Change the world


Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University is celebrating the local and international success stories of graduates who have not just climbed the corporate ladder, but have become inspiring leaders and change agents in the process. 

NMMU alumni (from left) Cumgce Gawe, Devdas Govindjee and Grant Bodley were honoured at the prestigious Aumni Awards evening last night.

Those who were honoured at the prestigious Alumni Awards Evening – the seventh to be held by NMMU – range from International Cricket Council match referee Devdas Govindjee, to pioneering dairy farmer Trevor Elliott, to corporate governance guru Parmi Natesan.

“Graduating is a success story in itself but some alumni truly excel in their disciplines and professions,” said NMMU Director of Alumni Relations Paul Geswindt.

“We are proud, as an Alma Mater, that our alumni are impacting so positively on society, both locally and globally.”

The first of three award categories – the Alumni Achiever Awards – was for those who have reached the pinnacle of their professions, and continue to impress.

This year’s Alumni Achievers included Govindjee, who has officiated at cricket matches in Africa, Europe, Asia, the West Indies, United States and the United Arab Emirates, and has worked at both the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). They also included pioneering Tsitsikamma dairy farmer and 2007 Farmer of the Year Trevor Elliott, who is the Director of Grasslands Agriculture.

Elliott grew Grasslands from a 190-hectare farm milking 200 cows in 1990, to today’s 12-farm venture, milking 14 000 cows and producing just under 3% of the country’s milk. One of these farms, a 485-hectare farm, milking close to 1 000 cows daily, is owned by Grasslands employees through the Grasslands Development Trust, thanks to a project initiated by Elliott.

California-based computer science whizz Grant Bodley, Vice President of World Wide Sales at Infoworks, is also an Alumni Achiever, as is Prof Lukas Snyman, one of the country’s leaders in the field of semi-conductor physics and electron-optics.

The final recipient, Johan Jooste, who is Chief Investment Officer of Singapore Bank, flew into Port Elizabeth at the end of last year to collect his award.

The second category of awards – Rising Stars – are for those who have achieved remarkably in just a few short years. This year’s recipients include Edward Gutsche, founder-owner and Managing Director of Edge Financial Group, Musa Khapayi, an Associate Lecturer and Researcher in the Department of Agriculture and Game Ranch Management at NMMU, Parmi Natesan, who is Executive: Centre for Corporate Governance at the Institute of Directors in Directors in Southern Africa, and Asithandile Rangile, a property developer at Investec Property.

A Special Award, the final category, honouring lifetime achievement, was given to Cumngce Gawe, the institution’s first black graduate, who served NMMU and its predecessor, PE Technikon, in various capacities since 1986. Over his career, he held several top business positions, including chairing the Eastern Cape Development Corporation, co-founding Newport Projects (now Newport Construction) and serving as provincial manager at Maxima Global.

“The annual awards offer fellow NMMU alumni an opportunity to nominate achievers for special recognition,” said Geswindt.

Contact information
Ms Zandile Mbabela
Media Manager
Tel: 0415042777