Dee Bradshaw: 1958–2018

07 June 2018
Emeritus Professor Dee Bradshaw.
Emeritus Professor Dee Bradshaw.

Emeritus Professor Dee Bradshaw passed away on 7 June 2018, just a few months short of her 60th birthday, after a courageous battle with cancer. Throughout her illness, Dee remained a leading light and an inspiration to students, colleagues and professionals across the globe.

A major highlight for her in 2018 was the launch of her book Green Mining: Beyond the myth at the Two Oceans Aquarium ahead of the Annual Mining Indaba – attended by senior representatives of the minister in the presidency, AngloGold Ashanti and the University of Cape Town (UCT), as well as colleagues, students, friends and family. The book is the culmination of a career of thought leadership and a passion for people and minerals in collectively addressing complex, intractable problems in society.

Dee was born in Masvingo in Zimbabwe, the eldest of four children. She arrived at UCT in the late 1970s as a young undergraduate entering a traditionally male-dominated discipline, and graduated with a BSc in chemical engineering in 1981. With a young family to support, Dee started work as a part-time research assistant in the Flotation Group at UCT in 1983. Over the course of 25 years in this group, Dee emerged as an independent researcher with an international profile for her expertise in flotation chemistry, both in industry and in academia. She also initiated several new research activities, including the Depressant Research Facility and Process Mineralogy – both of which are still going strong within the Centre for Minerals Research.

Following an industry-based sabbatical in 2007, Dee moved to Australia to take up a professorship at the Julius Kruttschnitt Mineral Research Centre at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. Dee returned to UCT in 2015 to take up a National Research Foundation South African Research Chair in Mineral Beneficiation, and to step in as director of the interdisciplinary Minerals to Metals research grouping hosted by the Department of Chemical Engineering – posts that were both aimed at building a platform for sustainable development in Africa through metals and minerals, and which she held until her retirement in February 2018.

Dee was ever passionate about inspiring, nurturing, challenging, guiding, mentoring and creating opportunities for countless young lives across the world, in the minerals industry and beyond. In 2013 she received an award from the University of Queensland for excellence in postgraduate supervision, which recognised her as a leader who nurtured and developed her graduate students, a concept she called ‘Living Gold’. As her legacy to UCT, just a few weeks prior to her passing she established the Dee Bradshaw and Friends International Travel Scholarship for postgraduate students in the minerals discipline.

The University of Cape Town is deeply indebted to Dee for her dedicated and passionate contributions over almost four decades. She will long be remembered by all those with whom she came into contact – and as the ‘Living Gold’ continues to live on.

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