Inaugural lecture by Professor Mayne and other updates

24 May 2023

Dear colleagues and students

The University of Cape Town (UCT) will host two inaugural lectures in the next two weeks. Read about this and other recent developments on campus.

1. Upcoming UCT Inaugural Lectures

Professor Elizabeth Mayne will present the next lecture in the UCT Inaugural Lecture series on Monday, 29 May. Her lecture will address the topic, “Racing the red queen: Immunology underlies all disease processes as well as the most successful treatment interventions of all time”.

Noting that immunology underlies all disease processes as well as being the most successful treatment intervention of all time, Professor Mayne will present her arguments on the timeliness of putting immunology back at the forefront of medicine and clinical science. She will describe some key highlights of the immunology journey in South Africa over the last 10 years, specifically focusing on the clinical discipline and the future of this science in the country.

On Thursday, 8 June, Professor Romy Parker will present a lecture titled “Pain management to reduce suffering in South Africa: integrating interdisciplinary research into the healthcare professions”. The primary driver for people to seek help from a healthcare professional is pain. Yet, limited time is spent in undergraduate curricula teaching on pain, its complex physiology and its evidence-based management. Professor Parker will take the audience on a reflective journey – exploring the phenomenon of pain, asking how it affects us, and what we have learnt about pain in South Africa. She will also address how to ensure that every South African has access to a healthcare professional who understands pain.

Both lectures will be held at 17:00 in the Neuroscience Institute Lecture Theatre, Groote Schuur Hospital.

2. Launch of the University of the Future project

UCT will launch the University of the Future (UoF) project on Wednesday, 31 May 2023 at 14:00. The UoF is a strategic project which aims to create a modern, vibrant and striking campus, designed to attract staff and student talent, local businesses, donors, industry interest and the broader community. The mission of the UoF is to create enabling places, spaces, services and functions for the future of UCT.

The project steering committee is chaired by Professor Salome Maswime, the head of the Global Surgery Division from the Faculty of Health Sciences; with Mr Richard Perez, the director of the Hasso Plattner d-school Afrika serving as deputy chair. The committee has wide representation from across the university – including academic staff; professional, administrative and support service (PASS) staff; unions; executives; and the Students’ Representative Council – as well as the broader Cape Town community. This diverse committee will advise the UCT executive on the future of places and spaces at UCT.

3. Further update on loadshedding

UCT management recently provided an update on the work that has been undertaken to minimise the impact of loadshedding, particularly the escalation to stage 6, as well as measures currently in place. The university undertook then to circulate more detailed communication relating to loadshedding and its impact on the UCT community, and the response thereof – both by the leadership of the university and by staff and students who have the shared responsibility of helping to respond to and manage this impact.

In a follow-up update, the university shared a comprehensive document providing an update on, among others, back-up power generation capacity at UCT; centrally bookable venues; ICT services available during load shedding; UCT Libraries services; teaching and learning; and residences.

The document also shares tips on energy saving and provides loadshedding recommendations by UCT’s Properties and Services Department which could be considered by departments, including portable options, stand-alone plug-in inverters and standard power banks.

4. Your 2023 Career Guide now available

The latest edition of Your 2023 Career Guide, produced by the UCT Careers Service, is now available. With useful insights from different industry experts, advice for job applications and postgraduation studies, and job listings from top employers, this guide is intended to support students on their career journey. The theme for this year’s publication is “Start where you are”.

5. Launch of Disability Matters online magazine

The Disability Service unit, in collaboration with the Students with Disabilities Forum, is proud to present the very first edition of an online magazine named DM (Disability Matters).

The magazine focuses explicitly and exclusively on disability-related matters. It aims to educate readers on disabilities; advocate for disability accessibility and inclusion on campus and in the broader society; and celebrate the wins within the disability sphere.

In the first ever edition, readers will get to learn more about – among others – the autism spectrum as well as about a specific sport designed for visually impaired persons but can be played by sighted people as well.

The team behind the magazine is made up of Lesego Modutle, UCT’s Disability Advocacy Specialist, as the editor-in-chief; and UCT students with various visible and invisible disabilities. Staff and students are welcome to contact the Disability Service if they require a text converted copy of the online magazine.

6. UCT whistle-blowing hotline update

UCT regards whistle-blowing as an important tool at the disposal of employees, students and interested third parties to report cases of misconduct, illegal activities or wrongdoing which may be harmful to the operations of the university.

The university remains committed to investigating any case where sufficient information is provided by a whistle-blower, with an outcome provided following the completion of the investigation. The university has contracted Whistle Blowers (Pty) Ltd for external management of the institutional hotline, which is the channel for reporting wrongdoing and potential misconduct.

For the information of the UCT community, in 2022 the UCT Whistle-Blowing Hotline received a total of 22 unique reports. The university has provided a summary of some of the cases received.


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