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Leading-edge Biomedical Research Institute a 'game changer' for healthcare in Africa Biomedical Research Institute a 'game changer' for healthcare in Africa Corporate Communication and Marketing Division / Afdeling Korporatiewe Kommunikasie en Bemarking<p>​The launch of its new state-of-the-art Biomedical Research Institute (BMRI) places Stellenbosch University (SU) at the forefront of biomedical sciences on the African continent. <br></p><p>The BMRI is a world-class biomedical research complex on par with the best in the world and is unparalleled, not only on the African continent, but the entire southern hemisphere, in terms of its cutting-edge facilities and extensive research capacity. </p><p>The BMRI, situated on SU's Tygerberg Campus in Cape town, is being inaugurated over the next week.</p><p>“The realisation of the BMRI resonates with SU's vision of being Africa's leading research-intensive university with the objective of being globally recognised for our excellence in innovation to advance knowledge in service of society," says Prof Wim de Villiers, SU Rector and Vice-Chancellor.</p><p>The facility houses more than 500 biomedical researchers and students, including some of the world's foremost scientists in the fields of bioinformatics, tuberculosis, neuroscience, and urology. The leading-edge research emanating from the facility has a decidedly African focus and seeks to understand the genetic and biomolecular basis of diseases afflicting South Africa and the rest of the African continent.</p><p>“Scientists at the BMRI conduct research that translates into discoveries that help improve the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of illnesses affecting the people of South Africa and the rest of Africa," says Prof Nico Gey van Pittius, Vice Dean: Research and Internationalisation of SU's Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), where the BMRI is based.</p><p>Construction of this R1,2 billion facility (approximately US$ 66 million) commenced in 2018 and was completed in 2023 – despite major challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The planning and design of this multifaceted complex followed a future-focussed approach resulting in a high-performance research hub that is modular, functional and sustainable. </p><p>The BMRI boasts numerous state-of-the-art laboratories, including the largest (600m<sup>2</sup>) biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory and fully-automated biorepository in Africa, lecture and conference theatres equipped with the latest audio-visual technology, and large modern dissection halls custom-engineered to minimise formaldehyde exposure. The BMRI was also awarded a 4-star rating from the Green Building Council of South Africa.</p><p>“The research conducted in the BMRI builds on SU's commitment to impactful research which takes into account the natural environment, health, human security as well as systems and technologies for the future. At the heart of our scientific endeavours, is the challenge to be locally relevant and globally competitive," says Prof Sibusiso Moyo, SU Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Research, Innovation and Postgraduate Studies.</p><p>The immense value of the BMRI was recognised even before its completion in 2023, and high-profile visitors, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, came to view the facility in 2022. The facility's potential was further endorsed when SU's Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation (CERI), located in the BMRI, was selected by the WHO as a partner-member of the first Covid mRNA Vaccine Technology Transfer Hub.</p><p>“The investment in the BMRI will allow significant human capacity development through training some of the best students from the continent and exposing them to extensive national and international research networks to results in a next generation of successful scientists," says Prof Elmi Muller, FMHS Dean. “The BMRI will be a game changer for healthcare in Africa and is true evidence of using breakthrough science to improve lives."</p><p> </p><p><strong>MORE ABOUT THE BMRI</strong></p><ul><li>The BMRI is the largest and most sophisticated research complex of its kind on the African continent and in the southern hemisphere.</li><li>Apart from the facilities mentioned above, the BMRI also hosts:</li><ul><li>A Bioinformatics hub;</li><li>Electron microscopy laboratories;</li><li>Proteomics and flow cytometry services (FACS) laboratories;</li><li>A Medical Morphological Learning Centre;</li><li>The Sunskill laboratory; and</li><li>Clinical research facilities.</li></ul><li>At 600m<sup>2</sup>, the BMRI hosts the largest biosafety level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory facilities on the African continent. BSL-3 laboratories are used to study infectious agents or toxins that may be transmitted through the air and cause potentially lethal infections. BSL-3 laboratories are designed to be easily decontaminated. </li><li>A system of negative air pressure keeps hazardous fumes or airborne toxins from flowing out of laboratories and into adjacent areas. A powerful ventilation and filtration plant continuously draw air out of laboratories and to the top of the building, where it is filtered and released.</li><li>The BMRI boasts advanced energy recovery technology fitted to the air system that reduces the building's carbon footprint compared to other similar buildings.</li></ul><p> </p><p><em>Click </em><a href="/english/faculty/healthsciences/biomedical-research-institute/Pages/Groups.aspx"><em>here</em></a><em> for more information on the research being conducted at the BMRI.</em></p><p><em>Click </em><a href="/english/Lists/Events/DispForm.aspx?ID=5476"><em>here</em></a><em> for more information about the BMRI launch activities taking place over the next week.</em></p><ul><li><em>Click </em><a href="/english/faculty/healthsciences/biomedical-research-institute/Pages/Resources.aspx#GB"><em>here</em></a><em> for a link to photos, videos and soundbites</em></li></ul><p><em><br></em></p><p> </p><p> </p><p>​<br></p>
New Director of Fundraising ready to advance SU Director of Fundraising ready to advance SUDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>​​David Marupen, the newly-appointed Director of Fundraising in Stellenbosch University's Development and Alumni Relations Division (DAR) has more than 25 years of experience in the field of fundraising. This, coupled with a commitment to building strategic partnerships and a passion for higher education, mentoring and uplifting communities, has him all set to work side by side with Karen Bruns, Senior Director of DAR, to advance the University's fundraising mission.<br></p><p>Marupen took up this position in January 2023, and comes with a wealth of knowledge honed in various positions within the fundraising arena. His career in fundraising started at the former Technikon Pretoria (now the Tshwane University of Technology), where he was the executive director of the Institutional Advancement Office. He then moved on to the University of Fort Hare, where he served as chief executive officer of the foundation responsible for overseeing all institutional fundraising activities. During this time, he also served as chairperson of the board of the Miriam Makeba Performance Arts Centre and as a member of the board of the Hunterstoun Academic Retreat Centre in Hogsback.</p><p>His journey in the higher education sector continued in the position of senior development officer at the University of Johannesburg’s Advancement Office. For the last five years before joining SU, he was the deputy director of the Resource Mobilisation Centre at the University of Limpopo.</p><p>He also held the position of fundraiser for the Financial Services Consumer Education Foundation of the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, director of fundraising and new business development at LoveLife and acting manager of marketing, communications and fundraising at Johannesburg Child Welfare. "I currently also serve on the board of the Morongwa Foundation, which focuses on improving the lives of marginalised communities," he adds.</p><p>So, why the move to Stellenbosch? Marupen, born and raised in Pretoria, says that this is due to the good reputation of Stellenbosch University’s academic, research and social impact offering. "The institution is intent on improving access to higher education for students, especially those with financial needs. SU is also strategic in building relationships with various partners and stakeholders to advance its mission. This mission, among others, aims to enrich and transform local, continental and global communities."</p><p>As he is joining a well-established team of successful fundraisers, Marupen believes that he will have his work cut out for him. "I am convinced that my experience gained over the years will positively impact the fundraising team and the broader DAR, by complementing the great work achieved thus far, but also ensuring that donor income is increased."</p><p>According to Marupen, fundraising is never an easy task, and it demands a systematic approach, commitment, discipline and a passion for the profession.</p><p>"Having worked with different teams over the years has shown me that teamwork, cross-functional support, and development within the division is required. This is an area that will receive my attention. I will create an optimal working environment that encourages teamwork, professional development, and shared responsibility for both success and failure. I will also focus on diversifying the existing donor base and tapping into institutions that can provide philanthropic grants to the University. The aim is to attract support for different projects that fall within the four fundraising thematic areas; which are student access and success, research, social justice, and infrastructure development."</p><p>Marupen, who comes from a family of teachers and also taught for years early in his career, believes in sharing knowledge and empowering the next generation. "I plan to mentor and coach aspiring fundraisers to become competent and skilled in the art of attracting funding. It is important that they learn to navigate through the difficulty of building authentic relationships that leads to long-term, sustainable partnerships and support."</p><p>He concludes, "I am excited and look forward to working with my esteemed SU colleagues to advance the goals and ideals of the institution as it strives towards further growth and sustainability." ​</p>
SciMathUS: Double success as twins get second chance Double success as twins get second chance Daniel Bugan<p></p><p>As the first twins to complete the SciMathUS programme, Rochelle and Jennelle Cloete serve as shining examples to disheartened matric students - that second chances can knock twice on the same door. </p><p>Stellenbosch University's SciMathUS University Preparation Programme gives high school learners who have passed Grade 12 but do not qualify for higher education selection a second opportunity to improve their National Senior Certificate (NSC) results in mathematics, physical sciences and accounting. This will enable them to re-apply for university programmes after they have successfully completed the programme.</p><p>The Eerste River siblings entered the SciMathUS programme in 2019 after discovering that their matric mathematics marks were not good enough to get accepted into SU for their intended course of study – a Bachelor's in Accounting (BAcc).</p><p>Rochelle recalls: “Our accounting teacher at Kleinvlei High School told us about the SciMathUS programme which we could apply for to improve our maths marks. And when we applied, both of us got accepted into the accounting stream."<br></p><p>Jennelle says the year-long programme was everything they hoped for and more.<br></p><p> “We gained a deeper understanding of maths and the basic principles thereof, which we had not had before. Thus, our maths marks improved exponentially. Consequently, we got accepted for our BAcc studies at SU the following year."<br></p><p><strong>BAcc graduates</strong><br></p><p>She says the programme also equipped them with academic literature and thinking skills as well as an introduction to economics and computer literacy skills, “which helped us in our undergraduate year as those basics were integrated in some of the modules for our degree".<br></p><p>Their SciMathUS journey also provided them with some valuable lessons which they do not hesitate to share with the class of 2023. “Do not be afraid to ask questions in class. Ask the lecturer for help if you are unsure about something, be it academic or personal. Stay up to date with your work and do your homework as required."</p><p>The sisters concede that their participation in the programme as twins had its advantages and disadvantages.<br></p><p>“One of the advantages was that we at least had each other in the beginning when the environment was new and strange. This was especially advantageous since we stayed in a hostel during that year for the first time in our lives," says Rochelle.<br></p><p>“One of the disadvantages was that we didn't really deem it necessary to make any new friends as we had each other. But in the end, we did actually make really good friends," says Jennelle.<br></p><p>The pair obtained their BAcc in 2022, but their SU journey is not over yet. Rochelle is planning on completing a postgraduate diploma in accounting this year, while Janelle will attempt her postgraduate studies in 2024. They plan to qualify as Chartered Accountants in the future.<br></p><p>And now, as they stand poised on the cusp of their dreams, the twins are full of gratitude for the SciMathUS programme that gave them the second chance to not only improve their maths marks and pursue their chosen degree, but also to change their lives forever.<br></p><p>​"Thank you SciMathUs for helping us to take control of our future, and for making our parents proud of us again."​</p>
Success takes time, says Matie alumnus takes time, says Matie alumnusDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>​​Being accountable for what you want to achieve in life, was the overriding lesson Jumien Peceur learnt during his year as a student in <a href="">Stellenbosch University's SciMathUS university preparation programme</a> – a lesson that continues to serve him well to this day.</p><p>Peceur entered the SciMathUS class of 2006 after matriculating from New Orleans High School as, by his own admission, “an average learner with a lack of ambition and drive".<br></p><p>“It dawned on me fairly late that there is a whole world after high school and that this world demands something of me. But I did not have the tools or maturity to identify what I needed to allocate, in terms of time and personal sacrifice, to achieve the requisite grades to enter a university. As a result, my matric results were not good enough to study my choices of either science, engineering or medicine.<br></p><p> “I did not know about SciMathUs until a classmate told me about his sister who completed the programme. I then decided to apply."<br></p><p>He said his SciMathUS journey was an eye-opening experience which taught him that second chances and opportunities are scarce and that you must take advantage of it.<br></p><p> “It was made clear from the start and throughout the entire year, that it was not our right to be there, that it was a privilege and that we were not entitled to it. This was the biggest lesson for me: the fact that the world does not owe me anything and that hard work eventually is rewarded. This concept of personal responsibility changed my outlook on the world."<br></p><p>As a result, Peceur was better prepared for his first year than most first-year students and went on to obtain a BSc in Geology from SU in 2010.<br></p><p> “I started my career the following year (2011) at a petroleum resource regulating agency. Thereafter I moved to a mineral processing company where I started out as an intern and over the next 10 years worked myself up the corporate ladder into a senior management role. I'm currently the general manager at this organisation."<br></p><p><strong>'It is our duty to make sure that programmes such as SciMathUs thrive'</strong><br></p><p>But he said the challenges in the corporate world were and continue to be immense.<br></p><p>“I entered the labour market with ideas of grandeur and arrogance but was soon reminded that I had no experience or pedigree to fall back on. I felt exactly the same way as I did after high school, an average graduate with nothing but a piece of paper to my name. But this time, however, thanks to SciMathUs, I had the tools and maturity to put my head down and put in the work, which I continue to do."<br></p><p>It is this mantra of hard work paying off which he wants to pass on to those who want to leave their mark on the world.<br></p><p>“The saying, '10% inspiration and 90% perspiration', holds true. You have to put in the work to become what you dream of being. Let the ego go sometimes because nine times out of 10, it won't do you any good. Get to know yourself and realise that success does not happen overnight. It takes time."<br></p><p>He also appealed to SciMathUS alumni to do their bit to plough back into the programme.<br></p><p> “We know what SciMathUs has done for us and we know how our lives and the lives of our families have changed as a direct result of being given a second chance. We also know what SciMathUs does for the country, by adding productive, ambitious, nation builders to our society. It is our duty to make sure that programmes such as SciMathUs thrive so that each new generation of South Africans have the opportunity that we had. Let's honour this duty by donating to this programme in any way we can. “<br></p><p>​The Paarl native is currently studying towards an MSc in Economic Geology and is also a registered professional natural scientist. </p><ul><li><a href="" target="_blank">​Click here to learn more about the #ChangingLives campaign.​</a>​​<br></li></ul><span></span><p><br></p>
Let's pay it forward!'s pay it forward!Development & Alumni Relations<p></p><p>For 28-year-old Matie alumnus Jazz Rampen, supporting Stellenbosch University's Bridge the Gap (BTG) campaign meant playing his part in contributing to a brighter future for talented young Matie students.</p><p>“Personally, I strongly feel that all people should have equal access to education, therefore I was very happy to make my donation," he says.</p><p>BTG was established in 2021 and invites alumni, the student community, staff, parents, and friends of the University to support students in overcoming the financial obstacles blocking their path to success. The aim of the campaign is to close the gap between talent and financial need and to make a tangible difference in the lives of students.</p><p>The University is raising funds for various initiatives under the umbrella of BTG. These include: #Move4Food and the Tygerberg Pantry Project to curb student hunger; #Action4Inclusion, #GradMe, Caught in the Middle, and #Zim4Zim to clear outstanding student debt; #EndPeriodPoverty to make sanitary hygiene products available to students who cannot afford them; and #MatiesHaveDrive to provide driver training for students who require a driving licence in order to get a job. Supporters can choose which priority initiative they would like to support, whether that is a particular initiative or the Fund in general.</p><p>Jazz, who works as a learning consultant in sustainability for a Dutch bank, says being compassionate and sharing with others are values that his parents passed on to him.</p><p>“Growing up I saw my parents caring for others and giving away their tithes to the church. Now that I am in a place where I am able to give and contribute to society, I feel that it is my duty to do so. I generally contribute to initiatives I feel a connection with and in this case, the BTG Fund ticked all the boxes."</p><p>His message to fellow alumni is to make that leap and pay it forward. “I was surprised by the variety of initiatives within the BTG campaign. I would therefore recommend you all to have a look, I am confident that there is an initiative close to your heart as well."<br></p><p>​<br></p>
Education 'provides a basis for the future' 'provides a basis for the future'Development & Alumni Relations<p></p><p>​Matie alumna Karlijne Van Bree knows the value of a good education and wants to make sure such privilege is extended to fellow Matie students. And that is the reason why she has donated to Stellenbosch University's Bridge the Gap (BTG) campaign, says Karlijne.<br></p><p>​BTG is the University's annual fundraising campaign that was launched in 2021. The campaign invites alumni, the student community, staff, parents, and friends of the University to support our students in overcoming the financial obstacles blocking their path to success. The aim of the campaign is to close the gap between talent and financial need and make a tangible difference in the lives of Matie students.<br></p><p>The University is raising funds for various initiatives under the umbrella of BTG. These include: #Move4Food and the Tygerberg Pantry Project to curb student hunger; #Action4Inclusion, #GradMe, Caught in the Middle, and #Zim4Zim to clear outstanding student debt; #EndPeriodPoverty to make sanitary hygiene products available to students who cannot afford them; and #MatiesHaveDrive to provide driver training for students who require a driving licence in order to get a job. Supporters can choose which priority initiative they would like to support, whether that is a particular initiative or the Fund in general. </p><p>Karlijne, who is a councillor in Grimbergen, Belgium, says the experiences she acquired, both academically and personally, will stay with her for the rest of her life. </p><p>“In 2001, I was able to study for one year at Stellenbosch University. Before that, I had worked for three years as a trainee attorney in a law firm in Flanders, but it was actually already a childhood wish to study in South Africa one day. Both the country and Afrikaans appealed to me and the university in Stellenbosch seemed like an environment where I could feel at home. Indeed, I found friends for life."<br></p><p>Karlijne says she studied mainly private international law and gained a lot of knowledge that enabled her quickly to find work at the Ministry of Justice in Brussels. “For 15 years, I was able to put the theory I had gained about international child abduction into practice."<br></p><p>She believes education and the acquisition of theoretical knowledge are important for a person's development. “It provides a basis for the future and helps many to become self-reliant in life by making it easier to find a job or become more self-confident.​<br></p><p>“By making this donation, I hope to have been able to help at least one person receive or obtain an education at Stellenbosch University. In this way, I hope to have been a small link in the larger BTG project, and who knows, perhaps one day the student who has been assisted will be able to contribute to others."<br></p><p>​<br></p>
Prof Thuli visits the United Kingdom Thuli visits the United KingdomDarryn Havenga<p></p><p>It is not every day that the opportunity arises to spend time in the company of great South Africans, who are not just currently doing great things for our country and her people, but have a tried and tested track record of always working to improve our country and the living situations of all her people. Such an opportunity came along this past September,  for me and hundreds of fellow South Africans and members of the British public, when Professor Thuli Madonsela joined the Development and Alumni Relations Office in visiting various constituencies in the United Kingdom (UK).</p><p>When asking Prof Thuli what her thoughts were on talking about social justice to a UK community, Prof Thuli had this to say: <em>“I am looking forward to speaking in the UK and engaging with the UK community on the topic of social justice. In this fast-moving world, most societies, and political regimes, including those founded on democratic principles and ideals, struggle to achieve and maintain a balance between individual freedom and social justice. As we face increased economic and social pressures, inequality is expanding across all societies and so the need for social justice strengthens, and we must come together to find solutions."</em></p><p>It is uncanny, really, that what had been an occasion planned for the last three years, when finally set in motion, coincided with the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the ascension to the throne of His Majesty King Charles III. </p><p>For us as South Africans, for Prof Thuli and our alumni, it was surreal that two of our events intersected – really making our time together one of true reflection as we were surrounded by these historic moments happening in a country not our own, but with whom we share a long and complicated history. </p><p>Our time with Prof Thuli began the Saturday that the Privy Council proclaimed Prince Charles as King – it was at this time that Prof Thuli along with 20 of the university's alumni were walking down the Pall Mall to Green Park, and happened to pass St. James' Palace. Unbeknownst to us, this was where the Privy Council and the future king of the United Kingdom would be. Well, we might not have known this, but the tens of thousands of other Londoners and visitors did –so even as we were taking a social walk with Prof Thuli to discuss #Action4Inclusion and social justice, we inadvertently got caught up in a moment of history – a poignant reminder to all of us on the walk of the work that Prof Thuli is engaged in at Stellenbosch University.</p><p>Later in Green Park, an opportunity to gather and reflect took place in the memorial garden set up for the public to pay their respects to the late queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II – and again the moment will be etched in our memories, tied in with this historical moment of reflection as Prof Thuli spoke with us about what social justice is, why social justice is important and how imbalances create social dissolution and economic problems.</p><p>Our visit with Prof Thuli in the UK continued Monday morning bright and early at the SA Chamber of Commerce business breakfast hosted by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, where Prof Thuli engaged with the in-person and online audience around the topic “What is Social Justice?". </p><p>Keeping Prof Thuli busy, we quickly moved on from the business breakfast to an intimate luncheon with donors of Stellenbosch University and Trustees of the SU Foundation in the UK – where the conversation centred on the work of the soon-to-be-launched Centre for Social Justice.</p><p>That evening, as the guest of Prof Adam Habib and the School of Oriental and African Studies<strong> </strong>(SOAS) University of London, Prof Thuli gave a public lecture in the Brunei Gallery as part of the Director's Lecture Series to guests of the SOAS and our alumni living in London. The lecture, “The Meaning of Social Justice", struck a positive chord and is available online.</p><p>Our time with Prof Thuli ended in Edinburgh as guests of the WS Society. The Society of Writers to His Majesty's Signet (known as the WS Society) (Scottish charity SC050987) is the incorporated body of Scottish lawyers that is more than 500 years old. They are one of the oldest incorporated bodies for public benefit in Scotland.</p><p>It was on this day and occasion that our second moment of being part of a historic moment occurred. The queen's body was lying in state in St Giles Cathedral, which was just across from our hotel. As we arrived in Edinburgh, unable to use taxis to get to our hotel, the four of us travellers from Stellenbosch traipsed up the Royal Mile (this in itself was a sight to behold if you know how steep that hill is). Unbeknownst to us, at that same time, Her Majesty's body would be departing St Giles Cathedral and be driven down the Royal Mile to be brought down to London. And so we found ourselves being part of extraordinary historic moments on both sides of this trip.</p><p>With so many exciting and contemplative things happening, we could not have asked for a better way to end our trip in the UK with Prof Thuli than by spending the evening with Prof Thuli as guests of the WS Society. Acclaimed international journalist, Meera Selva, spent time with Prof Thuli on the couch talking about the role of the media and the law fraternity in ensuring the safeguards of democracy and social justice. What really set the scene and tone for the evening was a group of young law interns who got to spend some quality Q&A time with Prof Thuli before the event started, and the welcoming address delivered by Lady Dorian, a Scottish advocate and judge who has served as the Lord Justice Clerk since 2016. She is the first woman to hold the position.</p><p>We embarked on this UK journey with the purpose of finding out what can we do in a world where the enormous gap in the distribution of wealth, income and public benefits is growing ever wider, reflecting a general trend that is morally unfair, politically unwise, and economically unsound. Injustices at international level have also produced a parallel increase in inequality between affluent and poor countries.</p><p>How do we then address existing inequalities? Is the nature, legitimacy and use of power fully understood by those who are privileged to hold political and administrative power globally?  What is their understanding of self-interest, enlightened self-interest, general interest and the common good? What can each of us do to reduce inequalities in matters within our control such as student debt? These are the questions we asked of all our audiences across the UK in these few days.</p><p>One can only believe in the best of humanity and trust that each one of the 500 people we encountered on this trip and who heard the message will do their best to help create a just world for all.</p><ul><li>​If you would like to support the projects that are close to the heart of Prof Thuli Madonsela then join her by donating to the #Action4Inclusion Fund at <a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong>.</strong></li></ul><p>​<br></p>
Thank you, Maties you, MatiesDevelopment & Alumni Relations<p>Our donors are truly amazing, and amongst our donors in the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland are many, many Maties who are giving generously to support their alma mater and students through bursaries and other support to ensure that all students at Stellenbosch University have access to whatever is needed to be successful.<br></p><p>Between January and November 2022, our Maties, friends and donors in the UK and Ireland have donated more than R25m to various projects and bursaries at Stellenbosch University. I am humbled by the generosity of our donors and if you have not yet become one of our donors, it is never too late to give and make a difference – one Matie to another!</p><p>You can make a tax incentive gift to Stellenbosch University through the Stellenbosch University SA Foundation UK (Charity # 1107297). For UK taxpayers, your gift is even topped up with an additional 25% by His Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if you Gift Aid it. No donation is too small to make a difference.</p><p>For one-off giving, please click on the link below:</p><ul><li>​ For bursary support you <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>can donate here</strong></a><strong>. </strong><br></li></ul><ul><li>​​To support one of the eight Bridge the Gap projects, you can <a href="" target="_blank"><strong>donate here. </strong></a><br></li></ul><p>If you or your company would like to be more substantially involved in supporting bursaries at Stellenbosch University, then please email me and we can arrange a meeting to find out what you had in mind and how we can match your giving need to a priority project at Stellenbosch University.<br></p><p>If you are like some of our Maties, such as those mentioned in my opening article who cycled the London to Brighton, you may want to be part of the 2023 London to Brighton Maties Cycle Team, and raise funds through cycling, then drop me an email and I will give you the information you need to register.</p><p>Thank you, Maties. You are all amazing and incredible individuals and together we can make a difference to our country and her future, the youth, and the Maties of tomorrow.​</p>
'An opportunity to make a difference''An opportunity to make a difference'Development & Alumni Relations<p></p><p>When Maties Frederik Schutyser and Rachel Spichiger saw an opportunity to support students at their alma mater, they did not hesitate. Towards the end of 2021, they decided to make a donation to Stellenbosch University's Bridge the Gap (BTG) campaign. </p><p>BTG, which was launched in 2021, aims to remove the obstacles that are hindering Maties from having a meaningful student experience and obtaining that sought-after degree. </p><p>The University is raising funds for various initiatives under the umbrella of BTG. These include: #Move4Food and the Tygerberg Pantry Project to curb student hunger; #Action4Inclusion, #GradMe, Caught in the Middle, and #Zim4Zim to clear outstanding student debt; #EndPeriodPoverty to make sanitary hygiene products available to students who cannot afford them; and #MatiesHaveDrive to provide driver training for students who require a driving licence in order to get a job. Supporters can choose which priority initiative they would like to support, whether that is a particular initiative or the Fund in general. </p><p>“This Fund provided a very real and concrete opportunity to make a difference," Frederik and Rachel said. The two, who met in Stellenbosch in 1997 when Rachel was on an exchange term studying literature and Frederik was studying towards his LLM, said they are very conscious of the importance of a quality education and were happy to do their part by making a contribution.</p><p>“We want students to enjoy their unique journey without undue stress and graduate with peace of mind. Our journey led us from Botswana to Zambia and from Switzerland to Denmark, before we settled in Brussels in 2011.</p><p>“We are currently working at the European Commission [Rachel in international partnerships, and Frederik in humanitarian aid] and we both have the desire to pay it forward. If we can play just a small part in helping a student reach his or her full potential, it will be wonderful!"<br></p><p>​<br></p>
PhD graduate crosses graduation stage on his 30th birthday PhD graduate crosses graduation stage on his 30th birthdaySonika Lamprecht / Photo: Stefan Els<p style="text-align:justify;">​​Monday 5 December 2022 was a big day for Dr Hillary Chibaya. Not only did he cross the graduation stage to receive his doctoral degree from Stellenbosch University (SU) but he also did so on his 30<sup>th</sup> birthday.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I am excited to graduate on my birthday. Individually, they are precious events. To be able to celebrate both of these with my family and friends is simply priceless."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Chibaya grew up in Harare, Zimbabwe together with his younger brother and two sisters. He went to Moleli High School near the town of Norton, about 80 km from Harare. His interest in and understanding of the social interactions among people coupled with a passion to assist those without substantial means, led him to persue Social Work as a field of study.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">It was his grandmother, Dr Chipo Mutyambizi, who advised him to study at Stellenbosch University. “While I was trying to decide on a university to attend, she was completing her Master's in Economics at SU. She was convinced SU was the best fit for my intended degree programme, as well as my sheer ambition. Almost nine years later, I am inclined to agree with her." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">His research topic centres around understanding the opinions of social workers on their perceived roles in social protest actions. “As a researcher, I had an avid curiosity to understand the complex and intricate workings of how people decide to join one another, and collectively decide to pursue respective social change efforts," Chibaya explains. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">But pursuing a doctoral study is inherently challenging on one's mental, social and emotional dimensions says Chibaya. “Without proper guidance and mentorship, the sheer complexity of the task is enough to drive one into depression. The long hours it demands of you can easily leave you without any friends or companions. When you couple all that with a lack of adequate financial means, it is overwhelmingly impossible."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, he was fortunate have a “brilliant supervisor and outstanding mentor" in Prof Lambert Engelbrecht. “Over the past four years, he has guided and directed me in every stage of my research study. Owing to him and the Social Work Department, I received scholarships to fund my doctoral study. A special thank you to Dianne Orton and Gordon Howard who supported me financially."</p><p>Orton, also a social worker, says, “We have met Hillary on two different occasions and were impressed with his sincerity, intelligence, determinism and future ambitions. His career will be a joy to follow and as I understand it, he is well on his way to making a mark in the social work profession." </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Chibaya is also full of praise for his parents and siblings, whose support has always been “indispensable" in his academic career. “They were my stronghold during my lowest moments and kept me measured during the small victories."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Chibaya is convinced that discipline and a measured, well-balanced approach to his studies was the key to his success. “I had both long and short term goals carefully spread out across the intended timeline to complete the study." Despite the demands of his research, Chibaya participated in activities such as Toastmasters and exercised regularly. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">For the past three months, he has been completing an Erasmus+ post-doctoral programme in Trento, Italy. This programme entailed co-authoring research articles with Engelbrecht and Prof Alessandro Sicora from Trento University. He also facilitated seminars and workshops on social work and social action at the Universities of Turin and Trento and attended workshops on various topics within social work and practice research.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">After almost a decade at Maties, Stellenbosch feels like home to him. “I have met friends who have since become family to me. Together, we explored the Winelands, which I highly recommend. I have also been on many scenic hikes with some unforgettable views."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">But he will soon be waving the vineyards of Stellenbosch farewell as he is heading to Canada next year for a post-doctoral programme at the University of Montreal. “Beyond that, I will further my research on social action for human rights and social justice in social work," says Chibaya.  “Perhaps I will become a professor of social work one day. I love Stellenbosch, so maybe I will come back and lecture at the SU."</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>More about the donors</strong></p><p>Howard and Orton live in Iowa in the United States. Orton, a social worker by profession, was on a faculty exchange programme through the University of Missouri and the University of the Western Cape in 2000 when she met Dr Sulina Green, then the Director of the Social Work Program at SU. “It was through that association that I decided to pursue my doctorate at Stellenbosch with Green as my mentor and supervisor. I graduated in 2007.  Prof Lambert Engelbrecht was a member of my dissertation committee." </p><p>The couple has been to South Africa and especially to Stellenbosch many times and have become friends with many of the faculty members. “We found there was a need for student support, so we decided to donate in the area of student scholarships. Engelbrecht recommended Chibaya as a deserving student. After reviewing his information, we decided to provide financial support for his studies. </p><p>“Student support in the form of academic scholarships is our passion. We hope to continue to help support the department and its students in the future. Stellenbosch is truly a world class institution and I am grateful to be an alum and donor," Orton adds.<br></p>