Change the world

Alumnus nabs Pilot's Award

BSc graduate, Laurence Hardman, was the recipient of the Pilots' Award at the South African National Gliding Championships held last month.

All participating pilots voted for the most promising pilot and Laurence earned top spot.

He has been selected to represent South Africa at the Junior World Gliding Championships in the Czech Republic this year.








Daring to dream pays off for eco-conscious Mandela University lecturer

An unwavering commitment to water conservation culminated in a doctorate for a Southern Cape academic, whose lifelong dream to change her world through education began under an avocado tree two decades ago.
Zimbabwean-born Tatenda Mapeto, 33, a forest management lecturer at Nelson Mandela University’s George Campus, received the coveted qualification during Summer Graduation 2020, the institution’s online ceremony for its 1212 students, this month.
Mapeto’s PhD in Nature Conservation, in the field of forest hydrology, offered critical research into eco-hydrological patterns in tree production systems – vital for negotiating South Africa’s ongoing water scarcity.
Her journey started during a mini project on wetland delineation – using biophysical principles to understand how placing the right trees on the right sites contributes to managing for both water and fibre provision.
Mapeto completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees, focusing on the delicate balance between trees, humans, and water usage.
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Becoming Reserve Bank Governor was never on his mind

The line between what you study at university and the career you ultimately pursue has become increasingly blurred, says the Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, Lesetja Kganyago, who was conferred an Honorary Doctorate of Commerce by Nelson Mandela University, during its online Business and Economic Sciences Graduation Ceremony on Thursday 17 December.
Speaking to the graduates, Kganyago explains that many business and economic sciences graduates enter other fields, such as government: “It’s essential for commerce graduates to understand how government works because it directly impacts on how business operates. In the same vein, many public policy and administration graduates go into business. But regardless of whether you go into government, your own business, an NGO or a position in the private sector, what you will be doing is applying your ability to master a body of knowledge, because this is what getting a degree is all about.


“Once you have demonstrated your ability to do this,” he adds, “you can choose a range of career fields. An important part of this is the capacity to adapt because the world of work is changing so fast and existing jobs are disappearing and being replaced with entirely new ways of working, as we are already experiencing.”
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How will Africa prepare itself for 2.5 billion people?

“If you consider that in 2050 Africa will have a population of approximately 2.5 billion people, representing a quarter to a third of all humanity, it becomes clear that Africa’s emerging markets are your future.” 
This is what the former Chair and CEO of MTN, Phuthuma Nhleko, told students at Nelson Mandela University’s online Faculty of Engineering, the Built Environment and Technology (EBET) graduation ceremony on Friday 18 December, during which he was conferred with an honorary doctorate.
“Placing myself in the shoes of students graduating from university today,” he says, “I was struck by how fundamentally different the world’s ecosystems are in the year 2020 compared to 1983 when I graduated with a BSc Civil Engineering.
In brief, Nhleko’s path followed this trajectory: he did his degree at Ohio State University, graduating in 1983, followed by an MBA in finance from Atlanta University.
He practised as a civil engineer in Ohio and South Dakota in the US before returning home where he held a number of positions, including as a senior member of the Standard Corporate & Merchant Bank corporate finance team, and as director of a number of large corporates. He became the CEO of MTN in 2002 and the Chair in 2013 – a position he held until his retirement in December last year.


“The question that needs to be asked by graduates today is ‘what is the prism and framework in 2020 through which we should be etching a roadmap towards fulfilling our humanity-changing ambitions?’. I come back to the emerging markets every time. They have their obvious ups and downs but a huge amount of growth and opportunity is going to come from here.
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