Jane English (1954–2023)

03 November 2023 | Words Mignonne Breier. Photo Supplied. Read time 3 min.

21 September 1954 – 3 November 2023

Emeritus Associate Professor Jane English died at her home in Newlands on 3 November 2023 after a long battle with cancer. She was 69 years old.

When Emeritus Associate Professor English retired at the end of 2019, she had lectured at UCT for 34 years, firstly in the Professional Communication Unit, which served a wide range of faculties, and since 2003, as head of Professional Communication Studies in the Faculty of Engineering. English (or Jane) will be remembered fondly by generations of students – now in senior positions all over the world – who attribute their ability to communicate across disciplines, in short sparkling presentations and concise business reports and letters to her energetic classes.

She was born in Bulawayo in 1954 in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and spent her early years in that country. Her high school years were in Grahamstown (now Makhanda) where she attended the Assumption Convent, attaining a first-class JMB pass.

Jane gained a PhD in the department of Built and Natural Environment, Glasgow Caledonian University, in 2007, with a thesis on women in the South African construction industry. Her MPhil (2002) was in the Department of Construction Economics and Management at UCT. Prior to that, she had attained a BA Hons in English Literature at UCT in 1976 and an Associate Diploma in Industrial Editing from the British Association of Industrial Editors in 1978.

Professional communication is a teaching intensive field at UCT, yet Jane managed to combine her intense teaching commitments with research and publications. Over the course of her career, Jane published 18 single- or co-authored papers in peer-reviewed academic journals; delivered 33 papers, which were then published in proceedings of international conferences in countries ranging from Mexico to China, by way of Spain and Finland, to name just a few. She was the keynote speaker at major symposiums in South Africa and abroad, including the ILO; received research awards in South Africa, China and Northern Ireland; and the joint author of professional manuals on communication and contributor to several academic monographs.

As a communication specialist, Jane consulted widely to commerce and industry as well as community, NGO and government organisations on aspects of written, spoken and interpersonal communication, bringing invaluable real-world experience into her lectures and workshops.

Jane is survived by her husband, Martin Molteno, and four sons – Steven, Matthew, Christopher and Robin – who all gained degrees at UCT.

Jane’s funeral took place on 11 November 2023 at St Bernard’s Catholic Church, Newlands, Cape Town.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Please view the republishing articles page for more information.