Change the world


Nelson Mandela University honoured twelve of its alumni who, in their respective professional capacities, are doing their bit to change the world – as the institutional tagline charges –last night (10 June 2024) at the Boardwalk Convention Centre.

Director of Nelson Mandela University’s innovation engagement entity, eNtsa, Professor Daniel “Danie” Hattingh received a Special Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the field of engineering.

Esteemed legal academic and Eastern Cape Judge Avinash Govindjee; Daily Maverick co-founder Stylianos “Styli” Charalambous; former Executive Dean of the College of Business and Economics at the University of Johannesburg, Professor Lungile Ntsalaze; and Transnet Group Chief Executive Officer, Michelle Phillips, were recognised in the Achiever Award category.

The Rising Star Award category lauded Regional Director at Turner & Townsend Cape Town, Caitlin Adair; Global Business Analyst, Dundrè Maritz; Women in Law 2024 award winner, Njiramanda Mbewe-Boatey; Director of Student Affairs at Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, Tulani Nkutse; Solutions Engineering Manager at Jendamark Automation, Jeannie Serfontein; Captain of the SA Fast 5 team, Renskie Steyn; and BTKM Quantity Surveyors EC director, Janita Stroebel.

As the University honoured the Alumni Award recipients, Vice-Chancellor Professor Sibongile Muthwa highlighted the significance of the fields in which the awardees work and have made a tremendous contribution.

“The importance of the media and freedom of expression; the judiciary’s important role as an independent arm of constitutional democracy; the role of state-owned enterprises in stimulating a growing and thriving economy; and the role of academia in shaping the leaders of tomorrow and helping to solve problems facing society today,” said Prof Muthwa.

“The challenges facing our country and our continent, and indeed the planet, require all, including alumni, to play an active role in creating a more socially just and prosperous society.”

Director of Alumni Relations, Paul Geswindt, said: “We celebrate all our Nelson Mandela University alumni, who are spread across the world, for having gone on to make a difference in the world, in the service of society. We are privileged to have been able to recognise more than 120 of them as award recipients over the past 14 years, consecutively.”

Prof Hattingh, who is also a founding member of eNtsa, has shaped eNtsa into a beacon of technological innovation and excellence, earning respect both locally and internationally. His visionary leadership has propelled eNtsa to global acclaim as a hub of technological innovation, also expanding its impact in sectors such as automotive engineering, while maintaining its premier status as a technology innovation station funded by Technology Innovation Agency (TIA).

Prof Hattingh’s pioneering work in friction processing research, notably in friction stir welding (FSW), has earned international recognition and substantial industry funding. His commitment to teaching and curriculum development has enriched engineering education, and his research contributions have pushed boundaries in structural integrity and reliability.

Judge Govindjee was celebrated for his profound impact on both legal education and societal progress. Having served as the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Law at Nelson Mandela University prior to his selection to the Bench, he adeptly steered the Faculty through the complexities of the #FeesMustFall movement, reshaping its operations to ensure continued excellence in legal education. His commitment to leveraging the power of law for positive change extends beyond academia, earning him recognition as a leading researcher and membership in prestigious institutions like the South African Young Academy of Science.

A prominent figure in the modern media landscape, Charalambous was recognised for his visionary leadership, unwavering dedication to journalistic principles, and pioneering efforts in an era of media disruption. As the co-founder and guiding force behind the Daily Maverick, he has steered the publication through South Africa's dynamic political landscape while transforming it into a global powerhouse, reaching millions of readers monthly.

Prof Ntsalaze stands as an exemplary leader in academia and the accounting profession. Recognised for his groundbreaking achievements, including being the first black South African chartered accountant in academia to hold a PhD and a finalist in the SAICA Top 35 under 35, his leadership sets precedents for excellence in the accounting profession. Beyond his professional achievements, Professor Ntsalaze is dedicated to community service, supporting youth from rural areas and leading initiatives such as “Project Phaphamani” to improve livelihoods.

A seasoned leader with over two decades of comprehensive experience in port operations, Phillips ascended as CEO of Transnet, marking a pivotal moment in the organization's trajectory. From her origins as a forensic investigator to her strategic roles within Transnet, she epitomises expertise in container operations and technological advancement. Throughout her tenure, Phillips has held pivotal managerial positions, contributing significantly to the National Ports Authority, Transnet Port Terminals and the Durban container terminal. 


Nelson Mandela University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sibongile Muthwa, with the alumni award recipients at the Boardwalk Convention Centre last night. [Back L – R] Janita Stroebel, Jeannie Serfontein, Professor Lungile Ntsalaze, Stylianos “Styli” Charalambous, Renskie “Jeanie” Steyn, Judge Avinash Govindjee, Alumni Association president Siphile Hlwathika, Senior Director: Strategic Resource Mobilisation and Advancement Dr Denver Webb, [Front L – R] Caitlin Adair, Tulani Nkuntse, Michelle Phillips, Njiramanda Mbewe-Boatey and Professor Daniel “Danie” Hattingh.

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Ms Zandile Mbabela
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