Warm welcomes: Professor Thandabantu Nhlapo, who joined UCT on August 1 from the South African Embassy in Washington DC where he has been working as Deputy Chief of Mission, was officially welcomed by deans, executives, students and others at a recent cocktail function. The event doubled as "adieu" to Professor Julia Mekwa, who returns full time to her post as head of the division of nursing and midwifery in the health sciences faculty after standing in as vice-chancellor since February. For Nhlapo, few introductions were necessary. He's a familiar face around campus, having occupied the chair of private law in the law faculty from 1995 to 1998 before he was appointed to the South African Law Commission, where he served from 1996 to 2000. And of course, he and vice-chancellor Prof Njabulo Ndebele are old friends. They've known each other since 1961 when they were both standard six pupils at St Christopher's School in Swaziland. But there will be little time for reminiscing anytime soon. Nhlapo has found that filling in forms is a "full-time job on its own" at UCT, but has also promised to spend much of his first few weeks in office reconnoitering departments and units he'll be serving.
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