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VC Message - 30 November 2018

Publishing Date: 11/30/2018 12:00 PM

Dear Staff and Students

Although our campuses are quietening as we approach the last two weeks of our University activities this year, I thought it was important to share with you some of the most recent UJ highlights. A formidable achievement came in the form of talent in the sporting field last weekend. Our alumnus Aphiwe Dyantyi was awarded the Breakthrough Player of the Year by the World Rugby Awards jury in Monaco on Sunday, 25 November 2018. Since his debut in the South African national rugby team colours this year, Dyantyi has scored six tries in his first eight Tests for the Springboks – including two in the famous win against the All Blacks in Wellington – and finished his debut season with 13 caps. He played for the UJ rugby team during his studies at our University and the Lions winger has not wasted time embracing the challenge at a national and international level. Congratulations, Aphiwe, for this accolade and thank you for making UJ and South Africa proud!

UJ recently honoured leading human rights activists from various fields for their outstanding contributions in the higher education sector. This year, our University honoured individuals who, in the estimation of the Council, made formidable contributions by being the advocators of equality in areas such as human and gender rights, fighting HIV/AIDS as well as showcasing their talent in the South African arts and culture domain. This occasion also celebrated visionary leadership and commitment to teaching and research excellence.

On Friday, 23 November 2018, UJ’s Council bestowed the four advocators with the Ellen Kuzwayo Awards. The recipients were Prof Chris Brink for his visionary leadership and commitment to teaching and research excellence; Honourable Justice Edwin Cameron for his dedication to HIV/Aids and gay right advocacy; Ms Sophia Theresa Williams-De Bruyn for her activism and sustained commitment to human rights and Ms Sue Williamson for her formidable talent and contribution to the South African arts and culture. Congratulations to all the recipients – thank you, your sacrifices and sterling work over the years has immensely contributed to our nation-building! The Ellen Kuzwayo Council Award is in the form of a specially minted medallion and an accompanying protocol.

On Thursday, 22 November 2018, the University of Johannesburg's Confucius Institute (UJCI) launched Africa's foremost Centre for Africa-China Studies (CACS). This Centre was established to build a better understanding of SA's largest trading partner, China. It will allow UJ researchers to bring a wide range of multidisciplinary knowledge and expertise to complement the University's research priorities and strengths, and promote our China expertise across faculties and research programmes. Both Prof Tshilidzi Marwala and Chinese Ambassador, His Excellency Lin Songtian, attended the launch with committing words shared between the two leaders.

Following the recent communication regarding the UJ launch of the Institute for Global African Affairs, both the Vice-Chancellors of the University of the West Indies and UJ, Prof Sir
Hilary Beckles and Prof Marwala, respectively,
launched the second phase of the Institute in the Caribbean on Monday, 26 November 2018 in Barbados. A UJ delegation comprising Prof Adekeye Adebajo (Director, Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation at UJ), Dr Bongani Ngqulunga (Co-Director: Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study), Prof Angina Parekh (Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic) and Dr Nolitha Vukuza (Senior Executive Director: University Relations) was at the launch. We look forward to a fruitful partnership.

Please join me in congratulating Mr Biswas Kapasule, a third-year Bachelors of Accounting student, on being selected as a Top 10 finalist in the renowned 2018 Global Peter Drucker SA Competition. His essay, “Reclaiming individuality in the age of AI”, was selected among 470 submissions received from 60 countries of which three finalists were from Africa. Biswas is attending the 10th Global Peter Drucker Forum in Vienna, Austria, this week. Well done Biswas, we take pride in your fine achievement!

I also congratulate Prof Muna Ndulo, Director of Cornell’s Institute for African Development (IAD), for being named the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of International and Comparative Law at Cornell Law School at Cornell University, USA. Prof Ndulo was also recently honoured with a UJ Vice-Chancellor’s Distinguished Award for Global Excellence and Stature. Congratulations, Sir!

Yesterday, our Soweto Campus hosted one of Nelson Mandela Foundation’s three-part celebrations in honour and memory of Madiba’s life. As you know, the country and the rest of the world are celebrating the Nelson Mandela Centenary this year, and we had the privilege to have global leaders such as Oprah Winfrey, Mama Graça Machel and Mama Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, among other prominent attendees, at our campus in Soweto to reflect on Is’thunzi Sabafazi in South Africa.

The 2018 second semester final examinations concluded on Tuesday, 27 November. I would like to wish all the staff, students and all the University stakeholders a happy and safe festive season. Please drive safely and responsibly. To our staff and students who will be returning to our campuses in January 2019, I hope that the New Year will be a prosperous and happy period in our lives, careers and future endeavours. To our 2018 graduates and 2019 graduands, go out there and make the much needed difference in our society.

Until we meet again, take care!

Professor André Swart

Vice-Chancellor and Principal (Acting)

University of Johannesburg