2012 Alumni Awards
Alumni Achiever Award Recipients for 2012 were Prof Ernie Heath, Special Award recipient Natalie Stear, Adv Willem van der Linde, Jenni Button, Special Award recipient Bruce Damons
ALUMNI ACHIEVER AWARD RECIPIENTS
Jenni Button, a graphic design graduate from the former PE Technikon, is one of South Africa’s foremost fashion designers. She is the founder of Jenni Button (Pty) Ltd in South Africa, with individual retail outlets in the top shopping centres. Jenni Button International was introduced recently as her export label. Her signature look is cutting-edge glamour and her “goddess” gowns are being recognized worldwide. Button also heads up Jenni Button Interior and Philosophy Bride, with Philosophy stores in Cape Town and Johannesburg. She is a firm supporter of the empowerment of underprivileged women in South Africa– she creates handwork projects for women in the community, like beading and embroidery, which she exports worldwide.
JOHAN DE NYSSCHEN
BCom graduate Johan de Nysschen is senior vice-president of Nissan Motor Limited, headquartered in Japan, and also president of the premium brandsubsidiary Infiniti Global Limited, headquartered in Hong Kong. He started his automotive career with BMW in South Africa, before working for Audi for 19 years in executive positions in South Africa, Japan and the USA. De Nysschen was president of Audi in the United States, and was at the forefront of turning Audi into a top tier luxury brand, now mentioned in the same breath as BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
PROF ERNIE HEATH
Since the early 1980s, Prof Ernie Heath has been passionately contributing to the sustainable advancement of the tourism industry both nationally and internationally. In the 1990s, Heath was deputy executive director of South African Tourism, championing the award-winning Explore SA campaign in 1995. He is a founding trustee of Open Africa, a social enterprise which has established more than 60 tourism routes across Southern Africa.
At international level, he has served on the Education Council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization. During the early 1990s, Heath was professor and director of the Institute for Planning Research at the then University of Port Elizabeth and until recently headed up Tourism Management at the University of Pretoria.
His achievements include the Skål International Presidential Award, the Chairman’s Award from the Indian Ocean Tourism Organization, and a United Nations World Tourism Organization Themis Award.
Garth Ritchie is currently the head of Global Equities at Deutsche Bank and is a member of the Corporate & Investment Bank executive committee. Before joining Deutsche Bank in 1996, Ritchie was a derivatives trader at Fergusson Brothers. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the former University of Port Elizabeth. He held several positions within Emerging Market (EM) derivatives and European Options Market Making before going on to head EM and UK single stock derivatives.
ADV WILLEM VAN DER LINDE
Adv Willem van der Linde graduated from the then University of Port Elizabeth with a BJuris in 1977 and LLB in 1978. Van der Linde is past chairman of both the Johannesburg Bar and the General Council of the Bar of South Africa. He has also acted as Judge in the Transvaal Province Division and Witwatersrand Local Division of the High Court. He is the chairperson of the disciplinary committee of the Independent Regulatory Board of Auditors, chairperson of the editorial committee of Advocate, the official journal of the General Council of the Bar of South Africa, and group leader of Advocates Group 621, the oldest group of advocates in South Africa.
ALUMNI SPECIAL AWARD recipients
BA Hons graduate, retired educator, education trade unionist and subject author Natalie Stear has reached the top of her profession in secondary education, being deputy principal and principal at two top schools (Collegiate and Riebeek College) in the Eastern Cape. Riebeek College was the first traditional white school in the country to vote in favour of opening to all races and was also listed in Sunday Times Top 100 Schools as having a no matric failure status.
Stear served on the national executive committee of the SA Teachers Association from 1989 to 1998 and was selected as a Top 100 educator in the country. She is a life associate of the National Professional Teachers’ Oganisation of South Africa (NAPTOSA) and a Paul Harris Fellow, bestowed on her by Rotary International for her services to education.
Bruce Damons, BEd Honours graduate, is a dynamic and passionate educator who is making a difference in the community. He is currently the principal at Sapphire Road Primary school, where he has implemented many community programmes. His school was the first to declare itself a “no fee”school in 2006, and has been declared the best health-promoting school in the country and boasts a fully functional clinic on the premises as well as a vegetable garden. Damons was the recipient of the Excellence in Primary School Leadership Award for 2008. Sapphire, which is also a pilot school in an international teacher training programme, grew from 516 learners in 2000 to 1 050 in 2010. Damons, the co-founder of international reading programme,Partners for Education, Excellence and Research, has also paired the school with international schools in Seattle, USA and Netherlands.
Alumni Rising Star 2012 recipients are Dr Millidhashni Reddy, Alan Knott-Craig Jnr, Dr Bridgette Gasa and Achumile Majija were able to attend the event.
ALUMNI RISING STAR AWARD RECIPIENTS
Dr BRIDGETTE GASA
PhD Building Sciences graduate Dr Bridgette Gasa is the founder of Elilox Group, a respected building consultancy and construction firm. She has served on the National Planning Commission, where she chaired the Nation Building Working Group. Gasa has established full scholarships for girls to study towards built environment degrees. She built seven rural schools in Libode and is building three libraries in KwaZulu Natal this year.
She was a recipient of the Department of Science & Technology Award for a Leading Woman Scientist in Industry in 2008 and also nominated as the first-ever female and first-ever African President of the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) during the same year.
ALAN KNOTT -CRAIG jnr
Former Chief Executive Officer of social network MXit and founder of World of Avatar, Alan Knott-Craig Jnr has established himself as a leading entrepreneur in the ICT sector, where he has made a significant impact in the development of this sector in Africa.
A BCom graduate, Knott-Craig was the managing director of iBurst from 2006 to 2009 and has also published a number of books, including “Don’t Panic”, a bestselling title aimed at persuading emigrant South Africans to return home. He has also held many other senior positions at Cellfind and Wireless Business Solutions (Pty) Ltd.
BCom graduate and future leader Achumile Majija, current Group Lead: Risk and Capital MI for Prudential PLC in London, is part of a team adapting the firm to the European Union’s latest post-recession insurance regulations. Majija has also kept his links to South Africa, remaining chairman of the Black Management Forum’s Young Professionals in the Western Cape, which he also co-founded. In 2011, he was named the South African Business Club Rising Star of the Year in the UK. He represented South Africa at the World Youth Congress (Scotland), World Business Dialogue in Germany, G20 Youth Summit in Canada, World Youth Congress in Turkey and Harambe Endeavour Alliance in the US – and is an active member of the International Youth Council.
He was recipient of the Chevening Scholarship (British Council), Vodacom Scholarship and the Abe Bailey Scholarship among others and remains a motivational speaker focusing on youth development, empowerment and personal identity.
Laduma Ngxokolo is a BTech Textile Design alumnus whose rise to success began while still a student at NMMU, when he won the International Society of Colourists and Dyers competition in 2010. As a result, his Xhosa knit-wear designs were thrust onto centre stage – literally – as his work was shared on catwalks around the world (London, Milan, Paris and South Africa) to huge acclaim. Sought after by both local and foreign media, his work has been shared in many top magazines.
He has also won a number of other top awards including the Marie Claire Prix de Excellence Best Emerging Designer Award in 2011 and Design Indaba’s choice of “most beautiful object”. Laduma has established his own brand and business, MaXhosa, operating out of Cape Town, and exported his first batch of knitwear to London in May.
DR MILLIDHASHNI REDDY
BPharm graduate, Dr Millidhashni Reddy, is currently the South African Drug Access Program Manager for The Clinton Health Access Initiative where she consults to the South African Ministry of Health and supports the Affordable Medicines Unit within the National Department of Health on drug procurement and supply related matters.
She has held many senior positions within the pharmacy environment, and contributed to several Pharmacy publications. Reddy has received both national and international honors and awards some including, The Granof Outstanding Graduate Student Award from The University of Texas at Austin, Phi Lamda Sigma – Leadership in Pharmacy Membership, Infectious Disease Topic Leader for the Clinton Global Initiative University Conference, and an Outstanding Clinton Global Initiative University Award to mention a few. She was the recipient for the B. Bernard Matthews Endowed Scholarship in Pharmacy, and was NMMU’s first Fulbright Scholar.
Reddy is the Founder and Director of Mentoring Individuals and Nations Compassionately (MINC) a nonprofit organization promoting reading at clinics in South Africa and abroad.
2011 Alumni Achievers
Every year, NMMU recognises alumni who have gone the distance and beyond in their specialist fields, to the benefit of society at local, provincial, national or international levels. 2011 is no different. A number of outstanding nominations were received by the Alumni Awards Committee, and the seven worthy candidates and one special award winner was selected by the Alumni Association Executive Committee. We are proud of your achievements!
Notable leader in accounting
Colin Beggs, retired chief executive officer of PricewaterhouseCoopers, has been an exemplary leader in the accounting profession, holding many top positions during his 39-year career at the international auditing giant.
The BCom (Hons) graduate joined Price Waterhouse in 1970, working his way through the ranks and ending up as Chief Executive Officer of the country from 2001 until his retirement in 2009.Colin served as chairman of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA) board in 2002/3, and was also chairman of SAICA’s Accounting Practices Committee, responsible for the development of accounting standards for use in South Africa.
For many years, he also played an active role as a trustee of the Thuthuka Bursary Fund, a vital initiative ensuring the transformation of the chartered accounting profession.Since his retirement from PwC, Colin has taken up independent non-executive directorship positions at Sasol and the Absa Group.
Chartered Accountant, Leon Crouse, matriculated at Hoërskool Otto Du Plessis in Port Elizabeth and obtained a BCom in 1974 and a CTA in 1976. He also completed his articles in Port Elizabeth at Strelitz & Mitchell. Subsequently, he held a string of top financial management positions in the sectors of telecommunications, luxury goods, chemicals and clothing & textiles.
He spent seven years (from 1986 to 1993) with the former Rembrandt Group in Switzerland in the position of Financial Controller of Compagnie Financiére Richemont AG, and was part of the team that unbundled the luxury goods business from the Rembrandt Group to form Richemont. In 1993, as a Rembrandt appointee, he returned to South Africa to become a founder member of the Vodacom Group executive team.
From 1996 to 2008, he was Chief Financial Officer and Group Finance Director for Vodacom and also served as its Company Secretary.He is currently the Chief Financial Officer of the South African investment holding group, Remgro Ltd, and is a non-executive director of FirstRand Ltd, RMB Holdings Ltd, Total South Africa (Pty) Ltd and Dark Fibre Africa (Pty) Ltd.
Building a sterling career
More than 30 successful years in the construction industry in South Africa and the Middle East, with projects that have included the recently-completed US$2-billion Dubai Airport, culminated in Nigel Harvey’s appointment in June as chairman of Murray and Roberts’ Construction.
Nigel, who graduated with a BSc in Building Management in 1979, has worked for Murray and Roberts since his student days.He managed various projects before moving into general management in Murray and Roberts’ Garden Route office in 1992. He then relocated to Johannesburg, where he was responsible for building construction activities throughout South Africa, and in 2004 made the move to the Middle East as managing director for Murray and Roberts.
He is currently working in four Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in the Middle East.Nigel is also the founder member of the South African Business Council in Dubai, and served as its president for seven years.
Kemp J Kemp
Extraordinary legal mind
Perhaps best known as President Jacob Zuma’s lawyer, one of South Africa’s foremost advocates, Kemp J Kemp, has won famous victories in the courtroom, often against all odds.Kemp, who also represented the four former Free State University students known as the Reitz Four, graduated with a LLD in 1978 from the then University of Port Elizabeth, where he was one of the top students and president of the Student Representative Council (SRC).
He was a lecturer in the university’s Faculty of Law from 1978 to 1980, before joining the University of Zululand where he lectured until 1990. He joined the Durban Bar in 1990 and was appointed as Senior Counsel in 1997.In January 2009, in the midst of Zuma’s legal battle against the State, Kemp was nominated as Legalbrief’s Newsmaker of the Month, as a result of his riveting courtroom exchanges with state senior counsel Wim Trengove.
Throughout his career, BCom (Hons) graduate John Lynch has demonstrated a knack for building, managing and restructuring businesses, often turning struggling companies into success stories.He started his career at Price Waterhouse in 1974. Six years later, he joined Caborundum Abrasives (which ultimately became Abrasives Corporation), climbing the ranks to CEO in 1995, which saw him running a profitable group of companies in the complex abrasives industry.
John left the company to purchase an ailing subsidiary group, Cumar Resistant Materials, which he managed to turn around in two years, selling the business to the leading international player in 1997.
He then bought a minor equity stake in two struggling companies owned by the Gutsche Family Investment Company (GFI) in Port Elizabeth, and spent three years turning them around. Once these companies were profitable, they were sold, with substantial value improvement for shareholders.Until August this year, he spent six successful years chairing South Africa’s largest citrus exporter, achieving record returns for four years.
Afrikaans writer excels
Afrikaans novelist Eben Venter, who obtained his master’s in 1981, has made a significant contribution to both Afrikaans and South African literature, with his novel Ek Stamel Ek Sterwe (translated as My Beautiful Death) being declared one of the 10 best novels in the Afrikaans literary canon.
Eben, who lives between South Africa and Australia, won the WA Hofmeyr Prize for Afrikaans Novel of the Year for the aforementioned book, as well as for two other novels, Foxtrot van die Vleiseters (Foxtrot of the Carnivores) and Begeerte (Desire).
His books have been translated into English, German and Dutch.Last year, Eben was also one of five M-Net Literary Award Winners, taking top honours in the Afrikaans category for Santa Gamka, for which he also won the ATKV Literary award.In 2005, Eben taught creative writing at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland, and the School for Neerlandistiek at the Palacky University in the Czech Republic. In 2007, he was the writer-in-residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Studies (NIAS).
Prof Basie von Solms
Multi award-winning cyber security expert
His pioneering research in the area of Information Security has led to a number of top awards for internationally-recognised Prof Basie von Solms, a research professor in the Academy for Computer Science and Software Engineering at the University of Johannesburg.
In 1965, Basie, was one of the first students to register at the then University of Port Elizabeth. He completed his BSc and BSc Honours in 1967 and 1968, respectively, and went on to receive one of the country’s first PhDs in computer science at the former Rand Afrikaans University.
In addition to playing a major role over the last 40 years in establishing computer science and information technology as academic disciplines in South Africa, he has conducted leading-edge research in Information Security.From 2007 to 2010, he was the first person from Africa to be elected as president of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP), and received the prestigious Kristian Beckman Award 2010 from the IFIP’s Technical Committee 11 (Informational Security).
Also in 2010, he received the Distinguished Service in ICT Award from the Computer Society of South Africa (CSSA) and the recently-founded Pioneers in Computer Science and Information Technology Award from the South African Institute for Computer Scientists and Information Technologists (SAICSIT).His earlier awards include the MT Steyn Medal from the South African Academy for Science and Arts, which he received in 2005.
Alumni Association Special Award
Dr Erra Cilliers
A voice for Afrikaans women
Dr Erra Cilliers, has contributed to an open and democratic South African society, one in which the voices of women within the Afrikaans society are heard. The retired social work lecturer, who obtained her BA, MA (both Cum Laude) and her PhD from UPE, is also recognised for her service to the university, having served on the former UPE Council and the (Afrikaans Language and Culture Organisation), when she was awarded a Woman for Women Award.
The first NMMU Alumni Achievers Awards ceremony was held at the Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth with the purpose of recognizing alumni (graduates and diplomats) who have made or are making significant contributions to their specialist fields and have contributed to the development and well-being of society at local, provincial, national and international level.
Arthur graduated with a BSc in Construction Management in 1976. He started his career at Murray & Roberts, working his way up through the ranks and ending as the Executive Director for the Murray & Roberts Contractors Group, Deputy Chairman of Murray & Roberts Construction Ltd and Chief Executive of Murray Roberts Contractors’ international division. After 25 years, he left Murray & Roberts and became the Managing Director of Drake & Scull FM (SA) (Pty) Ltd and then the MD for Basil Read (Building, Structures & Housing). In 2002 he was appointed as Director of Basil Read Holding Ltd and Basil Read (Pty) Ltd. Since 2003, Arthur has been the CEO of Trans African Concessions. He serves on various industry boards and bodies and currently is the Chairman of The Johannesburg Country Club.
Royden graduated with his CTA in 1971 and then qualified as chartered accountant with Coopers and Lybrand (nowPWC). He has held numerous senior executive positions including being the founder of Afrox Healthcare (now Life Care). He was their first CEO and Chairman. He was CEO of Afrox and then Chairman and CEO for seven years. Royden was the CEO of Industrial and Special Products of the UK – based BOC Group and a member of their Executive Management Board. In 2002, he joined Waco International as a shareholder and CEO. He holds non-executive directorships at Murray & Roberts Holdings and Hudaco among others. He served as Chairman of the NMMU Trust from 1999 to 2009.
David graduated in 1982 and 1983 with a BCom (cum laude) and a CTA respectively. He has climbed the corporate ladder at Volkwagen South Africa – going from Financial Accountant to Finance Director to Vice -President Finance and Corporate Strategy in South Africa, Germany and Brazil.
He is currently the Managing Director of Volkswagen South Africa.
David serves as a board member of the NMMU Business School as well as PERCCI.
He has served as President of NAAMSA for 2009 and 2010.
Graduated in 1979 and 1982 with a BCom and an LLB respectively.
He became a professional cricketer and played 42 tests and 122 One Day Internationals for South Africa.
As ICC General Manager he has served the South African and Eastern Province cricket teams with distinction.
Based in Dubai - he serves the game at the highest level and continues to keep the Port Elizabeth flag flying high.
Almorie graduated with a BScHons Mathematical Statistics in 1969 and an MSc (cum laude) in 1979.
She was the first woman to lead South Africa’s largest oil company and the first female chairperson of the South African Petroleum Industry Association.
Almorie has served as Director on Boards of Engen, Energy Africa and Wiphold and has served on a number of government commissions relating to the energy sector.
She currently serves as a Director of Old Mutual SA, Mutual & Federal and Women in Oil and Energy, South Africa.
Advocate Gerald Farber
Adv Farber graduated in 1969 and 1971 with a BJuris and an LLB respectively. He worked as a public prosecutor and an advocate of the Supreme Court and State Advocate in Office of the Attorney General of the Transvaal Provincial Division of the Supreme Court.
In 1991 he was elevated to the rank of Senior Counsel by the State President of the Republic. He has held many acting appointments as a judge of the High Court spanning nine periods as well as several acting appointments as a judge of the Labour Court of South Africa.
He was a member of the Johannesburg Bar Council from 1989 to 1999 and has been the Chief Examiner of the National Bar Examination Board for the past five years.
Junita Lamprecht-Van Dijk
Junita was responsible for establishing the NMMU choir in 1994. In 1999 - in conjunction with the Norwegian Choral Association – she introduced an extensive academic choral conducting programme at the university. She graduated with a master’s degree (Cum Laude) in Choir Conducting in 2002. The world-acclaimed choir has performed extensively in the USA and Europe and this year performed at the official opening of FIFA World Cup festivities in Milano during their Italian tour.
They have been selected to perform at the IFCM 9th World Choral Symposium in Argentina in August 2011.
2010 Special Award Winner
Prof Christo van Loggerenberg
Professor van Loggerenberg graduated with a BJuris (cum laude) in 1972 and an LLB (cum laude) in 1974. He read for his DJuris at the Rijksuniversiteit Leiden in The Netherlands, graduating in 1981. He joined the Law Faculty as a lecturer in 1975 lecturing in Family Law, Law of Contract, Comparative Law, Roman Law and African Customary Law. Working his way up the academic ladder, he was promoted to Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, Professor, Dean and ending off as Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Academic – the post to which he was appointed in 2007. For his 41 year relationship with NMMU – Professor Christo van Loggerenberg is awarded the Alumni Association Special Award.
NMMU Alumni Awards recognise alumni who have gone the distance and beyond in their various fields, to the benefit of society at local, provincial, national and international level. A number of outstanding nominations were received by the Alumni Awards Committee in the various categories. The Alumni Association Executive Committee is proud to present awards to the following recipients in the spirit of NMMU’s value of EXCELLENCE. NMMU is proud of the achievements of the 2012 recipients.