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EMS Deans Awards 2014

EMS Deans Honours Awards 2014

“You have to trust that you know who you are before you can make decisions that are true to yourself. If you don't know who you are, how can other people know to trust and believe in you?”

Those were the words spoken by Murshid Obaray, CEO of Black Oaks Consulting – and a special guest speaker at the University of the Western Cape's (UWC) Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences Dean's Honours Awards on 24 April 2014. The evening saw Prof Kobus Visser, Dean of EMS, conferring the Merit Award on 30 students who had managed an average of 75% or better for 2013, whether undergraduate or postgrad – as well as a few special awards for those who managed a bit of extra achievement.

“I can't tell you about setting goals and achieving them,” Obaray told the assembled students, “because you've already demonstrated that you can do that. But I can tell you that being here today is not about the dreams other people have for you – it's about figuring out what you want for yourself. That doesn't mean you shouldn't take advice from others – especially those family and friends and lecturers who sacrificed to give you the opportunity to do your best. But their sacrifice is meaningless unless you rise to the challenge.”

Obaray is an alumnus of UWC – while he didn't have the opportunity to go to university after high school, he chose to come back to study under Prof Kobus Visser at the age of 35, while managing his own company. It's an experience he treasures – as proven by the UWC student card he still keeps in his wallet to this day.

Prof David Fisher, Acting DVC: Student Development and Support, highlighted what the awards are all about. “The Dean's Merit Award recognises real results – results that make a statement about the quality of the field, and that the EMS Faculty and UWC as a whole can be proud of, he said. “Those students who receive awards tonight are examples of those who persevere in spite of the challenges they face – they can be proud of their achievements.”

Staff also received a few awards to honour excellence in teaching and research. Dr Derek Yu was declared Teacher of the Year, with Dr Johan Breytenbach named Emergent Lecturer of the Year, and Prof Andy Heng-Hsing Hsieh walking away with the award for Researcher of the Year. In addition, the entire Academic Development Department was awarded the well-deserved title of Department of the Year.

“These awards acknowledge both the students and the lecturers and academic staff,” explained EMS Tutor Coordinator, Megan Bam, the MC for the Awards. “The lecturers have a huge responsibility, sending out the next crop of business leaders in South Africa. And the students have a huge responsibility, too: one day when we're old, you will be the ones making sure this country stays stable.”

While it takes an exceptional student to make it to the Dean's Merit List, some students still managed to stand out amongst this exceptional bunch. For the students, the top honours were as follows:

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1st Year Students:

  1. Wikus Botha (BAdmin)

  2. Vernon Hanslo (BCom Accounting)

  3. Gakeem Johaardien (BCom Accounting)

2nd Year Students

  1. Rhondeline Williams (BAdmin)

  2. Xiangyan Zhou (BCom)

  3. Luthando Mzilikazi (BCom)

3rd Year Students

  1. Arshud Musa (BCom)

  2. Stacy Small (BCom)

  3. Bernhard McGregor (BCom)

Extended 4-Year Programme

  1. Themba Mbangata (Foundation 1st & 2nd Year) BCom Gen 4 year

  2. Shadeon Hansen (3rd Year) BCom Gen 4 year

  3. Bilqees Green (4th Year) BCom Gen 4 year


  1. Francis Chiparawasha (BCom Honours Economics)


  1. Winnie Sambu (MEcon)