South African academic elected to top council

first_imgProf Malegapuru Makgoba has been elected vice-president of the International Council for Science. (Image: University of KwaZulu-Natal) MEDIA CONTACTS • Smita Maharaj  Director: Communications   Corporate Relations Division  University of KwaZulu-Natal  +27 31 260 4447RELATED ARTICLES • Space science thriving in South Africa • South African women lead the way in science • Pharma conference debuts in Africa • Home-grown nutrition research • Research centre for African oceans Wilma den HartighSouth Africa’s Prof Malegapuru Makgoba has been elected vice-president of the International Council for Science (ICSU), one of the most prestigious international bodies of its kind in the world.“I feel humbled and inspired to be given such an opportunity,” says Makgoba, vice-chancellor of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).The professor, who is a trained physician and an internationally recognised molecular immunologist, says his new position will give him significant exposure to other respected scientists and scientific disciplines.“What I find exciting about the work is meeting highly motivated and talented scientists from all over the world,” he says.Although his main area of interest has always been basic science and health, he says the position will allow him to explore new areas of science. “It will enable me to broaden my horizons in science. I think it is going to be an enriching experience,” he adds.His involvement with the ICSU will also promote South Africa’s participation in scientific matters of global concern. “As a country, we can play a major role in shaping the future of global science research collaboration and influence science policy,” he says.The International Council for ScienceUtilising science to find solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges is a core focus of the council.The ICSU, which is one of the oldest non-governmental organisations in the world, was established to promote international scientific activity with the emphasis on research outcomes that will benefit humanity.The council has a global membership of national scientific bodies and international scientific unions.The organisation identifies issues of importance to science and society, provides an enabling research environment for scientists across all disciplines and promotes the participation of scientists in international research projects.Makgoba will serve as vice-president for three years. In this time, he is required to attend a minimum of two international ICSU meetings in Paris each year. He will also be involved in the planning of international interdisciplinary scientific programmes and a review of current global research.His position as vice-president is a voluntary service to the ICSU, and he will continue to perform his duties as vice-chancellor of the UKZN. “It is all voluntary work, but I look forward to it because it is giving back to science what science has given to me,” he says.Science to benefit peopleMakgoba has already attended his first meeting of the ICSU and the General Assembly has identified two new global scientific research projects.The “Health and Wellbeing in the Changing Environment” project will draw on the expertise of an interdisciplinary team of researchers to investigate the complex effects of urban and migratory patterns on human health and wellbeing.The outcomes of this particular project will be of major importance for individuals, policy formation and governments worldwide, as it looks at the growing urbanisation trend in the world.According to the UN, 50% of populations in developing countries will live in urban areas by 2020. Although Africa is predominantly rural, it is considered to be the continent with the fastest rate of urbanisation.By 2030 both Asia and Africa will have higher numbers of urban residents than any other major area of the world.UN figures quoted in a report of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reveal that 70% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2050, with the percentage rising to 86 for people in OECD countries.He says that urbanisation has far-reaching impacts on health, culture and how human beings define their identities.“It is a highly relevant topic in a changing world environment and raises many questions about urban wellbeing and health. The study will investigate the challenges and find potential solutions for the urbanisation trend,” he says.Another project on the agenda is the Earth Systems Sustainability Initiative, which will research the impact of global change on the earth, people and the capacity of the earth to sustain life on the planet.“The main focus of this ongoing research is on the unprecedented human-induced global change and the threat to society and human wellbeing worldwide. Climate change and biodiversity loss are just two examples,” he said in a statement.Contributions to scienceMakgoba has made other major contributions to the advancement of health and science in South Africa.His research as a molecular immunologist has made it possible to identify and understand cell surface molecules and genes important in the human immune system’s response.He is also a leading scientist in HIV vaccine research, he has served on the leadership team of the South African Aids Vaccine Initiative and he is the founding chair of the UNAids-World Health Organisation African Aids Vaccine Programme.Makgoba, who is also a member of the National Planning Commission and special advisor to the minister of science and technology, has received numerous awards, including fellowships at both the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine and the Royal College of Physicians of London.He is a founding member of the Academy of Science of South Africa and a foreign associate of the Institute of Medicine of the US Academies of Science.In addition to various accolades for his work, Makgoba was the 2011 recipient of the National Research Foundation President’s Lifetime Achievement award.last_img read more

South Africa remembers Nelson Mandela

first_img19 November 2014 Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula launches the Unite4Mandela campaign. (Image: Unite4Mandela)Several events to remember Nelson Mandela are lined up as 5 December, the day the world icon passed away, approaches.On Saturday, 22 November, the Union Buildings in Pretoria will host a Departments of Arts and Culture Unite 2.0 campaign in honour of Mandela. The event will include 67 artists and comedians who will entertain thousands of people expected to flock to Union Buildings on the day.Music concertThe Union Buildings’ South Lawns will host a music concert featuring some of South Africa’s greatest artists. Crowds will be entertained by Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Lira, the Parlotones, Kurt Darren, the Mahotella Queens, Zakes Bantwini, Sibongile Khumalo, AKA, Beatenberg, Sifiso Ncwane, Naima Mclean, Phuzekhemisi, Zahara, Karen Zoid, Desmond and the Tutus, Zandile Mzazi, Supreme I Crew, Botlhale, Kryptonite, Gcina Mhlope, Di Tswina Tsa Ngwao and Mzwake Mbuli.The free concert starts at 12noon and will run until 7pm.Speaking about the arts and culture program, Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said his department has been delegated with the special responsibility to lead and coordinate programs on nation building and social cohesion.“We believe this event contributes to the significant initiative to uphold the legacy and promote the values of the late former President and international icon, Tat’ uNelson Mandela. As Arts and Culture, we are privileged to have leadership role and appreciate our partnership with Sports and Recreation,’ he said.Sporting activitiesOn top of the musical and comedy entertainment, this year’s affair will include sporting activities including a cycling and athletics competitions. Amateur and professional sportsmen are welcome to enter the athletics competitions which will be graced by #Unite4Mandela ambassadors including Comrades Marathon legend Bruce Fordyce; Ironman and 1991 Comrades winner Nick Bester; and 2012 and 2014 Comrades Marathon winners Ludwick Mamabolo and Bongumusa Mthembu.The prize monies for the 27km road race will also be as attractive. Both male and female winners of the race will pocket R150 000, with those coming in second getting R100 000 and third place winners will walk away with R50 000. On the other hand, the winner of the 9.4km run will receive R40 000, while the 9.4km walk winner will get R20 000.The 27km road run will start at 6.30am, the 9.4km race starts at 6.45am and the 5km Fun Walk will start at 7am. The Union buildings will be the starting point for all these races.The cycling competition will see professional cyclists like Daryl Impey, Chris Froome and Cherise Stander enter the fray to compete with TV personalities, politicians, comedians and musicians for top honours. This race will start off at Loftus Stadium at 6am and finish the Union Buildings.The 67km cycling race winners, in both male and female categories, will receive a whopping R250 000, second-placed riders will get R150 000, while third-place riders will pocket R100 000.Nelson Mandela Legacy CupThen there is the Nelson Mandela Legacy Cup taking place on 5 December at the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg. On this occasion, the Blue Label Telecoms Proteas will clash with the Springboks T20 match.Organised by the Cricket South Africa (CSA), the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the South African Rugby Union (SARU), proceeds of the match will go to the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The Proteas and Springbok team management have promised to play their best available players on the day.Everybody will cherish last year’s match between the Proteas and Springboks in Cape Town when a sell-out crowd enjoyed the rivalry between these two national teams, according to CSA Chief Executive, Haroon Lorgat. “With this match eagerly anticipated by sports fans around the country, we are expecting the same enjoyment from fans who make their way to the Bidvest Wanderers Stadium,’ he said.Jurie Roux, CEO of SARU said the passing of Madiba affected all South Africans and left the nation with a duty to continue his legacy.“He worked tirelessly to bring people together from different communities and in a small way this sporting celebration of his contribution to South Africa does that in a symbolic way. The fact that a donation will be made to his Foundation is our contribution to continuing that work.“The Springboks really enjoyed last year’s encounter and I know that meetings of the selectors have already taken place,’ said Roux.It will not only be cricket only on the day. though. Fans will be entertained by top local artists and fans will be afforded a chance to collect some rare autographs from their favourite players. For those feeling lucky, they can enter the popular Hit a Six competition which be held after the match.Tickets for the T20 match are available from the Ticketpros website and range from R90 to R200.Nelson Mandela ChallengeOn 30 November, the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge featuring high-riding Bafana Bafana and a guest national team take place at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit. This year Bafana Bafana will play host to West African giants Ivory Coast and kickoff time has been set at 3pm.Initiated in 1994 when South Africa attained democracy, the Nelson Mandela Challenge is an annual football tournament aimed at raising money for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. In 2013 Bafana Bafana played Nigeria and lost the match 0-2 to the Super Eagles.SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

The Truth About Telling the Truth

first_imgThe client had a major problem. They weren’t achieving the outcomes they needed, and they were entering a critical stage, one in which it was imperative that they obtain the outcomes their clients needed.The first reason this company was not obtaining the results they needed was driven by the fact they selected a partner who wasn’t strategic enough. This supplier lacked the core competencies and capabilities to help them. This was a good company, they simply had the wrong business model for this particular client.The second reason they were failing was that they weren’t spending enough money.A Case of UnderinvestingDuring our first meeting, I explained to the CEO and his Chief Operating Officer that they were underinvesting in the outcome they needed. I explained to them that in order to reach their goals, they would have to spend an additional million dollars over 12 months. That was the required investment based on their current situation.After meeting with me, this company decided to meet with a competitor. That competitor provided conflicting information. Where I had recommended they spend $1 million, my competitor recommended they spend $500,000, not an insignificant amount of money. Naturally, they wanted to believe a $500,000 investment would achieve the results they needed. They accepted my competitor’s recommendation, and they rejected mine.One week later, I received an email from someone on the operations team literally begging for help with this set of data points that indicated that the $500,000 investment was not working.The TruthYou do not serve your clients by allowing them to underinvest in the results they need. You do not serve your clients by telling them what they want to hear, especially when it comes to what is necessary to produce results, whether those things are money, time, energy, or real changes. You don’t serve your clients by avoiding uncomfortable conversations.If you really want to help people, tell them the truth, not what you believe they want to hear so that you can win an opportunity only to fail the client. The truth about telling the truth is that it won’t always win your business in the short run. But it will help you with the long game.last_img read more