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Mongane Wally Serote is a South African poet and writer. Born in Sophiatown and schooled in Alexandra, Lesotho, and Soweto. He had links to a group known as the “township” or “Soweto” poets, and his poems often expressed themes of political activism, the development of black identity, and violent images of revolt and resistance. He was arrested by the apartheid government under the Terrorism Act in 1969 and spent nine months in solitary confinement, before being released without charge.
He studied in New York as a Fulbright Scholar, obtaining a Fine Arts degree at Columbia University in 1979 and then began a life in exile, working in Gaborone and later London for the African National Congress.
Mongane published his first collection of poems, Yakhal’Inkomo in 1972. This work was awarded the Ingrid Jonker Poetry Prize in 1973. A prolific write, his poem, Third World Express, was selected as one of ‘the 100 best’ to come out of Africa in 20th century. In 2012, he received the Golden Wreath Award; the first South African poet to earn this honour and the second African to do so after former Senegalese President Leopold Senghor.
He served as chair of the parliamentary select committee for Arts, Culture, Science & Technology from 1994 to 2002 and is the Executive Chair of the Freedom Park Trust and a Trustee on the Thabo Mbeki Foundation.
Lucy obtained a MA in Political Science at the University of Stellenbosch in 2004 and held the position of Projects Director at the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch for a period of two years before embarking on a PhD in Politics and International Studies at SOAS in September 2008. She returned to South Africa in September 2011 after successfully defending her thesis “Uncovering Agency: China’s Role as a Financier in Angola’s Reconstruction Programme” (published by Ashgate, London in 2013) and joined RMB in July 2012.
Frank Chikane grew up in Soweto and enrolled for a science degree at the University of the North in the early 1970s but his studies were interrupted by the protest actions at that time. He joined the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM) as a layman and was ordained by the church in 1980. Suspended by the AFM in 1981, he joined the Institute for Contextual Theology, a Christian think-tank of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and served as Secretary General of the SACC from 1987 to 1994. In 1995 Frank read for a Master of Public Administration at the Harvard Kennedy School and, on returning to South Africa, was appointed Director General in the Presidency under Thabo Mbeki from 1999 until 2010.
A graduate of UCT, Wanga completed her doctorate at Oxford in October 2013 and is employed as a Senior Scientist at the South African Medical Research Council and as Director of the Southern African Social Policy Research Institute.
Oscar Dhlomo (28 December 1943 – 29 August 2008.) was born in Umbumbulu, near Durban, and matriculated at Amanzimtoti College in 1962. He studied at the University College of Zululand, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in History and Anthropology in 1965 and a University Education Diploma in 1967. He pursued further study at the University of South Africa while working, obtaining his BA Hons in History in 1970. He served as headmaster of a local high school and later accepted a lecturing post in Didactics at the University of Zululand. Oscar completed a Master’s of Education at the University of Zululand and obtained a Doctorate of Education from UNISA.
Oscar abandoned academia to take up a political career and joined the KwaZulu government as Minister of Education and Culture in 1978 and later that year was elected Secretary-General of the Inkatha Freedom Party. He resigned as Inkatha Secretary-General in 1990 to form the Institute for Multi-Party Democracy, a political research organisation, serving as the executive chairman and served on the boards of several companies, including Rembrandt, Standard Bank, Safmarine, Anglovaal, the Development Bank of South Africa (DBSA), The Natal Witness Printing & Publishing Co., Hunt Leuchars & Hepburn and Shell SA post 1994.
Matthew graduated from Cambridge in December 2010 and has published a number of papers over the past three years. He is currently working for the Endangered Wildlife Trust and is involved in revising the Red Data List on South African Mammals to assess the extinction risk of all mammal species with a view to guiding conservation policy. The work is being conducted in collaboration with MammalMap (a citizen science project championed by UCT’s Les Underhill) and the Conservation Evidence Project at Cambridge.
A Wits graduate, Emma is an attorney by profession and read for a LLM at the LSE after completing her articles at Webber Wentzel. She resumed work in media litigation at Webbers for two years on returning from London and branched-out on her own in April 2013. Based in Johannesburg, she is a media law consultant and speaker with expertise in print and electronic media law with a special interest in social media law. Emma works with students at schools and universities on the responsible use of social media and is a frequent guest on radio and television. Together with Tamsyn de Beer, Emma has authored a book ‘Don’t Film Yourself Having Sex and Other Legal Advice for the Age of Social Media’, a user-friendly codification of laws on many topics: defamation, privacy, intellectual property, harassment, cyber-bullying, sexting and the responsibilities of employees and employers in the online environment.
Claus ranked top of his class at the Technical University of Berlin and earned high praise for his Master’s thesis “Contextualising the Crime Prevention Discourse in SA”. In May 2011 he was appointed Senior Professional Officer in the City of Cape Town’s Spatial Planning Department and with his special interest in Economic Areas Management Programmes, heads up the Growth Management Unit.
Now based in Johannesburg, Amy took up a position as a sessional lecturer at the University of the Witwatersrand in November 2013. She was recently selected by the Visual Arts Network of South Africa (VANSA) and the British Council to attend the Glasgow International Festival, a festival of contemporary art, and has formed a partnership with two other local designers and artists.
Jacqui completed her BMus at Trinity in July 2013 and earned top honours in three categories at the ATKV Muziq Competition in September of that year. She is a principal violinist for the LSO and toured South Africa in March 2014, performing in recitals and as a soloist with Richard Cock in The Last Night of the Proms Series.
Puleng graduated from CUNY with double distinctions and is currently working as a Senior Lecturer at UNISA teaching social and community psychology. She recently won a SA Women in Science ‘Distinguished Young Women Researcher Award’ (2014) as well the UNISA Principal’s Award for Excellence in Research. Puleng has been invited by the National Research Foundation to serve as one of its role models for young researchers and is actively involved in a national youth mentoring campaign.
Khumisho completed her Master’s at Oxford in June 2011 and was appointed as a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at the University of Pretoria. She obtained a DPhil under the supervision of Professor William Beinart in 2014 and is currently employed as a Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Johannesburg.
A graduate of Wits University and former head of music at St. James School, Johannesburg, Mattheu had opportunities to participate in master classes in Weiz, London and The Juilliard and completed his Master’s in Conducting at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama) in June 2013. At the age of 28, he has guest-conducted the Bulgarian State Philharmonic, the Orpheus Sinfonia in London and the Kamerphilharmonie Graz and was one of two classical musicians profiled in the 2011 edition of the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans. He also received a special mention in Jansen’s book “Great South African Teachers” (2012). Matheu has resumed teaching at St.James on a part-time basis and will conduct a number of performances of the South African National Youth Orchestra in 2014. Married to a Singaporean, Matheu divides his time between Johannesburg, Hong Kong and London.
Kathryn completed her Master’s at Dundee in September 2013 and is currently employed at the University of Stellenbosch. She delivered a keynote address at the Forensic Anthropology Symposium hosted at UKZN in April 2014 and serves as a guest lecturer on the Forensic Biomedical Sciences Programme at UCT. Kathryn has received an offer to join UCT’s PhD Forensics Programme in partnership with Liverpool University (a split-site degree) and is likely to commence her doctoral studies at the beginning of 2015.
Pumeza received her initial training at UCT and completed her graduate studies in Advanced Opera Performance at the Royal College of Music. She was selected for the Young Artists’ Programme at the Royal Opera House and has been a full-time member of the Stuttgart State Opera since 2011. She has performed extensively in Europe and was the star soloist at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July 2014. To much acclaim, she has released her first album ‘Voice of Hope’, a selection of classical arias and South African songs.