Vice-Chancellor Message – 14 April 2023

Vc Note Mar 3

Dear UJ Community,

After a short break for the mid-semester recess, our academic staff and students returned to campus on Tuesday this week. I hope you found some time to rest and that you have returned refreshed and re-energised for the remainder of the semester and beyond. But as the saying goes, the news never sleeps. While some of you were away, a flurry of good news came our way that many might have missed.

UJ Accountancy leads the way  

UJ was reaffirmed as a leader in Accounting Education in South Africa, according to the most recent findings of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) Initial Test of Competence (ITC). This is great news for our University as the ITC is the first of two professional examinations which prospective Chartered Accountants (CAs) are required to pass in order to register with SAICA.

Our students achieved a first-time pass rate of 95%, and a total of 249 students successfully passed the ITC. The results also affirmed UJ’s role as a top institution of higher learning in the transformation narrative in Chartered Accountancy. We are extremely proud of our students who passed this rigorous examination. Congratulations to each one of them, and thank you to all the lecturers for their outstanding work! To read more about this, click here.

UJ designer wins big

More good news is that our third-year Industrial Design student, Tshepiso Motau, was announced as the overall winner in the National Furniture Design competition at the Buy Local Summit & Expo in Sandton. The annual competition is one of the Department of Trade Industry and Competition’s (DTIC) Furniture Industry Masterplan programmes to promote design skills in the furniture industry. The main objectives of the competition are to raise and nurture design capabilities in the country, raise the image of the Furniture Manufacturing Industry in South Africa, and grow the industry’s competitiveness by encouraging new product design and differentiation.

Motau’s furniture piece not only met these objectives but also met the competition brief, “Local is Lekker,” which required entrants to explain what local meant to them. Her design inspiration was Dr Esther Mahlangu and her love for patterns. Click here to read more about this. Congratulations Tshepiso, well done!

UJ Arts and Culture poised for awards

It does not end here. UJ Arts & Culture’s interdisciplinary production of Hlakanyana – The Musical, has received 14 nominations at the Naledi Theatre Awards. The production was commissioned for the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) 2nd Year Interdisciplinary Theatre Programme. A reflection of the turbulence of the COVID years, Hlakanyana was conceived, workshopped, written, and scored online during the extended national lockdowns. It is an Afrofuturistic retelling of the traditional Zulu folktale and was produced as an original, innovative, Afrocentric storytelling piece through an interdisciplinary approach. We wish Pieter Jacobs, Head of UJ Arts & Culture, and his team the best of luck in the finals. To read more about this, click here.

UJ Wushu coach goes global 

I am also thrilled to learn that our Wushu Coach, Maile Elvis, has been selected to compete in the 9th World Kungfu Championship in Emeishan, Sichuan, China, in August 2023, as a member of the National Protea Traditional Wushu Team. He was selected by South Africa Wushu Federation. The competition is organised under the auspices of the International Wushu Federation, which is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Congratulations, Elvis. We wish you all the best in the competition!

U21 Research Engagement

UJ remains the only university on the African Continent to form part of the prestigious Universitas 21 (U21) network. It is, therefore, exciting news that Dr Ndivhuwo Luruli, Executive Director: Research and Innovation, has been elected to the U21 Researcher Engagement Steering Group (RESG). Accountable to the U21 Provost and Executive Committee, RESG oversees the activities in the U21 Researcher Engagement (RE) cluster, which along with Student Experience and Educational Innovation, is one of three U21 strategic areas in which resources and impact are concentrated. Congratulations, Dr Luruli, continue to fly the UJ flag high!

Professorial Inauguration

Congratulations also to Professor Charlene Downing from the Department of Nursing on her Professorial Inauguration which took place on Wednesday, 12 April 2023. The title of her lecture was “Cultivating Sustainability of Caring Praxis: Making the Case in Nursing Research”. The inauguration was followed by a brief response by Dr Jean Watson, world-renowned Nursing theorist and Founder and Director of Watson Caring Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado, USA. Prof Downing, we look forward to many more valuable contributions from you! You may watch the live stream of the inauguration here.

High Tea with the VC

After a successful inaugural ‘High Tea with the VC’ book discussion, I am pleased to invite you to the next session next Friday, at the usual time of 14h00 (CAT). We will discuss the book, The Future of Leadership is Collegiality by Mr Mike Teke, the former Chair of UJ Council and the current CEO of Seriti Resources Holdings. I am pleased that he will join us as a special guest. To join in the conversation virtually via Zoom, please click here. For in-person attendance, kindly RSVP here. We will again meet at the Chinua Achebe Auditorium, Level 6, Auckland Park Kingsway (APK) Campus.

Lastly, I invite you to read my latest article, entitled, ‘As technology advances at breakneck speed, human cloning may be close behind’ in which I examine the ethical conundrums human cloning poses.

Kea leboha, Ngiyabonga, baie dankie, thank you!

Prof Letlhokwa Mpedi: Vice-Chancellor and Principal

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

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