Change the world


We would like to congratulate our Alumni for their hard work and dedication. You have made Nelson Mandela University proud!

Zanele Mdodana’s star continues to rise

The former SA Netball captain has been appointed assistant coach of the national team by Netball SA. Mdodana who graduated with a ND ’05 and BTech’09 specialising in Sport Management is a 2015 Mandela University Rising Star Award Recipient. She has 82 caps for SA and has also participated in one World Cup. Mdodana is currently located in Saudi Arabia, where she has been helping grow the sport of netball in the country. 
Post Source: HeraldLive
Photo Credit: HeraldLive
Read the article HERE

Mandela University palaeoscience student accepted for anthropology doctorate at New York University

Asithandile Ntsondwa’s academic journey, which began in Mthatha, followed by undergraduate and postgraduate science qualifications at Mandela University, will culminate with a PhD study in Anthropology at New York University (NYU).
From left, Dr Lynn Quick, Asithandile Ntsondwa and Professor Marc Humphries outside Boomplaas Cave; Asithandile in the field and Asithandile and Dr Quick analysing her MSc charcoal results in the Palaeoecology laboratory.
The soon to be 24-year-old PhD candidate will research interdisciplinary archaeological anthropology at NYU from 2025, drawing from fields within both the sciences and the humanities.
“Throughout my education path, I have been intrigued by the interconnectedness of our world.


“Hence, for my undergrad studies, I chose to do a Bachelor of Sciences in Environmental Sciences, which incorporated various modules from four disciplines, namely, Botany, Zoology, Geography, and Geology”, says Asithandile.
Read more here: Nelson Mandela University News 

#WomenLead #CEO #CelebrateSuccess

Congratulations to Faculty of Law alumna Michelle Phillips on her appointment as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Transnet. The announcement was made on 28 February by the Minister of Public Enterprises, Pravin Gordhan.
Phillips is the longest-serving executive at Transnet with a career spanning over 20 years. In her former position as CEO of Transnet Pipelines she saved the business R1.5 billion over a period of 18 months. Nelson Mandela University Alumni wishes Ms Phillips all the best in her new role. 


Post Source: News24

Visual Arts lecturer selected as William Humphreys Art Gallery’s Artist-In-Residency 


Nelson Mandela University Visual Arts lecturer and the University’s Bird Street Gallery manager and curator Johnathan van der Walt has been selected as the recipient of the William Humphreys Art Gallery’s (WHAG) prestigious Artist-In-Residency programme.
The 2024 WHAG’s Artist-In-Residency national call received a multitude of exceptional applications, but Jonathan’s innovative and compelling approach to sculpture appealed the most to the Gallery’s curatorial strategy.

Two master’s in economics students shine in top 10 of Nedbank-Old Mutual Budget speech competition
Nelson Mandela University had two Master of Economics students, Ziyanda Magazi and Liyema Mpompi, in the Top 10 of the national Nedbank Old Mutual Budget Competition postgraduate category. Ziyanda won the second prize as first runner-up, with her essay examining the impact of the Just Economic Transition on the South African economy.
Right, Ziyanda Magazi and Liyema Mpompi.
“I found the topic very interesting, and I was eager to research and evaluate the potential implications for the South African economy.
“I wanted to offer my views on the South African context of this global deliberation and perhaps the most critical socioeconomic challenge of our lifetime, climate change, said Ziyanda. 

#UBUNTUAWARDS2024 #CelebrateSuccess
Congratulations to Laduma Ngxokolo, BTech (Textile Design & Technology)’11 alumnus and 2012 Alumni Rising Star Award recipient, whose company MaXhosa Africa, was awarded the Ubuntu Economic Diplomacy Award (Global) for 2024 recently.
MAXHOSA AFRICA, a South African knitwear brand founded in 2010 by Gqeberha born Laduma Ngxokolo, originating in the desire to explore knitwear design solutions suitable for amakrwala (Xhosa initiates). The MaXhosa brand can be spotted in various stores globally.
Ubuntu Awards, hosted by The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, recognises South African industry leaders, eminent persons and ordinary South African citizens for their distinguished service and contribution in promoting South Africa’s national interests and values across the world.
The event takes place after the opening of Parliament and brings together captains of industry, leaders from civil society, members of Cabinet and eminent persons, in addition to all Ambassadors and High Commissioners accredited to South Africa.

A woman for all seasons

Dr Muki Moeng, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching is Nelson Mandela University’s most senior alumnus. A true servant leader, her love of education and compassion for humanity are a powerful combination – and her story is one of unparalleled achievement against all odds. 
An inspiring leader who chose determination over defeat
By Beth Cooper Howell 
Young Muki’s first teaching tools were an old car bonnet and a piece of charcoal. 
After class, to mitigate the effects of disrupted education during the height of apartheid, the Graaff-Reinet teenager started study groups, helping friends to revise their schoolwork.
At 15, the outspoken Congress of South African Students (COSAS) member spent two months in jail. During the turbulent 1980s, many student activists missed class – she and her peers repeated Grade 8 three times. 
Ironically, the architects of black education failed to break her spirit. Instead, they achieved the opposite.
Dr Muki Moeng, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Learning and Teaching at Nelson Mandela University, holds a Doctorate in Education and decades of dedication to a love of learning.
Years later, she would beat the odds again, surviving breast cancer following a shock diagnosis in March 2020.
But, like her mentor mother, a domestic worker-turned-entrepreneur, she’s always dusted herself off, choosing determination over defeat.
Read article here: Nelson Mandela University News 

Cracking the code for Tangible success
The Tangible Africa team at Nelson Mandela University in South Africa is a small group of passionate people working to change the narrative for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
To date, more than 100 000 children on two continents have been exposed to Tangible’s coding outreach, and more than R80 million has been raised for bursaries to enable them to study after school. Tangible is an engagement project of the Leva Foundation, a non-profit organisation, in partnership with Nelson Mandela University, with AWS in Communities its largest sponsor.
HIGH FIVE: Professor Jean Greyling congratulates a youngster during a coding activity; SUCCESS STORY: Professor Jean Greyling with Nelson Mandela University BSc Computer Science student Culumanco Komanisi, who was introduced to TANKS in Grade 7
Its founder, Professor Jean Greyling, is an unassuming academic, deliberate in choosing “we” over “I” in interviews, and quick to name colleagues and students, present and past, for their contribution.
The head of the Department of Computer Science at Nelson Mandela University in Gqeberha says it has not been an easy journey.
Read article here: Nelson Mandela University News 

How to win friends and influence people


Whether it is Threads or X, Insta or Facebook, TikTok or YouTube, Nelson Mandela University students and graduates are tapping into social media to carve their niche as influencers in a digital world.
“Influencer” brings to mind a celeb with a massive following on social media, holding sway over a legion of fans. Someone who, due to their pervasive potential impact, is a pot of advertising gold.
By Gillian McAinsh
The global influencer market is a $13.8-billion global industry and brands pay handsomely to an influencer for dropping a mention on their socials. Bear in mind however, that only a handful – think Kylie Jenner or Cristiano Ronaldo – rake in $1-million for a post.
That said, even micro-influencers (under 50 000 followers), and nano-influencers (3 000 to 5 000 followers) can reel in a pay cheque or, at the very least, free merchandise. To retain trust, they generally will flag a paid post as #sponsored content.  
Rates of pay vary, with as little as R200 per post from a new kid and zooming up to mega-money for a mega-influencer. Engagement, star-power and access to a niche audience are all factors.  
And, importantly, to retain trust, they generally will hashtag a paid post as #sponsored content.  


Thetha profiles a few of the Gen Z tastemakers and trendsetters who hold sway online. 

Reintroducing songs in the ǀXam language
Nelson Mandela University’s professor in music Alethea de Villiers together with linguistics professor Menán du Plessis, from the University of Stellenbosch, recently published an article on songs incorporated into |Xam stories. 
Professors Alethea de Villiers and Menán du Plessis; the book with the folktales; and the historic music bow photographed by Gavin Copenhall. 
These stories were collected by Wilhelm Bleek and Lucy Lloyd from their ǀXam-speaking consultants in the late 19th century.
The article, “Historically informed performance: songs embedded in |Xam stories” was published in the journal, Ethnomusicology Forum and the research was made possible through ISME-SEMPRE funding.
Prof Du Plessis is a linguist in the field of comparative African languages, with a particular focus on diverse ‘Khoisan’ languages and currently compiling a grammar book and dictionary of the ǀXam language.


Eastern Cape artist and Mandela Uni alumnus makes an international mark

When Gqeberha artist Pola Maneli posted his work on Instagram, he had no idea it would lead to a commission for an international magazine cover, nor to a sale to an Oscar-winning movie director.

Maneli, 33, who graduated with his MA Fine Art from Nelson Mandela University in 2020, says the experience has been “wild, wild, wild”.
The buzz started when the New Yorker magazine commissioned him for its annual Martin Luther King edition cover in January 2023.


The United States honours the life of the late civil rights activist on 16 January every year as Dr Martin Luther King Day.
The magazine asked Maneli to design its coveted cover slot after having previously used his illustration skills.

A New Life in the Netherlands
BCom (Logistics & Transport Economics) alumna Almarize Kleu from Gqeberha graduated in 2020 and moved to the Netherlands a year ago at the age of 23. It’s been the adventure of a lifetime. 
Vondelpark, Amsterdam, Ghent, Belgium, and the trees of Stadswandelpark, in Eindhoven – a park Almarize Kleu visits almost daily.
Mandela Uni graduate feels at home in foreign country thanks to South African expats 
By Heather Dugmore
“Before moving to Eindhoven in the Netherlands on 15 July 2022, the only time I’d been outside of South Africa was a trip to Mozambique, so it was a huge move for me,” says Almarize, who applied for and was offered a position as a supply chain engineer at Royal Philips International, which has its headquarters in Eindhoven. 
The first three months were the hardest, as she was part of a team that worked only in Dutch. “My Afrikaans helped a bit and over the course of a year I learnt Dutch, and I now fluently work in it. What is so surprising is how quickly we learn a new language by speaking it every day.” 
Read article here: Nelson Mandela University News 




Three Nelson Mandela University Law role-players closely linked to SA Application re Gaza Strip

On 26 January 2024, the International Court of Justice (the ICJ) delivered its judgment in the Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in the Gaza Strip (South Africa v Israel).
By a majority of 15 to two judges, the ICJ ordered Israel to take all reasonable measures within its power (so-called provisional measures) to prevent a genocide against the people of Palestine in the Gaza Strip.


ProfessorsTembeka Ngcukaitobi and Max du Plessis, two of South Africa’s legal representatives in the case, are adjunct professors in the Faculty of Law, Nelson Mandela University, South Africa.
Read article here: Nelson Mandela University News 

Nelson Mandela University Chemistry PhD student international global challenges award

Doctoral student in Chemistry Olwethu Poswayo has won the 2023 Global Challenges University Alliance (GCUA) 2030 award.
First prize winner Olwethu Poswayo,  together with second and third prize winners Shaik Abdullah, and Michael Gräf.
Her project titled, “Optimization of utilization of biomass for production of bio-oil and its hydro-processing to produce quality biofuel” scooped the first prize of 3500 Euro.
She also won an all-expenses paid trip to Sweden to present a seminar on her research during the GCUA’s meeting from 30 January to 1 February at Haga Slott, Enköping, Sweden. To watch her video submission, click here.
Read article here: Nelson Mandela University News 

Research on pine trees shows hope for employment
Award-winning research by a young forester from Mpumalanga into harvesting biomass manually after pine trees have been felled has been presented at an international conference.
Thandekile Ncongwane, 28, won a Celebrating Excellence award from Nelson Mandela University in November for her Master’s treatise on this subject, which she aced with a score of 93%.
Ncongwane studied forestry at the George Campus of Nelson Mandela University, and graduated with her Master’s degree in technology in April this year.
Originally from Schoemansdal in Mpumalanga, she now works at York Timbers in Sabie, in the same province.
Her research investigated the recovery and  productivity of pinus patula biomass after being partially harvested. It looked at the quantity of collectable tree material left behind.
“After the primary logs are harvested, there is biomass left behind. This consists of logs that may have been cut to the wrong size, or are broken, as well as other organic material such as branches, needles, cones and twigs,” she explains.
Some of this is left in the field while a certain amount can be repurposed as a source of energy.
Read article here: Nelson Mandela University News