CMD Annual Review 2021

CMD Annual Report 2021 - An eventful year

An eventful year

The University of Cape Town (UCT) hosted several ceremonies as virtual events due to COVID-19 lockdown regulations.

Registration under COVID-19 pandemic

The university of Cape Town (UCT) elected to pursue teaching and learning in 2021 in terms of a ‘physically distanced, low-density campus’ approach. This was to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID-19 during the second wave, and in preparation for a possible third wave. Strict COVID-19 regulations and protocols were followed during registration and welcoming of new students to residences.


Dr Stuart Saunders

The university bid a sad farewell to Emeritus Professor Stuart Saunders, a dedicated servant, steward and supporter of UCT and vice-chancellor from 1981 until 1996. Dr Saunders, who held the Chair of Medicine before becoming vice-chancellor at UCT, died peacefully in his sleep on 12 February 2021, after a short illness. He was a fellow of the College of Physicians of South Africa, the Royal Society of South Africa and the Royal College of Physicians, London, and a leading liver researcher. He co-founded the university’s Liver Clinic and Liver Research Unit and published more than 200 articles and co-authored a highly referenced study. Friends and former colleagues shared their tributes and fond memories in a feature page that was published on UCT News.


UCT fire

In April 2021, tragedy struck at UCT. The Jagger Reading Room was destroyed by the Table Mountain runaway fire on Sunday, 18 April. The African Studies collection, maps, rare and antiquarian books, film and video collections, newspapers, journals and magazines, pamphlets and ephemera, manuscripts, and photographs and images were destroyed. It was one of the biggest disruptions our university has faced.


Africa Month

UCT’s Faculty of Health Sciences (FHS) celebrated Africa Month in May, under the theme, “Re-imagining Health in Africa”. The celebration was a hybrid event, taking place across three venues plus a virtual component.

FHS Deanery Group
Members of the Faculty of Health Sciences deanery group participated in the Africa Day event. Photo Je’nine May.
FHS Deanery Tracey Naledi
Dr Tracey Naledi, the deputy dean for Health Services, was the programme director for the event. Photo Je’nine May.
Africa Day
UCT’s Head of Global Surgery, Assoc Prof Salome Maswime, delivered her talk titled ‘Healthcare for Africa in Africa’. Photo Je’nine May.

Women’s Month

In August we celebrated Women’s Month in commemoration of thousands of womxn who marched to the Union Buildings on 9 August 1956 in protest against the extension of pass laws to womxn; we also recognised womxn who continue to carve a path for future generations of womxn with ground-breaking research and other projects aimed at the betterment of our society.

Shudu Musida
“Achieving gender equality is impossible if society fails to change the narratives that exist around women and mental health,” said Miss South Africa 2020 Shudufhadzo Musida while delivering a keynote address during UCT’s Women’s Month celebrations. Photo Supplied.
Lana Crowster
UCT South African College of Music alumnus Lana Crowster, founder of the Lady Day Big Band, a safe space to nurture young women musicians. Crowster started the all-women band as a way to contribute to helping women escape abuse in the arts industry that is notoriously known for sexual predation. Photo Supplied.
Tania de Villiers
The head of the Division of Nursing and Midwifery at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr Tania de Villiers, used and adapted the Sonke Gender Justice ‘One Man Can’ intervention and developed the Men With Conscience (MWC) primary prevention intervention. Dr de Villiers is an SGBV activist, she believes men play a key role in the prevention of GBV hence her PhD research focused on engaging young male university students in a primary sexual violence prevention in university settings. Photo Supplied.
Neziswa Titi
Dr Neziswa Titi, is a researcher at the University of Cape Town’s (UCT) Children’s Institute and an advocate of children and women’s rights. Dr Titi’s work focuses on developing responsive services for children and families, and also on the intersections of violence against women and children. Photo Je’nine May.
Nolundi Luwaya
Nolundi Luwaya, director of the Land and Accountability Research Centre (LARC) based in UCT’s Department of Public Law. The LARC played a significant part in the Ingonyama Trust case in KwaZulu-Natal regarding the charging of rent on communal land, which had an adverse effect – mostly on women – in rural KZN. The Pietermaritzburg High Court made a landmark ruling on 11 June 2021 when it declared that the Trust had acted unlawfully. Photo Supplied.
Women's Month GBV Karabo
UCT students (from left) Sizo Buthelezi, Karabo Malahleha and Alex Pottinger started Asikhulumeni (a non-profit organisation) which is running a programme that starts conversations on gender-based violence with 12 to 19-year-old boys. Photo Je’nine May.

Vaccination centre

The UCT Community of Hope Vaccination Centre opened in September 2021 at the Forest Hill residence complex in Mowbray. Staff, students and the broader community were able to get vaccinated at the centre.


Staff Annual Awards

Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng virtually hosted the UCT Annual Awards 2021, which serve to honour and celebrate exceptional individuals at UCT for their contributions through excellence and dedication in research, teaching and service. The celebration acknowledges staff receiving Long Service Awards and the recipients of the Distinguished Teacher Award, the Alan Pifer Research Award and the Vice-Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence. The ceremony also recognises those staff members who have received ad hominem promotions. Please read the stories of the winners featured in UCT News.


Retirees farewell

The Vice-Chancellor also honoured and celebrated retirees for their hard work, commitment and dedication to the university. She visited a few UCT retirees, handing over gift packs and personally thanking them for their service to the university. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions, the university could not host a celebratory dinner with all the UCT retirees. The Vice-Chancellor has instead recorded a message wishing the retirees well in their future endeavours and thanked them for their service to UCT.


Chancellor’s Installation

In a significant moment, Chancellor, Dr Precious Moloi-Motsepe, was officially installed as UCT’s sixth chancellor since 1918. Dr Moloi-Motsepe was formally invested with her robe at a ceremony hosted by UCT Chair of Council Babalwa Ngonyama in December 2021. The Chancellor is the titular head and representative of the university, and confers degrees in its name.



Due to COVID-19 lockdown regulations, the July 2021 graduations were held virtually, with a limited number of students invited to campus for picture opportunities with the Vice-Chancellor on 14 and 15 July. Similarly, the December 2021 graduation ceremonies were also held virtually, with an additional informal in-person ceremony dubbed the ‘walk of celebration’ held outside the Sarah Baartman Hall.

Who are we?

28 Feb 2023
Our people

28 Feb 2023
The numbers

28 Feb 2023
An eventful year

28 Feb 2023
The fire

28 Feb 2023
2021 in pictures

28 Feb 2023