Dignitas Awards

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The University of Johannesburg (UJ) Alumni Office recognises the achievements and hard work of alumni who have made significant contributions to UJ in their respective field of study, profession, industry, community, region and nations at its Prestigious Annual Dignitas Awards Dinner and Ceremony.

The UJ Alumni Dignitas Awards ceremony celebrates the exceptional achievements of UJ Alumni who have excelled in their professions by honouring recipients with Trophies presented by the Vice Chancellor. The Latin word ‘Dignitas’ refers to the physical aura that surrounds a person once he or she has fulfilled an important task. This therefore implies the meanings of deserving, merit and worthiness.

Call for Nominations

Dear members of the UJ Alumni

You are invited to submit nominations by using the online form (link below) for the UJ Alumni Dignitas Award. The Alumni Dignitas Award celebrates the achievement of UJ Alumni by honouring those who have excelled in their respective fields.

Please note: In 2021 we have two cycles of nominations for this award – one in each semester. The candidates nominated during the first cycle of nominations (in the first semester) will be considered collectively together with additional candidates nominated in this second cycle of nominations.

Kindly submit your nomination by using the online nomination form (which also contains the Charter of the UJ Awards Committee):


‘UJ Alumni’ means all persons who have obtained a state-subsidised (formal) qualification from the University of Johannesburg, the former Rand Afrikaans University (RAU), or the Technikon Witwatersrand (TWR).

The UJ Awards Committee considers submissions for such awards and makes recommendations to Council. In order to confirm the inherent value of the award, a conservative approach is followed in making the awards.

The closing date for nominations is 12 August 2021.

IC Burger (Prof)
University of Johannesburg

Nominations are opened each year, please read through the nomination criteria

Dignitas Nomination Form

Charter for UJ Alumni Dignitas Awards Committee

Charter for UJ Awards Committee

Dignitas Award Winners:

2005 Recipients

Russel Loubser

  • Qualified Chartered Accountant
  • Former Chief Executive Officer of JSE Limited and Chair for the Working Committee


Gary Harwood

  • Director at the brand agency Harwood Kirsten Leigh McCoy (HKLM)

Francois Pienaar

  • Captain of the first South Africa team to win the World Cup
  • Voted Rugby Personality of the Year by Britain’s Rugby Union Writers’ Club in 1995

Olga Sema

  • Organiser for Top Entrepreneurs’ competition for EMS learners, and Workshops for EMS Educators
  • Entrepreneurial Project Manager at Olemera

Kieka Mynhardt

  • Prof & Mathematician: University of Victoria in Canada
  • She was graduate advisor of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at UVic for 5 years

2006 Recipients

David Noko

  • Non Executive Director of Astrapak Limited and Managing Director of De Beers Consolidated Mines
  • Took over as Managing Director of DBCM from Jonathan Oppenheimer in February 2006

Prof Nick Beukes

  • Rated an A1 scientist by the National Research Foundation of South Africa since 2001 (received the Draper Medal)
  • Authored or co-authored more than 100 full length research papers in International and National Journals.

Frank Kilbourn

  • Investment banker and businessman
  • Non-Executive Director of City Lodge Hotels Ltd., since 1996

Bill Venter

  • South African businessman, entrepreneur and industrialist
  • Top 100 Lifetime Achiever (Sunday Times Business Times) and Trustee of Pres Mandela’s Children’s Trust Fund

2007 Recipients

Amos Masondo

Pieter du Preez

  • South African quadriplegic Athlete and an actuarial analyst at Deloitte in Johannesburg

Prof SH (Basie) von Solms

  • Research Professor in the Academy for Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Johannesburg
  • Currently Director of the ITU-UJ Centre for Cyber Security of the University of Johannesburg and Fellow of the British Computer Society (FBCS)

Dr Reena Ramparsad

  • Coordination of Curriculum Implementation of the Gauteng Province: Education

Prof Desiree Vorster

  • Deputy Vice Chancellor at the University of Johannesburg

2008 Recipients

Jansie Niehaus

  • Executive Director of the National Science and Technology Forum (NSTF)

Prof Herman Alberts

  • Retired with a B-rating from the NRF
  • Awarded MT Steyn Medal for Scientific and Technical Achievement by South African Academy for Arts and Science in 2007

Marthinus van Schalkwyk

  • Was appointed Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism in the South African cabinet
  • Formerly both Premier of the Western Cape and Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament of South Africa (New National Party)

2009 Recipients

Jimmy Manyi

  • President of Progressive Professionals Forum
  • Former CEO of Government Communications and Information Systems and Cabinet Spokesperson

Maira Koutsoudakis

  • Established herself as an international multi-award-winning designer.
  • She and her team received ‘Best of the Best in the World’ and ‘Best Hotel in Africa, Middle East and the Indian Ocean Islands’ award

2010 Recipients

Nicholas Hlobo

  • Rolex Visual Arts Protégé for 2010/11
  • Winner of the Tollman Award for the Visual Arts 2006, and the Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art 2009

Tim du Plessis

  • Member of the SA National Editor’s Forum and Chair of the Nieman Fund Trust of Southern Africa
  • Was Editor of Beeld at Media24 Limited, from being a Journalist since 1976

2011 Recipients

Raenette Taljaard

  • Elected as Member of Parliament in 1999
  • Nominated as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2005

Magatho Anthony Mello

  • Founder and managing partner of two businesses namely Intoto Solutions (Pty) Ltd and Maraswi Consulting Services (Pty) Ltd.

2012 Recipients

Gideon Sam

  • SASCOC President
  • Former Headmaster and President of Swimming South Africa

Herman Bosman

  • Was CEO of Deutsche Bank since November 2006
  • Responsible for Deutsche Bank’s South African strategic operations direction and for the leadership of its corporate finance platform

Pietie Coetzee

  • Represented South Africa in 2 Commonwealth Games, 3 World Cups and at the 2000, 2004 and 2012 Summer Olympics
  • Top goal scorer at the 2002 Women’s Hockey World Cup held in Perth, Western Australia

Clifford Ross

  • Appointed Chief Executive of City Lodge Hotels Group in 2002
  • Awarded the Tourism Business Leadership Award in 2011

2014 Recipients

Mary Sibanda

  • Graduated with a National Diploma in Fine Arts from the University of Johannesburg (UJ) in 2004, followed by a B-Tech in Fine Art in 2007
  • Explores themes of gender, class and race through the sculptural representation of her alter ego, Sophie, whom is dressed in altered domestic worker uniforms​

The Late Judge Ronnie Bosiele

  • Judge of the Supreme Court of Appeal
  • Reached the highest judicial office in South Africa (SA) of all UJ Law graduates and recommended by the JSC to the President for appointment to the Constitutional Court, although he was not appointed

2015 Recipients

Alex Harris

  • Athlete, speaker and passionate advocate for living purpose filled lives
  • Became the youngest person ever to lead an expedition to Mount Everest at age 25 in 1996

Simphiwe Dana

  • ​​Appointed as the first global African ambassador for Amnesty international
  • Toured Europe with her previous two albums, claimed the number 1 spot with her Kulture Noir on the German World Music Charts and the number 3 spot on the European Music Charts

2016 Recipients

Judge Boissie Henry Mbha

  • Reached the highest judicial office of Judge of Appeal at the Supreme Court of Appeal

Arthur Gillis

  • CEO of Platinum Hospitality Holdings
  • Non-Executive Chairman, Africa Development, for Marriott International
  • Motivational speaker

Lerato Shadi

  • Significant contributor to social cohesion, promoting advocacy and development of the Pan-African society through her art.

2017 Recipients

No award presented

2018 Recipient

Prof Chris Brink

  • Served as Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University in the United Kingdom
  • He was a National Research Foundation (NRF) A-rated researcher and President of the South African Mathematical Society.

2019 recipients

Prof William Harris

  • He made important contributions to the development of methods of quantifying the optical character of eyes and to defining reference axes for eyes with applications in vision science and eye surgery.
  • He made a major contribution to the establishment of research in the Department of Optometry at RAU/UJ and, in South Africa.

Mr Steve Phiri

  • Steve Phiri is an admitted attorney to the High Court of South Africa and an accomplished business leader in the mining sector.
  • He served as Vice-President of the Mineral Council of South Africa.

2020 recipients

Ms Funeka Zukiswa Montjane

  • Ms Funeka Zukiswaa Montjane is the Chief Executive, Personal and Business Banking of the Standard Bank Group.
  • Ms Funeka has been recognised as Business Woman of the Year in the Corporate Category by the Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa (2016) and earned the Private Sector CEO of the Year Award by the African Woman Chartered Accountants


  • Mr Len Wolman serves as the founder, Chairman and CEO of Waterford Group and created a powerhouse company developing and operating hotels, gaming and venue properties totalling more than $3 billion throughout the USA.
  • Mr Len Wolman currently serves as Chairman of The Jonathan M. Tisch Center of Hospitality Advisory Board, is a member of New York University’s School of Professional Studies Dean’s Advisory Council and serves on the Board of the Trustees for the Connecticut Science Center.

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