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Convocation: SU embraces inclusivity and multilingualism SU embraces inclusivity and multilingualismDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p>​​​​“Our graduates are well qualified and they are internationally in demand, our research is innovative and relevant and our impact on society is extensive. All this we do by reaching out inclusively, not by exclusively looking inward," Stellenbosch University (SU) Rector and Vice-Chancellor Prof Wim de Villiers said at the annual meeting of the Convocation on Thursday, 14 November 2019.<br></p><p>The meeting took place at the Adam Small Theatre Complex, and was attended by 253 members of the Convocation, consisting of alumni and academic staff members of the University. Dr Leslie van Rooi was elected to the position of Vice-President of the Convocation with an overwhelming majority. He is Senior Director: Social Impact and Transformation at SU, and Residence Head of Simonsberg. Esterbeth Singels was elected as an additional member, replacing Michael Jonas.<br></p><p>De Villiers highlighted some of SU's recent successes:<br></p><ul><li>More than 9 000 degrees, diplomas and certificates, including 308 doctorates – a new record – be​ing awarded over the past academic year (2018);</li><li>Close to 43% of the university's 32 000 students are now from the coloured, black, Indian or Asian population groups, and its student success rate is above 85% - one of the highest in the country;</li><li>SU is the only university in Africa invited to join the prestigious Global Alliance of Universities on Climate. The other members include UC Berkeley, Cambridge, Imperial College London, the London School of Economics, MIT and China's Tsinghua University; and</li><li>The launch of the new School for Data Science and Computational Thinking, a ground-breaking initiative that will work across all 10 of SU's faculties in an interdisciplinary way. A new degree course in Data Engineering, and new interdisciplinary study options are available in such fields as bioinformatics and computational biology. </li></ul><p>De Villiers emphasised the University's continued commitment to multilingualism, following last month's unanimously ruling by the Constitutional Court, rejecting Gelyke Kanse's challenge of SU's 2016 Language Policy. The judgement made it clear that the Language Policy was constitutionally justified and that the process followed to adopt it Language Policy was thorough, exhaustive, inclusive and properly deliberative.</p><p>"We remain committed to the use of Afrikaans - in conjunction with English - as languages of instruction against the background of inclusivity and multilingualism," De Villiers said.</p><p> “As you know, a retired judge has been appointed to investigate a complaint against me that I tried to interfere with the language court case. I welcome the inquiry and look forward to the report that will be delivered to Council. The university will then communicate further on the matter," he added.</p><p>The guest speaker, Waldimar Pelser, editor of <em>Rapport</em>, spoke about the current state of South Africa (2019) and how we can ensure it improves by 2029.</p><p>He makes the assertion that the future for South Africans is highly uncertain, with Eskom's inability to keep the lights on, government's inaction, rising unemployment and the poor state of the economy being major worries.</p><p>Pelser cautions that if this current state of affairs continues, “the economy will not reach its full potential, unemployment will increase, populism will thrive and service delivery will weaken further".</p><p>However, he feels there is hope and gives three reasons to support this. </p><p>“Crises sometimes release new energy, fosters opposition and it spurs innovation in areas where we do have futures. Secondly, although costly state decay continues, many South Africans still live very good lives. And lastly, the future is very hard to predict, anything can still happen and that is good news."</p><p>He concluded by saying that South Africa's future in 2029 will be depend on those that are able to seize opportunities that others fail to see. </p><p>President of the Convocation Advocate Jan Heunis used his speech to criticise the University and the Constitutional Court over the Language Policy case. He was part of the Gelyke Kanse application, which was rejected by the Court. </p><p>He repeated allegations that the Rector interfered in the case by asking Justice Edwin Cameron to stand for the position of Chancellor, and threatened to resign if the Rector and Chair of Council do not resign, and if the Chancellor is inaugurated.</p><ul><li><a href="/english/management/wim-de-villiers/speeches" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>Click here</strong></a> to access the Rector's speech​<br></li></ul><p><br></p>
Allan Gray: Statement from Stellenbosch University Gray: Statement from Stellenbosch UniversityDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p>Stellenbosch University (SU) mourns the death of Allan Gray - entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist – who has made such a positive impact on the lives of our students. <br></p><p>Since 2012, his Allan Gray Orbis Foundation has been one of our most valuable partners – providing bursary support to more than 50 Maties studying in the fields of science, commerce, engineering, humanities and law. In addition to bursary support, the Foundation has been working closely with Innovus, our innovation company, to assist and develop students in the entrepreneurial space. </p><p>Allan Gray will be remembered with a tremendous sense of gratitude because of his investment in education and the future of South Africa's bright young minds. We believe his impact will be felt for generations to come as these students go out and make a positive difference in society. <br></p>
'I took the road less travelled''I took the road less travelled'Development & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p style="text-align:justify;">“I took the road less travelled. As a coloured woman working in an industry where there are hardly any women of colour, but also considering our country's history with the wine industry and alcohol dependency amongst some communities, I took the road less travelled by following this path. When I started in this industry, my mom wasn't very happy with me, because this wasn't the field you studied in."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">These were the words of Natasha Boks, a Faculty of AgriSciences' alumnus, former winemaker and businesswoman, at the third Careers Café held recently. The TedTalk-styled talk series was launched in 2016 by the Alumni Relations Office to provide a platform for alumni to engage with the university in a different manner by offering their time and skills to help current students prepare for the careers they want. At the same time, undergraduate and postgraduate students are exposed to a diverse group of alumni who have pursued different careers and faced various challenges along the way to build a successful career. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">During her talk, Boks shared some of the important things she learned in her life and career journey that inspired her to finally open up her own businesses – one focused on the wine production industry in South Africa and the other on wine exports and distribution in the rest of Africa.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I think that finding your own success is linked to understanding your uniqueness," she said. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This, added Boks, required one to be authentic and to make choices for your life and your career based on the things that you value. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Ask yourself, why am I competing and for who and for what. You have to become your own standard and know your worth and what you have to offer."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Knowing who you are, said Boks, requires you to choose your own path. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“When I look at my journey at Nederburg, yes we won a lot of awards and we were great as a team, but I realised that when you don't know who you are, you are always going to compete with other people. The life you choose for yourself, should be yours. I can understand the pressure that people experience, especially with social media, but always choose your own path."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This lesson, said Boks, is something she learnt when she accepted a job as head winemaker at Nederburg Wine Estate, one of the most awarded wine estates in South Africa. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I was the head winemaker and I needed to make sure that we still made quality Nederburg wines that would win awards under my leadership. But the question was, did I have to be like everyone else to do that?"<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She encouraged the students to listen to the opinions of those who provided constructive criticism that would add to their development, but also to be wary of those critics who will break down what the students may build without adding to their development. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“People will have an opinion about you, but when they give you their opinion, you have to ask: Who is the person giving the opinion? Is the person giving you the advice someone you trust and see as a role model? If you don't, just listen to the comment and move on."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This, she added, is very important, especially when you fail. It has also been vital in helping her build her own businesses. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“When it comes to business, you need to know who you are, because if you don't other people will impose their vision or plan unto you and this may take you off the path you need to take. You are going to fail, you are going to cry and you are going to swear at yourself and ask, 'why did I leave a comfortable safe job?', but one thing I can tell you, you are going to be happy and be fulfilled if you follow your passion and purpose. Yes, it is hard work, but you are going to be satisfied with your choices and at peace with it if you understand that only you are responsible for where you end up in life."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Knowing her worth, said Boks, is another reason that she has never had to search for a job in her life. By knowing her worth and by demonstrating the value she added through the work she performed at the companies she worked at, Boks secured positions as assistant winemaker and head winemaker at various companies. However, it was the companies that approached her instead of the other way around.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She encouraged students to also push themselves beyond their limits and to evaluate their goals on a monthly, half-year and yearly basis. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Give yourself a timeline and start doing something about the goals you set out for yourself. A piece of paper with your goals will only tell you what you want to do and should do, but it won't make you do it. Take action in what you want to achieve in your life and be careful of complacency."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">And, while Boks encouraged the students to work hard to reach their goals, she told them to also ensure that they always create balance in their life. This, she said, was a key lesson she learnt when in June 2017 she suffered physical burnout and a near heart attack. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Before I resigned from Distell in July 2017, I already knew it was time to get out of the corporate environment and do my own thing. I was working at Distell and I had a mentor in the company and I was satisfied with how things were progressing. But, in the first week of June 2017 I had a burnout," she said.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I remember that morning well. My husband went to work quite early. I went to shower and I got this really bad pain in my chest. The moment I stepped out of the shower, I collapsed. I was lying on the bathroom floor and I was still aware of where I was, but the pain in my chest was so bad I could not get to my phone, but yet, the first thing I thought as I was lying there was, I need to get to work."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I called my husband and when he did not pick up, I called a friend. As soon as she calmed me down, I put on my clothes and I went to work. I told my assistant this is what you have to do for the day and then I drove myself to the hospital."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Boks was taken up immediately. She was only 35, but a muscle in her heart had become inflamed, putting her at high risk of suffering a heart attack that morning.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I knew that there had to be something wrong with me, because no one in their right mind, who is near to having a heart attack will drive to work first and then drive themselves to hospital."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It was time to ask myself, where are you going? And that is the day that I told myself – I am choosing me, I am no longer going to push myself like this. So I started exercising, I started looking at what I ate and I made a choice to start my own businesses." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She adds, however, that the decision was not driven by disillusionment with the company she worked for, but the realisation that she had made the contributions she wished to make at Distell and that it was time to take on a new challenge.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">While Boks believes that it is important to have balance and value oneself, she told the students that it was equally important to value other people and the contributions they make. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Make sure that if you have people reporting to you that those people always feel valued and that they understand the value they bring to the table." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">To demonstrate this point, she told the students a story about a co-worker who had worked at Distell for 20 years, but had never been given the opportunity to participate in a wine tasting event before, something he really felt he wanted to develop more. When she offered the opportunity to the worker to participate in one of the wine industry's well-known wine tasting events, he was reluctant to participate. After much convincing, he agreed to accompany her to the event. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I took him over to a few of the other stands at the event and he started talking to people and in that moment he realized just how much he knew about winemaking. He had worked at Distell for 20 years and had never had such an opportunity. Open up the platforms that were given to you to other people so that they can also grow. Sometimes we forget that we are better off than others, so when you can, give someone else the opportunity to get to where they want to be." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Ending her talk, Boks said: “The last thing I want you to do is to cultivate grit. You are going to fail, but you will need to stand up and try again. To do that, you are going to have to cultivate grit, perseverance and resilience, because you are going to need that to succeed". <br></p><ul style="text-align:justify;"><li><em>Photo: Natasha Boks (far left), a Faculty of AgriSciences' alumnus, former head winemaker and businesswoman, was the guest speaker at the third Careers Café held recently. With her are Marvin Koopman (far right), Alumni Relations Coordinator at the Alumni Relations division, and the two students who won an opportunity to have dinner with Boks after attending the Careers Café. They are Dimpho Mathibe (second from the left) and Amy Goliath (third from the left). (Henk Oets) </em></li></ul><p><br></p>
Vosloo couple invests in Chair in Afrikaans Language Practice at SU couple invests in Chair in Afrikaans Language Practice at SUDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p>​​​Ton Vosloo and Anet Pienaar-Vosloo, a couple with close ties to Stellenbosch University (SU), announced that from 2020 they will be sponsoring the Ton and Anet Vosloo Chair in Afrikaans Language Practice at SU for five years.<br></p><p>In addition to the Chair, funds are made available for bursaries for deserving students studying Afrikaans at postgraduate level at SU.</p><p>According to the Vosloo couple, the Chair is aimed at further developing Afrikaans as an important instrument in the service of the entire South African community.</p><p>Until 2015, Vosloo was in the industry for 59 years as a journalist, editor, CEO and chairperson of Naspers, and for the past three years, professor of journalism at SU. Pienaar-Vosloo, also a former journalist, is filming the third television series <em>Mooi </em>for the VIA TV channel. She is a Matie who studied fine art, and is well known for her role as co-founder and director of the Klein Karoo National Arts Festival, Aardklop and various other festivals across the country. She is also the first female chair of the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town.</p><p>Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of SU, says the donation not only helps in maintaining Afrikaans as a medium of instruction, but also in promoting Afrikaans as a science and career language in a multilingual community. "As far as we know this is the first and only sponsored Chair in Afrikaans Language Practice at any university," he adds.</p><p>Prof Ilse Feinauer of the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch in SU's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, has been appointed incumbent of this Chair. She has been teaching at the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch since 1982, and since 1996 has been involved in the postgraduate programme in translation, which has been expanded under her guidance from a postgraduate diploma in translation to a PhD in translation. She chaired the Department from 2005 to the end of 2008 and held the position of Vice Dean: Research of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences from 2015 to 2018. In 2013, Feinauer became the first woman to be promoted to professor of Afrikaans linguistics at SU, and in 2014, the Taiyuan University of Technology in Taiyuan, Shanxi (China), awarded her an honorary professorship in their Faculty of International Language and Culture.</p><p>“It is an incredible honour and privilege for me to be able to hold this Chair in Afrikaans Language Practice. All credit goes to Prof Wim de Villiers for laying the groundwork to make this Chair a reality in the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch."</p><p>According to Prof Feinauer, bursaries have already been awarded to four honours students, three master's students, two PhD students and one postdoctoral fellowship in Afrikaans and Dutch for 2020. “This Chair provides the Department with the opportunity to empower postgraduate students in particular to do research in and about Afrikaans in order to pursue a professional career after completing their studies in and through Afrikaans," she added.</p><p>When Ton Vosloo was asked why he and his wife came forward with the support of Afrikaans, he replied: “In my memoirs <em>Across Boundaries: A life in the media in a time of change</em>, published last year, I wrote a chapter entitled, 'Afrikaans in decline'. I made the point in the chapter that I hope gracious individuals would come forward who were concerned with the A to Z of Afrikaans.</p><p>“Anet and I have the grace that we can help. Afrikaans, as Jan Rabie put it, is our oxygen. Now is the time to step in further to develop this incredible source of knowledge for the sake of our nation's future. "</p><p>The Vosloos have been esteemed SU donors for some time.<br></p>
It’s only because I dared, says Songezo Mabece’s only because I dared, says Songezo MabeceDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p style="text-align:justify;">“I dared. I had nothing to lose. I gave myself a chance. Here where you are sitting now, you are sitting on a no, but you can also be put in a different position to where you are now if you dare to ask. It's only because I dared," said Law Faculty alumnus, SAFM radio presenter and qualified lawyer Songezo Mabece as he addressed more than 400 students at a recent Careers Café held at Stellenbosch University (SU). <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">This was the main tip that Mabece shared from his Top 5 Tips with the students on how to build a successful career.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mabece was the second alumnus to participate in the annual Careers Café series. The TedTalk-styled talk series was launched in 2016 by the Alumni Relations division to provide a platform for alumni to engage with the university in a different manner by offering their time and skills to help current students prepare for the careers they want. At the same time, undergraduate and postgraduate students are exposed to a diverse group of alumni who have pursued different careers and faced various challenges along the way to build a successful career. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Mabece, who grew up in Sada, a rural community in the Eastern Cape, today works as Legal Counsel and Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of the Competition Commission of South Africa. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Speaking to the students, he shared how his journey started when he was just eight years old and enrolled at Selborne Primary School after having secured a spot at the boarding school. Upon acceptance as a learner, Mabece would be one of only eight black learners to live in the school hostel along with 60 white learners. Two of the eight African learners also happened to be his brothers. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“For the next 11 years my life was governed by the clock," said Mabece as he shared the challenges of moving into a school hostel at the age of eight and having to adjust to a world filled with immense privilege, something he was now being exposed to as a young African learner amongst thousands of white learners at Selborne Primary.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It signaled when I had to get up in the mornings, when I had to eat, when I had to wash and get dressed, and when I had to go to class. My life was dictated by a clock. There was no mom or dad to go home to at night, to tuck me into bed. Now imagine what that was like for an eight year old."<br></p><p>It was 1992, De Klerk was still president and apartheid was in its dying days, but still giving its last final kicks. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“If you were at a Model C school, you were expected to be like everyone else. In 1992 that was your only option. It was deplorable to be Mabece, I was called Sangezo instead of Songezo, or known as Mabeke. I was not in a position to affirm who I was, because I was an African boy in a white space," he explained. “I had to assimilate or suffer the consequences for being different."<br></p><p>“I had to make my choices and I had to make them quickly as I did not have my parents there with me."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In spite of these challenges, Mabece passed matric well enough to gain entry to university, and was an avid debater, athlete and rugby player at both primary and high school. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I became house captain, school captain, athletics captain and more. My brother, Loyiso, became headboy - marking a historic moment in the 130 year history of Selborne College. This after our older, late brother Luvuyo made history in 1998 by starting for the school's first XV rugby team in the number 12 jersey."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">When he finished his schooling, Mabece enrolled at Fort Hare University to complete an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) degree. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I am proud of where I come from. I am proud of what it took my family to get me there. I am proud of the wonderful chance I was offered to attend Selborne Primary and College schools, and I am super proud to have gone through that system and emerge from it with many wonderful accolades," he said. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“But my story is neither unique nor particularly special – many of my country men and women have gone through this system and walked a similar path of excellence and achievement. Many of those people are at this university, in this room." <br></p><p>In January 2009, after finishing his degree at Fort Hare, Mabece took on an internship at the SABC. But after a month, and a meagre salary of R3 000, he registered at Maties for an LLM in International Trade Law degree at the Law Faculty, which he commenced in February 2009.  </p><p><span style="text-align:justify;">A</span><span style="text-align:justify;"> wee</span><span style="text-align:justify;">k</span><span style="text-align:justify;"> after resigning from the SABC, he was in Stellenbosch and had moved into the empty Brackenfell home of his brother. But, on his first day of traveling from the house to SU, Mabece got a rude awakening. Public transport in the Western Cape would not get him to university on time as his commute would involve an hour's walk to the nearest train station, another hour to get to Stellenbosch if the trains were running on time, 30 minutes to get to his lecture hall on the university campus from Stellenbosch station and on top of that, the transport costs would require money he did not have.</span><br></p><p>“After having to stand on the side of the road, with a Maties sign in my hand, hitchhiking for a lift to university, I decided to stay at home the next day. A day later, I returned and a fellow student from Zimbabwe welcomed me into his apartment and let me stay there for the night."</p><p>The day after, he went to the postgraduate division's Ms Schwartz, and pleaded his case. By the end of the day, the faculty had found money to tie him over and deposited it into his bank account to help with his living expenses. Soon after, he was accepted into Huis de Villiers residence and later, through his interest as a rugby referee, many other doors opened for Mabece. <br></p><p>“That was the end of my trials and the start of the good life in Matieland. So much so that I only graduated eight years later," he said jokingly and laughed. “In reality, I wasn't ready for that LLM and that is a critical lesson I learned from that." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Irrespective, he completed it. A year before (May 2016) Mabece acquired the General Manager Programme certificate at the IEDC-Bled School of Management in Slovenia followed by a short course in Competition Law at the University of Cape Town.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In 2017, he took another risk. After reading about the LLM in Government Procurement Law at George Washington University (GWU) in the United States, he applied knowing full well he did not have the R750 000 he would need for his tuition and to cover basic living expenses in Washington. </p><p>Through his tenacity, Mabece secured full funding through a scholarship from GWU, that was augmented by his salary from his employer, who granted him 10-months leave to complete the degree. <br></p><p>“I gave myself a chance," he repeated. <br></p><p>“I know that I have been incredibly fortunate, a lot of what has happened in my life is simply playing out to a script that was written long before I was born. When I was at SU, I was not ready to do a Masters, and it is okay to not be ready."<br></p><p>Touching on another tip, he encouraged the students to not see delays as opportunities that are being denied. <br></p><p>“Somewhere out there, there is a bus waiting to dock at your station."<br></p><p>In encouraging the students to be the generation who strives to be better than the generation that preceded them, not only for themselves, but also for those that will follow, Mabece continued: “Evolution demands that of you and our environment demands that of you. When I look around this room and feel the energy here, I have absolutely no reservation in thinking that this university is in great hands and our country will be led by responsible citizens." <br></p><p>“The one thing I want to leave you with, if nothing else – believe in your madness, and give yourself a chance."<br></p><ul><li><em>​Photo: Law Faculty alumnus, lawyer and SAFM presenter Songezo Mabece (far right) was the guest speaker at the second Careers Café. With Songezo are the students who won a dinner with him after attending the event as well as Marvin Koopman (third from the left), Alumni Relations Coordinator in the Alumni Relations division. From the left the students are Takudzwa Masunda, Motsoari Nthunya, Noku Katom, and Olona Ndzuzo. (Henk Oets)</em></li></ul><p><br></p>
Rapport editor speaker at annual Convocation meeting editor speaker at annual Convocation meetingDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p>Waldimar Pelser, editor of Rapport newspaper, will be the guest speaker at the annual meeting of the Convocation of Stellenbosch University (SU) taking place on <strong>Thursday, 14 November 2019 </strong>at the Adam Small Theatre Complex in Stellenbosch. </p><p>The Convocation is a statutory body of SU, consisting of graduates, including current postgraduate students and all full-time and retired academic staff of the University. All South African universities are by law required to have a Convocation to ensure the inclusion of alumni interests in matters affecting the University. <br></p><p>Members are encouraged to arrive to register. The meeting will also include the election of two new members of the Executive Committee of the Convocation. </p><p><strong>More about our guest speaker:</strong></p><p>Pelser is the editor of Rapport and presenter of the news actuality programme <em>KN Verslag In Gesprek</em> on kykNet. He started his journalistic career in 2001 at Die Burger after completing the degrees BA Law, BPhil (Journalism) and MPhil (Journalism) at SU. In 2004, he completed the MPhil (Development Studies) degree at the University of Oxford, where he studied with a Rhodes Scholarship.</p><p>After three years at Beeld in Johannesburg, he moved to Lagos, Nigeria in 2007 to establish a Media24 newspaper office in West Africa. He became news editor of Beeld in 2009 and editor of news magazine <em>NuusNou / NewsNow</em> in 2011. Pelser has been awarded an ATKV media award as the best presenter of a news or actuality programme on three occasions and in 2019 was nominated for a Safta for best TV presenter in South Africa.​​<br><br></p><p><strong>Venue:</strong> Adam Small Theatre Complex, 15 Victoria Street, Stellenbosch</p><p><strong>Time:</strong> 19:00</p><p>Please confirm your attendance via e-mail to <a href=""></a> or telephonically on 021 808 9266. <br></p><p><br></p>
My success is thanks to a community effort success is thanks to a community effortDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p style="text-align:justify;">​​She's a successful businesswoman who owns two companies focused on the wine production industry in South Africa and wine exports and distribution in the rest of Africa, but Natasha Boks will be the first to tell you, she did not get there on her own.  <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">On Thursday, 24 October, Natasha will be the guest speaker at the Careers Café hosted by the Alumni Relations division in the Arts building on the corner of Merriman and Ryneveld Street between 13:00 and 14:00. If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student and wish to attend the event, please visit <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a> to reserve your seat or contact Marvin Koopman at <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a> by Wednesday, 23 October.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“I grew up in Cloetesville in Stellenbosch and my biggest role models and supporters were my mom and my dad. They were the people who would push me against all the odds. They were my cheerleaders and encouraged me to be proud of who I was and celebrate my individuality. Neither of them had finished school, but they taught me that your environment does not dictate where you go in life," says Natasha.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Further support came from her teachers at Cloetesville High School, specifically a married couple who both taught at the school, Mr and Mrs Rogers – the latter her Geography teacher. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Mr and Mrs Rogers imparted a lot of values on me when it came to education. When I was a learner, they encouraged me to always strive for more in life and to always do my best and once I went to university, they would call to find out how I was doing and how my studies were going. They also bought all the textbooks I required for my first year at university when my parents did not have the money to do so."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Whether there was money or not, Natasha says that it was always a given for her parents that she would go to university. Academically, she excelled at school and even held leadership positions as head girl in primary and high school. While in Grade 10, she came across a programme, the South African Innovation Learning Initiative (SAILI), which was presented at Stellenbosch University, and assisted learners with improving their marks in specific subjects to gain entry into the study programmes they wished to pursue. Natasha enrolled and gave up every Saturday for the next two years to attend the programme to ensure she would get into SU.<br></p><p>“I realised then that no one was going to help me get to my goals, I had to commit and do the work myself." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">By the time she had completed the programme, she was accepted for a BSc Molecular Biology degree and registered in 2002. Midway in her first year, her father lost his job. Natasha admits she thought of quitting because she did not want to add to the financial strain at home. But her dad and her elder brother would have none of it. Her dad started a home-based business while her brother contributed what he could from his salary.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, a year later, Natasha realised that BSc Molecular Biology was not the right fit for her. As much as she was an introvert, she also enjoyed working with people and this specific degree would most likely confine her to a laboratory.<br></p><p>The question was, what to study next. “I loved geography when I was in school and I knew I wanted to pursue a career that would involve me working in nature," she says. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">In 2003, she made the shift to focus on winemaking instead and choose to change her degree to Bsc (Agriculture) Oenology and Viticulture. It was the perfect combination of applying science in the winemaking process, provided her with an opportunity to be outdoors, and to interact with other people.  However, her change in programme was not met with initial enthusiasm from her parents. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“They were not happy, especially my mother. My dad's grandmother was an alcoholic and she died because of alcoholism, so anything related to alcohol was a taboo for my family in general. But eventually my mother came around."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“It was also a challenge to adapt to a new environment. I was one of six people of colour in my Agriculture class, but at least I could speak Afrikaans. Many of my fellow classmates of colour couldn't and they struggled. I had also never interacted with anyone outside my own race and while I had grown up with Stellenbosch University in my home town, it was still a foreign place to me. Even hanging out in town was something new to me. So yes, it was an adjustment, in particular the social part."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“But I am not one to shy away from a challenge. My parents raised me to speak my mind. I told myself, 'this is where you need to be, you know who you are and if you need to ask for help you do that, because the only thing people could say is no'."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">She adds: “It is important to be true to who you are in situations like that. You have to understand your value and the value you add to the lives of others and in the greater scheme of things, because if you don't, you'll try to be someone else to fit in." <br></p><p>For the next three years, despite numerous challenges, Natasha pushed through with bursaries received from NSFAS, SAWIT and the Department of Agriculture. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">On 24 October, Natasha will share her life story and career journey and reflect on how she ended up working for Distell, specifically two of South Africa's top wine brands – Nederburg and Zonnebloem – and progressed from assistant wine maker to head winemaker with the support of some of the country's best wine makers. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">​The Careers Café series was launched in 2016 by the Alumni Relations Office to provide a platform for alumni to engage with the university in a different manner by offering their time and skills to help current students prepare for the careers they want.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">For more information about the Careers Café, follow the Alumni Relations Facebook page at <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a> and the SU Facebook page at <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a>. To attend, RSVP at <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a> or contact  Marvin Koopman at <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a><strong style="text-decoration:underline;"> </strong>by Wednesday, 23 October.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"> <br></p><p><br></p>
Learners make SU proud at Expo for Young Scientists make SU proud at Expo for Young ScientistsDaniel Bugan<p>​Learners who honed their research projects under the <a href="/english/faculty/education/suncep/school-based-intervention-(sbi)/expo-for-young-scientists" target="_blank" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>Stellenbosch University Centre for Pedagogy (SUNCEP)</strong> </a>in the Faculty of Education walked away with a clutch of medals and prizes at a recent international competition for young scientists.<br></p><p>The competition, the Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF), took place in Boksburg, Johannesburg, from 24 to 27 September 2019. The ISF brought together young scientists from across South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Ghana, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mexico, Turkey and Uganda.<br></p><p>The aim of the ISF, now in its 39th year, is to create awareness among learners about the wonders of science, contribute to their knowledge and broaden their scientific horizons.<br></p><p>Learners from both primary and high schools entered their science projects for the competition, which covered 13 different categories, including agricultural science, chemistry, computer science, energy and environmental studies, engineering and social sciences. <br></p><p>The competition was initially judged in 35 regions around the country, after which the winners of each region attended the ISF. <br></p><p>In the Stellenbosch region, 19 projects from learners at 19 different schools were eventually chosen to represent the region at the finals. The winners were selected from 33 schools at a competition held at Bloemhof Hoër Meisieskool on 22 and 23 August.<br></p><p>Erika Hoffman, project coordinator at SUNCEP and the Expo regional coordinator in Stellenbosch, said their job is to prepare these learners to make use of literature studies, plan and execute their research studies and draw their own conclusions in order to deliver quality research projects for the competition.<br></p><p>This year's prizes at the ISF amounted to R9 million and included cash prizes; bursaries sponsored by Eskom, Wits University, the University of Pretoria, Siemens and Babcock; science kits for schools; along with laptops and tablets for pupils.<br></p><p>The Stellenbosch region's learners managed to secure three bronze medals, eight silver medals, one gold medal, one category winner and four special prizes at the ISF. A Grade 12 participant was also awarded bursaries from Eskom and Siemens for four years of study. In addition, four learners were nominated to participate in various international science fairs.<br></p><p>“Participating in the competition not only equips learners with solid science and technology skills, but also helps them to settle on a future career path, supplement their life skills and grow their confidence," said Hoffman.<br></p><p>Besides providing supplementary tuition to learners in mathematics and sciences, SUNCEP also provides training courses for teachers in mathematics and science.<br></p><p><em>Photo:  Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor with Erika Hoffman and Bersan Lesch from the Department of Science and Technology. </em>​</p><p><strong>Also read:</strong></p><ul style="text-decoration:underline;"><li><strong><a href="/english/Lists/news/DispForm.aspx?ID=6815">​​SUNCEP and Expo for Young Scientists: 20 years of proudly making a difference​​</a> </strong> </li></ul><p><br></p>
#SUCareersCafe talk: Education is key, says alumnus talk: Education is key, says alumnusDevelopment & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p style="text-align:justify;">​You'll most likely recognise his voice from SAfm, but when Stellenbosch University (SU) alumnus and law graduate, Songezo Mabece, is not dissecting social justice, economic and political issues of the day on <em>The View Point</em> radio show, he's serving as Legal Counsel and Executive Assistant to the Commissioner of the Competition Commission of South Africa.  </p><p style="text-align:justify;">On Friday, 18 October, Songezo will be the guest speaker at the Careers Café hosted by the Alumni Relations division in the Arts building on the corner of Merriman and Ryneveld Street between 13:00 and 14:00. If you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student and wish to attend the event, please visit <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a><strong style="text-decoration:underline;"> </strong>to reserve your seat or contact  Marvin Koopman at <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a> before Wednesday, 16 October.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">For Songezo, education has always played a key role in his life. He grew up in Sada in the former Ciskei (now Eastern Cape) and attended Selborne Primary School and Selborne College before heading to Fort Hare University to complete an LLB Law degree. In 2017, he completed an LLM in International Trade Law at the Law Faculty at SU, this after completing a short course in Competition Law at the University of Cape Town and the General Manager Programme Certificate in the General Management Program at the IEDC-Bled School of Management in Slovenia a year earlier.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">It is this unrelenting pursuit of knowledge that Songezo hopes to awaken in the hearts of students at SU as he shares his life and career journey with them during his talk this Friday. <br></p><p>“When it came to going to university, I had no choice. Mama and Tata were teachers, and Sisi and Bhuti studied teaching and, too, became teachers themselves. Education runs deep in the family. Not going to school and university would have made me the black sheep, as everybody at home had tertiary qualifications," he explains.</p><p>“The first year of university was a revelation for me in many ways and that was the beginning of my own journey to self-discovery," says Songezo, adding that it is something he will delve into in more detail during his talk. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">His family history and his quest to encourage others to seek out knowledge is also what inspires him to anonymously contribute to the school and university fees of many learners and students in South Africa. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">As a learner, Songezo was an avid debater, runner and rugby player, activities he continued once he arrived at Fort Hare. Later the sportsperson in him would give way to debating at Fort Hare and, later, at SU too.  </p><p>“All of this was in the name of keeping active and meeting people. Debating is what I did the longest and this took me across the length and breadth of the country, where I was fortunate to meet many people who I am still friends with today. At some point, I was a national champion after being selected as the Best Speaker at the Southern African National Universities Debating Championships held at Rhodes University in 2007." </p><p style="text-align:left;">Since graduating from SU, Songezo has worked at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr and Bagraims Attorneys in Cape Town, Tralac in Stellenbosch, the Constitutional Court in Johannesburg, the World Bank in Washington DC in the United States and the Competition Commission of South Africa. But, he admits, in spite of all the successes, it has also been “a challenging journey" that has taught him a lot about the working world. <br></p><p style="text-align:left;">“While there have been challenges, nothing in my career has come as a surprise to me. Both from a desire perspective and personality front, I was always going to be a lawyer and broadcaster, but I just did not think the challenges would be as much as they have been in getting to where I am now."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Careers Café series was launched in 2016 by the Alumni Relations Office to provide a platform for alumni to engage with the university in a different manner by offering their time and skills to help current students prepare for the careers they want.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">For more information about the Careers Café, follow the Alumni Relations Facebook page at <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a><strong style="text-decoration:underline;"> </strong>and the SU Facebook page at <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a>. To attend, RSVP at <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a> or contact  Marvin Koopman at <a href="" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong></strong></a> before Wednesday, 16 October.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong>Two students can each win a seat at the dinner table with Songezo on the evening of the Careers Café by writing a motivation about why they believe they are the best candidate to benefit from a personal conversation with Songezo and send it to </strong><a href=""><strong></strong></a><strong>. </strong></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: </em><em>Stellenbosch University alumnus, lawyer and SAfm radio host, Songezo Mabece, will be the next Careers Café speaker on 18 October.</em></p><p><br></p>
'Burn the ships, not the bridges''Burn the ships, not the bridges'Development & Alumni / Ontwikkeling & Alumni<p style="text-align:justify;">“Burn the ships, not the bridges."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">That was one of the five key points that Stellenbosch University alumnus, Werner Cloete, shared with undergraduate and postgraduate students who attended the recent Careers Café where he was the guest speaker. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cloete is the Principal of Calling Academy in Vlaeberg, Stellenbosch, where boys from low income communities are provided with an opportunity to access a quality, private school education for less than R6 500 a year. He completed a BSc in Chemistry and a Postgraduate Certificate in Education at Stellenbosch University (SU) and spent some time teaching overseas before returning to South Africa to join the teachers' body at Paul Roos Gymnasium. In 2016, Cloete took a leap of faith to start the research in order to establish Calling Academy, which he co-founded with Dr Philip Geldenhuys. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“You have to commit to your vision, if you know the vision has come about through the right process, and to do that, you have to burn the ships to close the escape routes," he said to the 310 students who attended the talk.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This, said Cloete, was one of the most important things he learnt when in 2017, a mere three  months before Calling Academy was to open and with many learners already interested, he found himself unable to secure a premises to house the school. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“You have to expect the hardships. It will test your commitment to the vision, but it will also bring about personal growth that will benefit your venture further down the line," said Cloete. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">“If you leave too many escape routes open, you will look for a way out at that point, and you will end up leaving your vision behind. So burn the ships."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">He also reminded students that it was crucial to remain in touch with what is happening in the world.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Once you have a vision and an awareness of what is going on around you, something will happen inside you due to the tension between “what is" and “what could be". I am talking about experiencing discontent –  being  upset at the current state of affairs."</p><p style="text-align:justify;">This state, said Cloete, is what will motivate you to innovate, another important tip in building a career while making an impact on society. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Innovation that is born from being in touch and being aware of what is happening in society, is a lot more powerful than innovation just for the sake of innovation," he added.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">For Cloete, going the road alone is not an option. He believes that if you want to do something extraordinary, you have to find the people who are doing “cutting edge work" and learn from them. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We need to move away from individualised decision-making towards group decision-making. Look for the kind of people who will take you to where you want to be and associate yourself closely with them. Spend your time with people who are moving in the right direction."<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, while many of us are aware of the importance of having a mentor and even a coach, Cloete suggested that students rather seek developing a push-and-pull effect in their lives. This can be done by “filling the seats" around your table of support with a hero, an inner circle friend, a mentor, a mentee, a coach and a trainee. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Find someone whom you can mentor too. This is when you get a push-and-pull effect with a mentor that will pull you up and a mentee who will not only push you up through their questions and how they keep you honest,  but whom you can lift up and assist in developing their skills. So have both a mentor and mentee.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">“We can learn so much from each other, and so I would also suggest that you become intentional about building up relationships across cultures too," he added.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Cloete also touched on other points in his talk, such as the importance of gaining exposure and valuing the relationships that you have in your life.<br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">Before concluding his talk, he encouraged the students to live their lives according to a quote he found to be a good reminder to treasure the people who are there through it all. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">“Remember that primary relationships are important and that 'no success outside the home can compensate for failure within'. Your family will carry the baton when you are gone. If you want to change the world, make an impact on the lives of those around you so that they can go out and make a positive impact on the world too. You don't want to be the guy who runs with a vision, but whose family says: I don't even know this guy." <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;">The Careers Café series was launched in 2016 by the Alumni Relations Office to provide a platform for alumni to engage with the university in a different manner by offering their time and skills to help current students prepare for the careers they want. <br></p><p style="text-align:justify;"><em>Photo: Careers Café speaker and Principal of Calling Academy, Werner Cloete (far left), is seen here with Paballo Tsiu (second from the left) and Tianca Olivier, the two students who won an opportunity to have dinner with Cloete in order to learn more from him in a one-on-one conversation. With them is Marvin Koopman (far right), Alumni Coordinator at the Development and Alumni Relations Division. (Photographer: Henk Oets)</em></p><p><br></p>