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Vice-Chancellor Message – 05 May 2023

Dear UJ Community,

As many of you took the long weekend to rest, I along with a delegation ventured to Brisbane, Australia for the Universitas 21 (U21) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Presidential Symposium. The symposium, entitled ‘Partnering for Change – what role do universities have in achieving a net-zero future?’, delved into achieving a sustainable future through collaboration and resonated well with the University of Johannesburg’s (UJ) research interests and strategic objectives.

I have long believed that universities have a mandate that extends beyond their own walls – we have a responsibility to society to provide answers. The impact we are able to make together is significant. As I networked and interacted with my peers and counterparts from the universities within the network, I gained valuable insights into the higher education landscape and what role we should be playing. Importantly, beyond our individual strides and achievements, it is imperative to explore exactly where we can collaborate to achieve this mandate.

Of course, the University had to continue with its other core functions during this time. In this regard, I wish to thank Dr Mpoti Ralephata, our Chief Operating Officer and Management Executive Committee (MEC) member, for holding the fort while I was away.

UJ Double our Future Impact

You will recall that earlier this year, our University launched the Double Our Future Impact, a campaign to assist 10 000 students with their 2023 registration fees. To this end, I am thrilled to announce that the campaign has yielded R6.3 million in contributions from the UJ community and donors. This is great news indeed because students are set to benefit from these contributions during the current academic year. I sincerely thank all those who contributed to this important initiative. Remember that with your assistance, we can double our impact to change 10,000 students’ lives. To donate, please click here.

UJ student wins the University Scholars Leadership Symposium competition

Speaking of Double Our Future Impact, please join me in congratulating our student in the Strategic Communication Department, Moma Molabe, who will in August be heading to Bangkok in Thailand after winning the University Scholars Leadership Symposium (USLS) competition. The competition is a Humanitarian Affairs Asia’s signature programme which aims to foster the initiatives and capacity of young leaders to create socially meaningful projects that address climate change, poverty, and inequality.

Moma’s essay focused on unemployment and strategies to create job opportunities, as well as the changing landscape of the world with a focus on the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and technology. Congratulations, Moma, we wish you all the best in the competition. To read more about this, click here.

High Tea with the VC

I wish to thank everyone who attended the High Tea with the VC event two weeks ago when we discussed the book, The Future of Leadership is Collegiality by Mr Mike Teke. Mr Teke gave a riveting talk on leadership. You can view his talk and the discussions below:

The next event, which will also be hybrid, will be on Friday, 19 May 2023, at the usual time of 14:00.

We will discuss the book Never Too Young to Lead: A Call for the Youth to Rise by Mr. Lebogang Isaac Maile, a South African politician and the MEC for Human Settlements and Infrastructure Development in Gauteng. Mr Maile will join us as a special guest. We will again meet at the Chinua Achebe Auditorium, Level 6, Auckland Park Kingsway (APK) Campus. For those who would like to join us virtually, I will provide the relevant link on this platform closer to the event.

Latest Article on Human Tissue and the Law

In my latest article published yesterday, titled As technology advances, the laws surrounding human tissue use need to be reviewed, I reflect on the glaring gaps in the legislation regarding human tissue use that need to be addressed, especially because of the inherent problem of the commodification of tissues against patient autonomy. I argue that regulations around human tissue research could be greatly improved to ensure more ethical approaches. Importantly, it is a reminder that as technology makes strides, the law must keep up.

Condolences to Prof Kgwadi’s family

Lastly, and on a sombre note, I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of our colleague, Professor Dan Kgwadi, the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of Vaal University of Technology (VUT) on behalf of the entire UJ community. He will be remembered for his dedication to transformation, especially at VUT and North West University, where he also served as the Vice-Chancellor and Principal. As Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande said in a tribute this week, he had a deep commitment to academic excellence, community services and partnerships with the public and industry. His death is a devastating loss for the sector. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Ke a leboha, ngiyabonga, baie dankie, thank you!

Times mentioned in this newsletter refer to the South African time-zone.

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