeting is held in Africa or in the southern hemisphere.
Dr Ben Ngubane, Minister of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, will address the scientists at 9:15am at the Eskom Conference Centre in Midrand. Professor Colin Bundy, Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand and Professor Nxalati Golele, Acting Vice-Chancellor of the University of the North, will then address the gathering to conclude the opening ceremony of the conference that continues until Friday 7 April.
The more than 170 delegates from 24 countries, will deal with materials science, and more specifically all aspects of defects in insulators. Materials science deals with the properties of natural and created materials, and their processing. The focus of this conference is defects in insulating materials - those materials that do not conduct electricity well.
"Dr Ngubane's department has recently launched the National Research & Technology Foresight Exercise which, among other things, promotes the development of modern materials science and manufacturing," said Wits Physics Professor Darrel Comins, co-chair of the conference. "In this context, the modification of the properties of materials by defects in their atomic structure is of tremendous importance."
Physics Professor Phuti Ngoepe of the University of the North, who is also co-chair of the conference, said that South Africa is now becoming sensitive to being able to add value to its materials. "The conference deals with an enormous range of such materials including those used for lasers, batteries, the plastics industry as well as hard materials such as synthetic diamonds."
For interviews, please
contact Professor Darrell Comins at: 083-695-8325
or Professor Phuti Ngoepe at: 082-808-7702
or contact Wits Media Officer Martha Molete at: 083-327-0103
or University of the North Media Officer Tumi Maphutha at: 082-804-0012
31 March 2000
Rock Art exhibition at Wits
The Rock Art Research Institute (RARI) is exhibiting its fascinating rock art discoveries at Wits University's Gertrude Posel Gallery from 4 April until 5 May, from 10:00-16:00 Tuesday-Friday.
"The exhibition displays and examines rock art discoveries over the past 21 years of research at Wits", says research officer Mr Jeremy Hollman. The exhibition presents the work of early researchers at Wits and examines the successes and failures of quantitative studies of San rock art. World acclaimed rock art expert Dr Patricia Vinnicombe will open the exhibition. A special function will be held on 26 April to mark the retirement of Wits Professor David Lewis-Williams, the founder of the institute and director for the past 21 years.
"The exhibition concludes with a focus on the prospects of future research including the study of other southern and central African rock art traditions as well as elsewhere in the world," Hollman added. "Southern African rock art is a vanishing tradition and the work of RARI includes the preservation, recording and management of what has been described by President Thabo Mbeki as a 'treasure trove'."
A limited edition set of prints of selected rock art images signed by Lewis-Williams will be available for purchase.
For more information,
contact Mr. Jeremy Hollman at:
work: (011) 717-6506,
home: (012) 804-3332 or
Or phone the Gallery at: (011) 716-3632. ENDS
31 March 2000
Asmal to launch National Lecture Series
Minister of Education Professor Kader Asmal will launch the National Education Lecture Series at the University of the Witwatersrand on Monday 3 April.
"This initiative is geared toward promoting critical and thought provoking debate on issues relating to higher education and its relationship to the social, political and economic issues that affect our society," said Minister Asmal.
"Wits is particularly pleased to host the first of these lectures," said Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Bundy. "The Minister's initiative has the potential to stimulate debate and deepen understanding of issues crucial to higher education."
Professor Shula Marks, a distinguished scholar from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London, will deliver the first lecture on "The Role of the Humanities in South Africa." Higher education institutions throughout the country will host theoretical and practical lectures that will cover current and topical issues relevant to higher education policy development and its implementation.
Media are invited to attend the first lecture at Wits University in the Senate Room, Second Floor, Senate House, Jorissen St on Monday 3 Monday at 16:00
For more information, contact Mr Bheki Khumalo, National Department of Education at (012) 312 5538 or 082 7812 660. Journalists wishing to attend the lecture must RSVP Martha Molete (011) 717-1019 or cell 083-327-0103 Or email: email@example.com ENDS
14 March 2000
NASA scientists in South Africa for educational electronic theatre tour
A team of top scientists from the US based National Aeronautical Space Administration (NASA) will be in Southern Africa from March 16 to present free electronic visualisations of our planet’s atmosphere, land and oceans as part of its educational outreach, says Wits Professor Harold Annegarn.
Airlifting state of the art equipment, dubbed Electronic Theatre-2000, the team will hold demonstrations in parts of Southern Africa, including Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria, Pietersburg, Gaberone and Harare.
“Members of the public will have a rare chance to see massive and spectacular images of the global atmosphere and oceans,” said Annegarn, who is head of the Atmosphere and Energy Research Group. “They can see how the ocean blooms in response to currents and El Nino/La Nina effects, including images from space of cyclone Elene which brought the recent Mozambique floods.
Wits University, Rand Afrikaans University and the Johannesburg College of Education (JCE) will jointly host the scientists at JCE on 30 March at 3pm and 7pm. School teams, science educators and the general public are invited to book at Computicket to see these scientific marvels FREE OF CHARGE via a high definition TV resolution, (2048x768 pixels). The demonstrations will be interactively driven by a SGI Octane Graphics Supercomputer with two CPU's, 4 gigabytes of RAM and 0.5 Terabytes of disk space! And all will rely on two projectors beaming across a super- sized panoramic screen.
The team leader for E-theatre 2000 is award-winning researcher Dr Michael D King who is Senior Project Scientist for NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS). The E-theatre 2000 represents one of the latest marvels in this particular field as conducted by NASA experts.
The Southern African presentations are part of the NASA planned educational workshops aimed at stimulating interest in its research, and illustrating how the research affects us as ordinary people. Scientists from South Africa and other parts of the world are supported by NASA in the quest to understand more about the earth's Life Supporting Systems, how they interact with each other and how we can preserve our planet for future generations.
The South African science initiative called “SAFARI 2000” will explore linkages between land and atmospheric processes in the Southern African region. This comprehensive field campaign will combine satellite, remote sensing, airborne sampling and ground based studies to determine the influence of human activity on regional climate and meteorology.
Venues that can
be booked by Computicket and contact names
Cape Town: 28 March 3pm and 7pm,
Main Hall, University of the Western Cape,
Tel: Awaatief Daniels (021) 959-2114
Johannesburg: March 30, 3pm and 7pm,
Johannesburg College of Education,
Tel: Lisanne Frewin (011) 716-2617
Port Elizabeth: 6 April, 10am,
University of Port Elizabeth,
Tel: Jeff Ilsley (041) 585-8718
Pretoria: 6 April, 3pm,
CSIR Conference Centre,
Tel: Willem Botha (012) 334-5100
Pietersburg: 1 April, and 3 April 3pm and 7pm
For more information,
contact Wits Media Relations Officer Martha Molete:
Tel: (011) 716- 3525
cell: 083-327-0103 or
You are invited to meet the artists and curator for a walkabout at 14h30 on the steps of the Great Hall, East Campus, University of the Witwatersrand, on Human Rights Day: 21 March 2000. Drinks will be served afterwards.
Artworks can be viewed until 28 March 2000.
Five artists have been invited to choose a site on the Wits campus with which they will engage to produce a site specific artwork. The artists will approach their works within the broad theme of "history and memory" and will consider ways in which personal and collective memory may be figured through their works. Since artworks will be of a temporary nature and will be on different sites on campus a walkabout with the artists has been planned as an opening event on Human Rights Day (21 March) at 14h30.
For more information, please contact the curator, Leanne Engelberg on 082 853 7089 or Lengelberg@hotmail.com or the Wits Fine Arts Department at 716 3753.
10 March 2000
Wits fires cancer researcher
Att: News editors and health reporters
The University of the Witwatersrand has fired Professor Werner Bezwoda with immediate effect for commiting scientific misconduct after he misrepresented the results of a clinical trial for breast cancer treatment, the University announced on 10 March. He was also found guilty because he failed to obtain the ethics approval required from the University before the commencement of such a trial.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Bundy announced the decision at a media conference at the conclusion of a day-long disciplinary hearing. The hearing included evidence from the team of American scientists who uncovered the fraud in February when they came to verify Bezwoda's positive results for a controversial treatment for breast cancer.
Bezwoda's treatment involved high-dose chemotherapy combined with blood stem cell transplants for women with high risk breast cancer. His conduct in performing the trial violated South African and international clinical research standards. His research records invalidated his reported positive findings. Bezwoda presented these results in May 1999 at the annual conference of the American Society for Clinical Oncology where more than 20 000 scientists were in attendance. His paper received much interest and before further research was conducted based on Bezwoda's findings, the American scientists wanted to verify his findings.
"The University's Committee for Research on Human Subjects (Medical) was alerted to this matter on Friday 28 January 2000," said Professor Peter Cleaton-Jones, Chairperson of the Committee. Wits then began a formal inquiry into this scientific misconduct on Monday 31 January 2000, in accordance with the international ethics standards that the University upholds, and in terms of the University's disciplinary code.
Bundy said that the University has requested Dr William Makgoba, President of the Medical Research Council, to appoint an independent audit of all Bezwoda's recent research and published work. The Health Professionals Council of South Africa, which is the licensing body for all medical practitioners in the country, has begun to investigate the matter in terms of Bezwoda's license to practise medicine.
Bundy concluded: "The University regrets this deplorable breach of ethics. We recognise our responsibility to the community that we serve. We also extend a heartfelt apology to the patients involved in this research. For these women there has been rupture in the relationship of trust which should prevail in the medical profession. We will do everything possible to prevent this shocking ethical breach of individual rights of our people from ever occurring again."See also:The Lancet
The University of the Witwatersrand will hold an inquiry into the conduct of cancer researcher Professor Werner Bezwoda on Friday 10 March 2000 at the University.
Wits has scheduled a media conference for 4:00pm on 10 March or as soon as the inquiry is concluded. However, Wits cannot confirm when the inquiry will be finished.
Media must confirm interest in attendance of the media conference and car registration for parking by contacting Martha Molete. She will then keep you informed of the developments on Friday.
by: Martha Molete: Wits Media Relations Officer at:
Tel: (011) 716-3525 cell: 083-327-0103 or
Representatives of the Universities of the North, Transkei and Witwatersrand will sign an agreement called the Academic Health Promotion Partnership at a ceremony in Pretoria on Tuesday 7 March.
. The partnership will contribute to the promotion of the health of South Africans by collaborating to address problems that arise out of adverse economic, social, political and environmental factors that impact on health,. said Professor Michael Rudolph, from the Department of Community Health at Wits University.
. The three institutions are dedicated to the promotion of education, research and community service and have agreed to collaborate in accordance with the principles laid down in the policies and legislation of the Department of Health of South Africa and the World Health Organisation Primary Health Care Guildelines,. Rudolph added.
Rudolph also said . the partners recognise the need to respond urgently to the challenging needs of our society, and to effectively implement government policies enabling the development of a healthy society for all..
Signing ceremony: A representative from the National Ministry of Health will preside over the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement at the Protea Boulevard Hotel, Struben Street, Pretoria at 15:00, Tuesday 7 March 2000.
For more information, contact
Wits Media Relations
Officer Martha Molete
Tel: (011) 716-3525 cell: 083-327- 0103 or
Senior Media Relations Officer University of the Witwatersrand
Private Bag 3 Wits 2050
Tel: (011) 716-3525
Fax: (011) 339-7620
Where do we come from? Come to the weekend of our human origins
Dinosaurs, rock art, human genetics, evolution and the origins of language. These are some of the hot topics at Wits University. s Millennium Celebration of the Origin of Humankind in the Great Hall on 25- 26 March.
It is widely accepted that Homo sapiens evolved in Africa, and probably southern Africa. This first ever weekend conference brings together an array of experts who will review, in a series of popular, illustrated lectures, the history, environment and lifestyle of our ancestors.
Who will talk about what? Paleontologist Professor Bruce Rubidge. s talk is . The Birthplace of Mammals. and he will show how fossils prove that mammals first lived in Southern Africa. . Five million years of changing climates in Southern Africa. is the topic for Geographer Professor Peter Tyson. Dr Marion Bamford will give you insight into . Vegetation changes in Africa over the last five million years, followed by Professor Phillip Tobias on . Five million years of human evolution. .
After lunch on Saturday, Dr Himla Soodyall will explain how mitochondrial DNA has provided a powerful tool to examine human ancestry in . Human evolution: evidence in the genes. and Dr Kathy Kuman will explain . Cultural origins. a look at how human culture began more than 2.5 million years ago. . The origin of Cultural Modernity: Did it happen in the middle stone age?. is the topic for Professor Lyn Wadley and Dr Lee Berger. s talk is called . It. s the end of the world as we know it. is about the role of extinction in evolution.
On Sunday 26 March, Rock Art expert Professor David Lewis-Williams will begin the day with . Origins of Art. a look at how the cultural role of early art is very different from our modern view of art. Then Professor Tony Trail. s talk on . The origins of language. is about how Khoisan languages provide important insights into how our languages develop over the years.
. Mapungube . Origins of social complexity in Southern Africa. is the topic of Archaeologist Professor Tom Huffman. s talk about how African cultures provide important insights into the development of complex society. Historian Professor Phil Bonner will speak on . African Autogenesis? . the rise of new states and new identities in the 18th and 19th centuries before Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Bundy gives the closing address.
Price: R100 per person
(this includes lunch on Saturday and teas)
Secure parking, Contact person: Brenda Lacey- Smith
Tel: 717-9354 or 716-2145
Note to the media:
Journalists are welcome at no charge, however you must book and
contact Martha Molete, senior media relations officer, Wits University:
Tel: 716-3525 or 083- 327-0103
For interviews of any of the speakers, contact Martha also.
Senior Media Relations Officer
University of the Witwatersrand
Private Bag 3
Tel: (011) 716-3525
Fax: (011) 339-7620
The Council of the University of the Witwatersrand has approved wide-ranging plans to restructure the university in line with domestic, regional and global trends, Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Bundy announced on Saturday. At the core of the decisons taken at the council meeting on Friday night (25 February) are new academic structures and new arrangements for the provision of support services at Wits.
"This fundamental reorganisation of both academic activities and support services will equip the university for the challenges of higher education in the 21st Century," Bundy said.
"This restructuring realizes the Wits mission of maintaining and enhancing its position as a leading university in the Republic, in Africa, and in the world by sustaining globally competitive standards of excellence in learning, teaching and research. Wits must become a better managed, more cost effective and service-orientated institution able to respond flexibly to societal needs," Bundy said.Academic Restructuring
Council, on the advice of Senate, has approved major changes towards academic renewal and growth. The current nine faculties will be replaced by five newly-created faculty structures, as follows:
The current 99 departments, as well as various other academic units, will be consolidated into approximately 40 schools falling under the new faculties. "This will release academic energy, reward interdisciplinary co-operation, allow for greatly increased intra- and inter-faculty collaboration and radically improve management of resources," Bundy said.
Academic Planning and Review Committees for the five new faculties will work over the next two months, evaluating all academic courses and programmes, defining and designing the new schools, and innovating new curricula and inter-disciplinary products. It is expected that the over 3 000 courses at Wits will be reviewed in the light of changes in the higher education environment.
Support Service Restructuring
After a thorough consultation process in accordance with the letter and spirit of the Labour Relations Act, University management submitted proposals for restructuring some Support Services to Council at its meeting on 25 February. Council decided, as a result of the reviews pointing to significantly increased efficiency and reduced costs, to approve the implementation of Service Partnerships in:
"As a consequence, Council has also regretfully authorised the retrenchment of affected employees, and endorsed the introduction and implementation of early retirement and voluntary severance to minimise retrenchments. Additionally, Council has approved the implementation of a Social Plan to assist affected employees as well as significant funding to implement this plan", Bundy said.
"This decision potentially affects over 600 employees. Wits students who are the children of affected employees will continue to receive remission of fees for their first degree. Employees with matriculant dependants in 2000 will also be entitled to remission of fees for those dependants' first degree," he said.
Council has agreed to the transitional arrangements proposed. These will require the University to:
Council has further approved the ongoing restructuring of remaining Support Services and those Reviews in progress, i.e., IS/IT/Strategic Management; Finance; Marketing & Wits Communications Service and Printing & Reproduction. Where reviews have been completed but the outcomes are directly affected by the impending Academic Restructuring, no final proposals could be made to Council at this stage.
Council is the University's highest decision-making body and is made up of: executive management; representatives of national, provincial and local government; business; trade unions; professions and the judiciary; academic staff; students; support services staff and convocation.
For more information, or if you would like to arrange an interview with Professor Colin Bundy, please contact Martha Molete, Wits Media Relations Officer. Tel: (011) 716-3525; cell: 083-327-0103; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The University of the Witwatersrand has embarked on a far- reaching programme of strategic reorientation and structural reorganisation to position the University for meeting the higher education challenges of the 21st century. This strategic change programme is impacting on all environments at Wits.
One of the University. s strategic initiatives involves a review and restructuring of its support services environment. During 1999 Wits embarked on a systematic review of all its support services, including maintenance, cleaning, catering, grounds upkeep, transport, academic administration, library services as well as its human resources function. All stakeholders, including employees, unions, management and service users participated in these reviews, assisted by independent facilitators. These reviews showed up major opportunities to improve service levels and to reduce costs at Wits. Various alternatives for addressing these opportunities were identified, including internal restructuring, cutting back on certain services while expanding others, information technology renewal as well as the option of setting up service partnerships with the participation of external service providers. Further reviews are in progress in the areas of finance, marketing and communications, information management and printing.
Several of the restructuring proposals may have significant staff implications. In this light the University Council instructed Wits senior management to consult with the staff unions on the need for restructuring, the merits of alternatives for the future and on how to deal with the staff implications. A consultative committee (Concom) was formed for this purpose. These consultations are in progress.
Having considered the outcome of the reviews and consultations thus far, Wits senior management has tabled its proposals at the Consultative Committee. University management is proposing far reaching changes in the policies, structures, and processes followed in the University. s support services. In a number of areas, the establishment of service partnerships with external service providers is proposed as the best way to improve service levels and to reduce costs. This would involve Wits entering into contracts with external service providers for the provision of management services and/or delivery. These proposals will be placed before the University Council on 25 February 2000 for a decision.
The current jobs of several hundred Wits support service employees across all grades and categories of staff may be affected through the establishment of service partnerships. To alleviate the potential hardship flowing from this, University management and a management . union working group are working on a number of contingency measures to be embodied in a Social Plan. Among the measures being considered are:
Researcher under investigation
A researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand Medical School is under investigation for scientific misconduct for misrepresenting results of a clinical trial, the University has announced on 2 February.
. The University. s Committee for Research on Human Subjects (Medical) was alerted to this matter on Friday 28 January 2000,. said Professor Peter Cleaton-Jones, Chairperson of the Committee. Wits then began a formal inquiry into this scientific misconduct on Monday 1 February 2000, in accordance with the international ethical standards that the University upholds, and in terms of the University's disciplinary code.
Professor Werner Bezwoda, holder of the Chair of Haematology and Oncology, presented a paper at a conference in the USA in 1999 reporting a trial that he had conducted into curing breast cancer. In a document sent to his colleagues, dated 30 January, Professor Bezwoda acknowledged that he . committed a serious breach of scientific honesty and integrity. by misrepresenting the results of that trial.
Wits takes these allegations and his admission very seriously and the outcome of the inquiry will be made public according to international guidelines as soon as possible. The University will also conduct an institutional audit of all his research.
Professor Max Price, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, has appointed an acting head in Professor Bezwoda. s place. Other staff have been appointed to oversee the research that Professor Bezwoda was supervising.See also: Press Release from The American Society of Clinical Oncology (http://www.asco.org/people/nr/html/genpr/f_ascopr.htm)
For more information,
contact Martha Molete,
Wits Media Relations:
Tel: (011) 716-3525 cell: 083-327-0103
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