Change the world


A renowned South African singing sensation, an international sports administrator, an e-mobility guru and a social justice advocate are just some of Nelson Mandela University’s alumni recognised for their outstanding contribution to society through their work.

Award-winning Afro-Soul singer Amanda Black, FIFA Senior Development Manager Solomon Mudege and the Director of South Africa’s national uYilo e-Mobility Technology Innovation Programme Hiten Parmar were lauded as rising stars at the University’s annual Alumni Awards on Friday night.

Amazon’s vice-president, Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), David Brown, Haitian American Cultural and Social Organization Inc executive director Kurt Kannemeyer and Chief Strategy Officer and General Counsel for Face IT Limited (London, UK, and California, USA) Kurt Pakendorf were recognised in the achiever category.

The prestigious awards, which are a flagship event on the Alumni Association calendar, celebrate the local and international success stories of graduates who have not just climbed the ladder in their respective fields, but have become inspiring leaders and change agents across various parts of the world.

The six award recipients are living the ethos of the University, presently well captured in its strap line “Change the world”, which charges the institution’s present and past staff and students to do their bit to effect positive change in society.

Alumni Relations director, Paul Geswindt, said since the awards inception in 2010, the association has awarded 32 achievers awards, 25 rising star wards (this category was introduced in 2012) and 12 Special Awards – totalling 69 alumni lauded by their alma mater.

“This year, we also have one special recognition and one special award recognising those who have played a significant role in the Alumni Association over the years,” he said.

Mandela University Business School director, Dr Randall Jonas, received a special recognition for his service to his alma mater, representing the interest of alumni on Council and his leadership role in alumni governance structures.

Dr Jonas served as an Executive Committee Member of the former UPE Alumni Association and was the first President of the former Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University Alumni Association. He also served as the Deputy President of Convocation until the merger of the two structures in 2013 to form a new single alumni governance structure, which he chaired until the 2018 Alumni Association AGM.

Prof Hugh Jeffrey received a special award for his contribution to the institution and association, served as a member of the University Council from 2005 to 2018 as well as a member of the Alumni Association Executive Committee for the same period.

As a proud ambassador of the University, Prof Jeffery’s professional affiliations include being an Honorary Fellow of SAIMechE and a member of the Institute of Professional Engineering Technologists and Chamber of Engineering Technology.

Addressing the awards guests at the Boardwalk Convention Centre on Friday night, Mandela University Vice-Chancellor Prof Sibongile Muthwa told how the institution – and its predecessors – have to date awarded 144 481 qualifications to 108 910 alumni and the alumni family continues to grow with more than 6000 graduates per annum.

“You have all made a conscious decision to be connected to Nelson Mandela University and being part of the family you are also part of the journey to ensure that your alma mater becomes a truly great African university,” she said.

“I congratulate each of our award recipients this evening, our young Rising Stars and more experienced Achievers, as well as our special award recipients Dr Jonas and Prof Jeffery who served as governors with distinction and in proud support of their alma mater.

“Our other award recipients ventured into the World, to Change the World, and we celebrate those achievements, because it ultimately is also our achievements as a University.”

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Ms Zandile Mbabela
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