Ten years of democracy ...

10 May 2004

... in New York

UCT marked Freedom Day - and the 10th anniversary of South Africa's democracy - in a number of events in New York.

Judge Dennis Davis, who teaches at UCT's law faculty, was a panelist discussing the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission at a symposium at New York University.

Sean Jacobs, UCT graduate and associate of the Centre for African Studies, co-directed the week-long festival of films from South Africa, Ten Years of Freedom, around the city.

A highlight was the screening of Cosmic Africa, co-hosted by the Hayden Planetarium. The film is a quest by UCT graduate and visiting lecturer Thebe Medupe, who seeks to reconnect his childhood fascination with the stars with his career as professional scientist in a journey that takes him from the Kalahari to Mali and the Egyptian desert.

Following the screening, Medupe was guest of honour at a reception for alumni, friends and supporters of UCT, hosted by UCT Fund chair Trevor Norwitz and UCT Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Martin Hall.

Speaking at the event, Hall thanked New York alumni and supporters for their continuing work on UCT's behalf. Recent gatherings in the city have ranged from the formal ceremonial of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's graduation - where UCT borrowed Columbia University's domed assembly hall for a day - to a homely evening at the Madiba Café, a celebrated Brooklyn landmark.

UCT knows of several hundred of its graduates living and working in the New York area, and gatherings such as these keep people in touch with one another, Hall said.

Over the years, the UCT Fund has raised considerable sums of money in support of student bursaries, research and development projects.

Norwitz emphasised that his committee was determined to continue in this tradition, helping young South Africans to follow Medupe's lead in realising their dreams for the future.

... at the GSB

UCT's Graduate School of Business is planning a celebration of diversity and a conference focusing on business in Africa for Heritage Day (September 24) this year.

The events will centre on celebrating and valuing the cultural diversity of the GSB's entire community, and will give concrete meaning to the school's vision of being "the international business school in Africa".

"Transformation forum members, who will coordinate the events, envisaged this as a combination of a number of celebrations - 10 years of democracy in South Africa, the 40th anniversary of the GSB, and the 175th anniversary of UCT - and came up with the idea to call this the '10-40-175 celebration'," said Loyiso Mbabane, programme director for the two events and forum chair.

He added that both the celebration and the conference, which will continue on Saturday, September 25, will have a strong external focus showcasing and marketing the GSB. The school will also be inviting key national and regional speakers to the conference, which will be opened by vice-chancellor Professor Njabulo Ndebele.

Professor Frank Horwitz, newly-appointed director of the GSB, says it is the first time that events of this nature will take place at the school and that the activities planned will give impetus to the GSB's important thrust of transformation.

"The Heritage Day events will form part of a broader transformation process taking place at the GSB and UCT. Transformation is not only about enhancing the diversity of the school's faculty, students and staff, but also about transforming our institutional culture," he said.

Mbabane extended a call for volunteers from students, staff and alumni who are interested in joining a new transformation forum sub-committee to coordinate the event.

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