Vice-Chancellor Message – 22 September 2023

Dear UJ Community,

My friends and colleagues do not miss any opportunity to tease me each time one of my favourite sports teams loses. In the face of these friendly taunts and jibes, I have always found solace in the fact that our UJ Sport teams continue to do us proud. From football, netball, rowing and other sporting codes, UJ rarely disappoints.

Orange Army shines brightly

The latest in the string of exciting sports news is that our Senior Women’s Netball Team has won a silver medal in the 2023 FNB Varsity Netball championship this week. This is an outstanding achievement, as it was the first time our team reached this prestigious tournament final. Congratulations to Head Coach Bongiwe Msomi, her entire technical team and the players; thank you for flying the UJ flag even higher!

I also congratulate our Athletics and Rowing clubs for recently winning medals. Nkosinathi Sibiya and Boikanyo Motlhamme won two gold medals in the 2023 Athletics South Africa (ASA) Cross Country Championship in Gqeberha, Eastern Cape. Faith Mabhena added a silver medal, while Phemelo Note and Sisanda Dumisa won bronze medals in the championship on 16 September 2023.

Not to be outdone, our men’s Rowing A and B teams won two bronze medals in Port Alfred during the 2023 University Sport South Africa (USSA) championship. Three UJ teams competed in the tournament, which featured teams from nine other South African universities from 7 to 9 September 2023.

Against this backdrop of success, we wish our Senior Men’s Football Team all the best as they prepare to take on Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) in the FNB Varsity Football final on Thursday, 28 September 2023. Please buy your match tickets in time to avoid the last-minute rush. I wish our gents well – the trophy must come back to UJ!

UJ seminar shines spotlight on SA-USA relations

In the spirit of conversation – one of our core values as a university – on Wednesday the Department of Politics and International Relations in the Faculty of Humanities hosted a seminar in collaboration with the Embassy of the United States of America.

His Excellency Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety II delivered a keynote address and engaged with some 300 students and staff members. It was a lively discussion that touched on US-SA relations, foreign policy, trade ties, shared values, and mutual development. I thank Professor Bhaso Ndzendze (HOD: Department of Politics and International Relations) and his team for organising such a successful event!

The business of media

On Monday, the UJ School of Communication, in collaboration with the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS), hosted the 2023 MTN Media Innovation Summit under the theme, Business Journalism and Media Business Opportunities: The South African Perspective. The event was attended by industry experts and renowned media scholars such as Dr Mashilo Boloka of the Film and Publications Board, Reggy Moalusi of South African National Editors Forum (SANEF), William Bird, Director of Media Monitoring Africa, and Lumko Mtimde, ICT, media and regulatory expert in Government capacities. I thank Dr Sifiso Mnisi (Head: School of Communication) and Dr Bongani Ngqulunga (Director: JIAS) for hosting such an important event.

Strategic partnerships with SA universities

Also on Wednesday, together with members of the Management Executive Committee (MEC), I had the pleasure of hosting the Vice-Chancellor of Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) Professor Peter Mbati and his leadership team. We discussed the possibility of collaboration and strategic partnerships in key health sciences areas.

Double our Future Impact Campaign

I wish to remind you that through our University’s Double Our Future Impact,  you can win a HUAWEI Mate 50 Pro valued at R26 999 or a HUAWEI Watch GT2 valued at R6 999. To enter, simply donate R100 or more towards the Double Our Future Impact Campaign by clicking here. To qualify for the competition, donations must be made no later than 27 September 2023.

Winners will be announced at the UJ Staff Day on 29 September 2023. Winners will be contacted and will be required to produce identification to claim the prize.Remember that all donations made towards the campaign will help the University settle registration fees for students who cannot pay t heir registration at the start of the 2024 academic year. We hope to assist 10,000 students with their 2023 registration fees. Please Donate Now!

UJ Future Walk

Still on fundraising matters, we are now just under eight days away from the third UJ Future Walk that will take place next week, Saturday 30 September 2023. I urge our staff members, students, and surrounding communities to register in numbers to participate in this event, which is for the public good. Please buy tickets by clicking here. Your generosity towards our bright students will go a long way in shaping the future of our society.

UJ Staff Day

This coming week, on Friday, 29 September 2023, is UJ Staff Day. This year’s event will be held under the theme Humans Before Boxes to celebrate our different cultures and diversity in the spirit of Heritage month. While this is an important opportunity for us to acknowledge and celebrate our staff, please also remember that this is a typical working day, and all our employees must attend.

Second Semester VC Campus Engagements

Still on staff matters, I wish to thank our Doornfontein Campus (DFC) and Soweto Campus (SWC) staff, who attended the first of our second semester campus engagement sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively this week, respectively. Many of you asked pertinent questions and gave invaluable inputs on improving our campuses and the University.

The next sessions will be on Monday, 16 October 2023, at the Auckland Park Bunting (APB) Campus between 10:30 – 12:00. If there are any specific issues you would like to have addressed at the engagement or if you have a question, please send an email to

UJ Student Leadership

The 2024 Student Representative Council (UJSRC) campaigning has been underway since June 2023 with the nomination phase. The voting for new leadership will occur from 11 – 13 October 2023. The UJSRC comprises four campus SRCs and a Central SRC with 48 positions to be contested. An Independent Election Committee (IEC) conducts the election process. The voting is managed through the electronic system, which has been tested and applied for the past three years.

The whole system, process and results will be audited by a professional audit firm. We encourage all students to participate in this important governance process by voting for the new leadership. For any queries or more information, students should contact the offices of the Election Committee on our respective campuses and/or Student Affairs.

High Tea with the VC

I invite you to the next High Tea with the VC book discussion on Friday, 22 September 2023, when we will discuss the book Awakened to My True Self, by Nonkululeko Gobodo. Nonkululeko is the CEO of AWAKENED Global, a social initiative, and was the first African woman to qualify as a chartered accountant in South Africa in 1987. She is also the former Chairman and founder of SizweNtsalubaGobodo, now SNG Grant Thornton, the largest black auditing and accounting firm in South Africa. We will meet at the UJ Arts Theatre at 14h00 (CAT).

Happy Heritage Day  

Finally, I wish to conclude by wishing everyone a happy Heritage Day on Monday. This is a special day in our country’s annual calendar when we appreciate and celebrate our diverse heritages and cultures that make us a uniquely South African society. As the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, “Differences are not intended to separate, to alienate. We are different precisely in order to realise our need of one another.” Watch my Heritage Day video message below.


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


Professor Letlhokwa Mpedi: Vice-Chancellor and Principal

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


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