Unisa scholars honoured as South Africa's top scientists

Forty-three of the country’s leading scholars and scientists were inaugurated as members of the Academy of Science of South Africa (ASSAf) at the annual awards ceremony on 20 October 2021.

New members are elected each year by the full existing membership. Membership of the academy is a great honour and is in recognition of scholarly achievement. Members are the core asset of the academy and give of their time and expertise voluntarily in the service of society.

Of the 43 newly elected ASSAf members, seven are from Unisa. They are:

Unisa scholars honoured as South Africa's top scientists. Top, from left: Prof Kerstin Jordaan, Prof Willem Fouché, Prof Xinying Liu, Prof Norma Romm
Bottom, from left: Prof Monnye Mabelebele, Prof Jeanne Kriek, Prof Ashley van Niekerk and Dr Moshawe Jack Madito

  • Prof Willem Fouché (Department of Decision Sciences)
  • Prof Kerstin Jordaan (Department of Decision Sciences)
  • Prof Jeanne Kriek (Department of Physics)
  • Prof Xinying Liu (Institute for the Development of Energy for African Sustainability)
  • Prof Madipoane Masenya (Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies)
  • Prof Norma Romm (Department of Adult Education and Youth Development)
  • Prof Ashley van Niekerk (Institute for Social and Health Sciences)

In addition, Prof Monnye Mabelebele (Department of Agriculture and Animal Health) and Dr Moshawe Jack Madito (Institute for Nanotechnology and Water Sustainability) were elected as members of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS).

Prof Madipoane Masenya

ASSAf was inaugurated in May 1996 by the former President of South Africa and patron of the Academy, Nelson Mandela. It was formed in response to the need for an academy of science congruent with the dawn of democracy in South Africa – an activist in its mission of using science for the benefit of society.

The mandate of ASSAf encompasses all fields of scientific enquiry and includes the full diversity of South Africa’s distinguished scientists. As the official national academy of science in South Africa, it represents the country in the international community of science academies.

Part of ASSAf’s mission is to recognise scholarly achievement and excellence in the application of scientific thinking for the benefit of society; mobilise members to ensure that they are available to contribute their expertise in the service of society as well as to honour the country’s most outstanding scholars by electing them to membership of the academy. ASSAf Members are drawn from the full spectrum of disciplines.

The mission of SAYAS is to enable South Africa’s young scientists to fully participate in local and internationally relevant research and development agendas. The initiative provides a national platform where leading young scientists from all disciplines in the country can interact, and also access international networking and career development opportunities.

Elected members are young scientists below the age of 40, have PhDs and are deemed excellent in their fields of expertise.

The ASSAf and SAYAS honour and validate Unisa’s contribution to the knowledge and information society. Unisa scholars continue to advance development through impactful research.

* By Tshimangadzo Mphaphuli, Senior Journalist, Department of Institutional Advancement

Publish date: 2021-10-25 00:00:00.0