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Jonathan Oppenheimer is a South African businessman. He began his career working at NM Rothschild & Sons before moving to Anglo American where he became Senior Vice President: Acquisitions in the Exploration & Acquisition Division. After leaving Anglo American in 2000, he filled a number of senior roles at De Beers, including as Head of the Chairman’s Office responsible for the direction and implementation of group strategy.
In 2003, Jonathan established the Brenthurst Foundation, a Johannesburg-based think-tank which examines ways to drive Africa’s sustainable growth. In his role as Founder and Member of the Board, he has served on several of Brenthurst’s Advisory Committees to governments, most recently in Mozambique and Malawi.
Jonathan is also actively involved in other aspects of the family’s activities. Outside of the office, Jonathan is first and foremost a family man. He is passionate about flying, an active golfer, and enjoys engaging on issues of African development.
A former high school science teacher, Professor Jonathan Jansen was appointed Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS) in 2009 and served in this role until mid-2017 when he took-up a Professorship at the University of Stellenbosch. Educated at the University of the Western Cape, UNISA and Cornell, he obtained a PhD at Stanford in 1991 and holds Honorary Doctor of Education degrees from the University of Edinburgh and Cleveland State University. Prior to taking-up the post of V-C of UFS, he served as Professor of Education at the University of Durban-Westville and the University of Pretoria.
Jonathan is a well-known public speaker and a prolific writer. His most recent books include Letters to my Children (2012), Great South African Teachers (2011), We Need to Talk (2011) and Knowledge in the Blood (2009). Knowledge received best book awards from the Library Journal USA and the American Educational Research Association. Professor Jansen recently received Education Africa’s “Lifetime Achievement Award” in recognition of “his work towards the transformation of education in South Africa”.
He is a Fellow of the Academy of Science of South Africa, the Academy of Sciences of the Developing World, die Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns and of the American Educational Research Association. In addition, Professor Jansen serves as patron of a number of local NGOs and on the boards of the Toyota Foundation and AdvTech Group.
Born in Boksburg, South Africa, Robert (Bobby) Godsell grew up in Durban where he attended Grosvenor Boys’ High School. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Philosophy from the University of Natal and a Master of Arts in Liberal Ethics from the University of Cape Town. He also spent a year pursuing postgraduate studies in Sociology and Philosophy at Leiden University in The Netherlands.
He joined Anglo American Corporation in 1974 in the office of the Employment Practices Consultant and was appointed Head of Public Affairs, including Group Industrial Relations and Corporate Communications, in the late 1980s. Bobby became CEO of the Gold and Uranium Division in 1995 and held the position of CEO of AngloGold and subsequently AngloGold Ashanti (following the merger with Ashanti Goldfields) for a period of ten years prior to his retirement in September 2007.
Bobby is one of the longest serving Trustees of the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and served as its chair from 1987 to 2001.
He is active in business organisations both nationally and internationally, serving amongst others, two terms as President of the South African Chamber of Mines and as Chairman of the World Gold Council and of Eskom. Since 2002 he has served as co-chair of the Millennium Labour Council, a social dialogue body involving business and labour leaders. He is the immediate past chair of Business Leadership South Africa, an organisation representing some eighty large businesses and was also a member of the National Planning Commission. He serves on the boards of the Industrial Development Corporation and the London-listed Russian gold and silver mining company Polymetal International and formerly chaired the board of one of South Africa’s private Catholic universities, St. Augustine’s.
He is a regular contributor of articles to newspapers and journals on business and socio-political issues and in 2008 co-authored (with James Motlatsi) “Do It! Every South African’s guide to making a difference”.
Dr Devi Rajab was educated in South Africa and in the USA as a Fulbright Scholar, obtaining a Master’s in Educational Psychology at the University of Kansas and a PhD in Social Psychology from Missouri. Scholarships from the IIE and the British Council enabled her to pursue her special interests in the areas of ‘guilt, shame and early childhood education’ at Harvard and ‘career development’ at Oxford. She is registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa as a Counselling Psychologist.
Dr Rajab lectured in Social Psychology at the University of Durban-Westville prior to joining the staff of the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 1989 and she served as UKZN’s Dean of Student Development from 1992 to 2005. An award-winning journalist (four-time recipient of the Vodacom Journalist of the Year Award as well as the Turquoise Harmony Institute Media Award for Outstanding Journalism in 2010), she pens a weekly column ‘Devi’s Diary’ for the Mercury and is a regular contributor to Confluence, a London-based newspaper. Devi is also the author of ‘No Subject is Taboo’ and ‘Women: South Africans of Indian Origin’.
Devi currently serves as an independent consultant to the Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa and holds positions on the boards of several community-based and educational organisations, including the Democracy Development Project, KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and the Amazwi Abesifazana Museum.
Professor Loyiso Nongxa retired as Professor of Mathematics at the University of theWitwatersrand in December 2018 having spent 18 years at the university as a member of the Senior Executive Team – as Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research (2000 to 2002), Vice-Chancellor and Principal (2003 to 2013) and Founding Director of the Centre for Mathematical and Computational Sciences (2014 to 2018). A NRF-rated mathematician, his special research interests lie in Abelian Group Theory, representations of partially ordered sets and the foundations of Data Science. Over the past few years, he has been instrumental in the efforts to establish a National Graduate Academy for Mathematical and Statistical Sciences, a consortium of local universities focusing on the development of the next generation of mathematicians and statisticians in South Africa.
He is a fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa, member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and one of two Vice-Presidents of the International Mathematical Union (IMU, 2019 to 2022). Professor Nongxa served as the Chairperson of the National Research Foundation from 2014 to 2018 and in April 2019 was appointed by the Minister of Higher Education and Training as Administrator of the University of Fort Hare.
Professor Nongxa was born in rural South Africa, attending Healdtown High School and the University of Fort Hare where he completed his undergraduate degree in Mathematics and Statistics and a MSc in Mathematics. He was the first South African of African ancestry to be awarded the Rhodes Scholarship and went up to Balliol College, Oxford in 1978 where he obtained a doctorate in Mathematics in 1982. Prior to joining the University of the Witwatersrand, he taught at the National University of Lesotho, the former University of Natal and the University of the Western Cape.
Granddaughter of Harry and Bridget Oppenheimer and daughter of Mary Slack, Rebecca is a graduate of Princeton University and went on to complete a one year classical acting programme at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art. She then pursued a career on stage in South Africa and also co-presented a local TV show ‘Between the Lines’ in the 1990s and became a partner in the Bassline Jazz Club. Away from the theatre, screen and music, Rebecca was a keen showjumper and competed in the top division of the sport.
Following a fifteen year stay in America, Rebecca and her two children now live in South Africa. She is fervently committed to the role of education as the key to upliftment and was the first donor to back the founding of the African Leadership Academy in 2005. She remains one of the ALA’s greatest supporters. Rebecca is currently developing a rain-harvesting vertical gardening system that she hopes will contribute to better nutrition programmes in under-resourced communities.
Educated at Heathfield in England and Sorbonne University in Paris, Mary has had a long association with the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, initially in the role of secretary in the 1970s and as chair of the Board of Trustees from 2001 to 2013. She resumed the chairmanship in October 2018.
An early interest in the arts resulted in board positions at Dorkay House, the African Music and Drama Academy and the Federated Union of Black Arts and she also played an important role as Managing Trustee of the Market Theatre from 1989 to 1992. Mary was instrumental in the founding of Business and Arts South Africa (BASA) in 1997 and served as its first chair. Established as a joint initiative of government and business, BASA set out to secure the development of the arts through increased corporate sector involvement and it has achieved many successes over the years.
Mary was one of the co-founders of Wiphold (the first female-controlled company to list on the JSE) and previously served as a Trustee of a range of other organisations including the Johannesburg Art Gallery, the Palaeontological Scientific Trust, the Contemporary African Music & Arts Archive, the Mali Manuscripts Trust and the World Wildlife Foundation and has an on-going interest in the work of the Caine Prize and the Helen Suzman Foundation.
Over and above her involvement with the OMT, Mary presently chairs The Brenthurst Library and Press.
Leigh Bregman was educated at St. John’s College, Johannesburg and attended the University of the Witwatersrand where he completed a BSc Joint Honours in Zoology and Philosophy. He also holds a MA in Philosophy from Carnegie Mellon University and the PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science from University College London.
After his studies, Leigh went into finance, becoming a mining and resource specialist with Rand Merchant Bank and later Morgan Stanley. In 2014 he left Morgan Stanley to focus on other business interests. Leigh has long been involved in philanthropy through his close links with the Sunshine Foundation Trust and, more recently, the Javett Foundation. He retains his interests in history.
Nicky Frank Oppenheimer was educated at Harrow School and Christ Church, Oxford, England, where he read Politics, Philosophy and Economics. He spent his working life first with Anglo American Corporation and then with De Beers and retired as Chairman of De Beers in 2012 when the family stake was sold to Anglo American plc.
In 2003, a Doctorate in Technology, honoris causa was bestowed upon him by the Technikon Witwatersrand in South Africa, the first such award by the Technikon to a person in the public and private sectors.
In 2004 Nicky received the Presidential Order of Honor from His Excellency the President of the Republic of Botswana, Mr Festus Gontebanye Mogae, and was awarded a Honorary Fellowship by the London Business School in 2009.
Nicky chaired the Trust from January 2014 to October 2018 and currently serves as the Deputy Chair.
Born in Durban, South Africa, Thero Setiloane was educated in Switzerland and the United Kingdom, where he read for a BSc in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Warwick.
Prior to joining Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) as Chief Executive Officer in 2011, he was the Executive Vice President of Business Sustainability at AngloGold Ashanti, responsible for corporate affairs, global marketing, public policy, government relations, global security, corporate social investments, environmental and community affairs, as well as health and safety.
Thero has also held leadership positions in the telecommunications, agricultural and private equity sectors and is a graduate of the management trainee programme at Anglo American.
He is on the board of a number of companies, and previously served as a member of the Executive Committee of the World Gold Council and as an executive director of Real Africa Holdings.