(Published - 2 July 2019)
The University of the Western Cape is proud of producing graduates with sufficient depth in their discipline and extensive breadth in deploying the range of skills that 21st century society demands.
“Universities aren’t just places where young people learn the skills they need to find their way in a complicated world, and earn a living, build a career, and so forth,” says Professor Tyrone Pretorius, UWC’s Rector and Vice-Chancellor. “They’re also places where young people learn about themselves, and find the purpose and drive to change that world, and gift it in turn to the next generation of world-changers.”
The annual Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans list celebrates these world-changing young leaders in every field - from gambling regulation to nuclear physics. This year six seven of the names on that list are UWC graduates.
EDIT: When we first put this list together, we thought there were five UWC alumni on the list...but we underestimated our own strength, and somehow overlooked a few of UWC’s serious success stories - and Denisha Anand and Eveshnie Reddy are not exactly easy to overlook. We’ve fixed that now, though. So without further ado....
Eveshnie Reddy, Class Of 2019 (And Counting)Law Lecturer, UNISA
In an ever-more-connected world fuelled by rapid technological advances, cybercrime never sleeps - and the risks these crimes pose to individuals, corporations, government and entire countries only continue to grow. Eveshnie Reddy wants to do something about that.
Economically harmful cybercrime and the criminogenic risks of cryptocurrencies are her speciality as a lecturer in the School of Criminal Justice, College of Law at Unisa. A fierce orator on the challenges, opportunities and risks of cryptocurrency, she’s spoken about its risks at conferences around the world. And like cybercrime, Reddy won’t rest on her laurels. She is currently pursuing doctoral studies in mercantile law at UWC, investigating the regulation of cryptocurrencies, a technology she believes has great potential to assist the unbanked.
“My current research areas – cybercrime, internet surveillance technologies and the regulation of crypto assets – require me to delve into computer science, economics, law and criminology. Every research project is a new learning adventure,” she says. “And since cyber crime is constantly evolving and cyber criminals are always trying new ways to outthink us, the adventure never ends.”
Learn more about Eveshnie Reddy: https://200youngsouthafricans.co.za/eveshnie-justice-2019/
Senamile Masango, Class Of 2018 (And Counting):Nuclear Physicist, STEM Ambassador
For physicists, working at the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) is the dream - and for Senamile Masango, it’s one that’s already come true. She was part of one of the first African-led experiments at the most powerful laboratory in the world. Since then, she’s received her master’s in nuclear physics from UWC (cum laude, naturally), addressed President Cyril Ramaphosa on the challenges faced by young scientists, and become one of South Africa’s successful young female black scientists. She’s also founder and chairperson of Women in Science and Engineering in Africa (Wise Africa), an NGO that provides leadership and role models for young people wishing to enter the fields of science and technology.
“The biggest challenge for me within this field is being a woman. You have to prove yourself first; that you can do it and that you belong here,” she says. “But I believe we can rise to the challenge. I will work hard and ensure that I excel — I want to break every barrier so that I am not limited.”
Learn more about Senamile: https://200youngsouthafricans.co.za/senamile-science-2019/
Denisha Anand, Class Of 2015 (And Counting):Environmental Educator, Researcher
Wherever they may be, people will always have a deep affinity for the natural environment. That belief has driven Denisha Anand to strive to create safe spaces in which people can coexist with both nature and each other. Having earned her BSc Hons in Botany from UWC, where she’s currently doing her Masters in Indigenous Plant knowledge systems(Anthropology this time), Anand is an active player in the transformation of the environmental education and conservation sector. She takes a radical people-centred approach to conservation. Through her work as an educator, researcher, and manager of a biodiversity agreement site at the Princess Vlei Wetlands on the Cape Flats, she is teaching a new generation a way to take responsibility for nature, and reframe the way they see themselves.
“A connection to nature is something we’re all born with,” she says. “Although our socioeconomic status may have an impact on how available natural spaces are to us, if we are given the opportunity to re-engage communities with these spaces by increasing accessibility and using methods that foster reconnection and custodianship, we can truly create socio-ecological webs that will preserve and conserve biodiversity for years to come.”Learn more about Denisha Anand: https://200youngsouthafricans.co.za/denisha-environment-2019/
Warren Lucas, Class Of 2015:
Sports Scientist, Lecturer, Researcher
Sports scientist Warren Lucas holds a master’s degree in sports science as well as an Honours and a BA from UWC. He is currently enrolled for a PhD at the University of Cape Town while working for the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC) doing statistical and data analysis, publishing articles and coordinating research. As if that’s not enough, he is also a lecturer at the Exercise Teachers Academy in Cape Town, chairperson of the Cape Town Gymnastics Association, and an executive committee member of the Foundation for Sport, Development and Peace. Lucas also started a research company, the Sport Research Association, which facilitates sport research among Western Cape sport codes and postgraduate students in sport, exercise and management sciences.
“I started this company because of my passion to discover. In South Africa there is not enough research available on areas like how sports is used in schools,” he says. That passion motivates him to work tirelessly. “I love what I do. Being a sports scientist for me is like a calling.”
Learn more about Warren: https://200youngsouthafricans.co.za/warren-lucas-health-2019/
Chuma Fani Class Of 2013:
Chairperson, Western Cape Cultural Commission
As a board member for the Western Cape gambling and racing board and chairperson of the Western Cape cultural commission, policy developer Chuma Fani plays an important role in helping to ensure good governance and sound decision-making in these institutions. Her responsibilities include the development of capacity-building workshops, adjudication over industry matters, consideration of policy development issues and developing arts and culture in the Western Cape. She helps to develop and implement policies to attract foreign investors and provide an enabling environment for domestic manufacturing. She’s also an aspiring businesswoman, having founded media company Dominoe Pictures to harness the talents of young people to solve the world’s problems.
“My passion lies beyond just developing and implementing policy – it entails improving governance, reforming public institutions and extending consultation to all involved stakeholders in policy making to help shape a better governance system and build a better economy,” says the (BAdmin) graduate from UWC. “My goal is for the next generation of leaders to follow my pattern and apply ethics in all that they do.”
Learn more about Chuma: https://200youngsouthafricans.co.za/chuma-fani-politics-2019/
Bilal Osman Latib, Class Of 2011:
Legal Counsel, Investec Asset Management Proprietary Limited
Born in the small Limpopo town of Tzaneen, Bilal Osman Latib graduated from law school at UWC, and initially anticipated a courtroom career. Some activism and some invitations from key individuals in the investment field, however, enabled him to divert into banking and finance law. Now he works for the Emerging Africa Infrastructure Fund, where he plays a key role in directing foreign investments into vital infrastructure developments across Africa, from bulk water systems in Rwanda to hydro power plants in Uganda.
“I’ve experienced firsthand the impact these projects have on people,” he says. “I think everyone wants Africa to be a success story and would like to be part of a movement for positive change. Now that I am involved in something that excites me, my plan for the future is to hopefully say I’ve advised on a deal in every country in Africa, grown my role as the business develops and continued to be part of a unique organisation that is committed to making responsible investments.”
Learn more about Bilal: https://200youngsouthafricans.co.za/bilal-justice-2019/
Dr Sharief Hendricks, Class of 2006:
Senior Lecturer, University of Cape Town
For Dr Moegamat Sharief Hendricks, sport was a childhood passion - one that he’s turned into a successful career, focused on measurably improving the performance, injury prevention and holistic welfare of athletes. He began his academic career with a BSc in Sport and Exercise Science at UWC, completed his PhD in 2012 and already has over 50 publications to his name. Today Hendricks is a senior lecturer at UCT and a visiting fellow at Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom, a co-lead/co-investigator on international World Rugby projects, and a member of SASCOC’s Sport Science, Technology and Research Commission.
“The supervisory work we do is rooted in the applied sciences – our work with people that is not confined to a lab,” he says. “I am interested in teaching students to be able to question even their own knowledge, and this often means being open to be proven wrong – as to disprove is oftentimes the best way to learn – that is how we build expertise.”
Learn more about Dr Hendricks: https://200youngsouthafricans.co.za/sharief-sports-2019/
Do you know of any more UWC graduates or students or staff whose stories deserve to be told? Well, sharing is caring - so just let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org, so we can let the rest of the world know how UWC is changing the world!