Top Scholars in South Africa Honoured

Twenty 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 10 October 2018.

As the official Academy of South Africa, ASSAf has as core function 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.

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.

The 20 new ASSAf Members bring the total Membership of ASSAf to 559.

At the same time ten new members of the South African Young Academy of Science (SAYAS) were inaugurated.

SAYAS was launched in October 2011 as a means to enable South Africa’s young scientists to fully participate in local and internationally relevant research and development agendas.

It 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. 

SAYAS members are young scientists below the age of 40, have PhDs and are deemed excellent in their fields of expertise. SAYAS members come from all disciplines including pure and applied sciences, humanities, social sciences and the arts.

The new ASSAf Members are:

Prof Montaz Ali is Professor in the School of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).

Prof Lyn-Marie Birkholtz is Professor in Biochemistry at the University of Pretoria (UP) and holds a Department of Science and Technology/National Research Foundation (DST/NRF) South African Research Chair in Sustainable Malaria Control at the same institution.

Prof Juanita Bornman is both Professor and Director of the Centre for Augmentative and Alternative Communication at UP.

Prof Daniel Bradlow holds the DST/NRF South African Research Chair in International Development Law and African Economic Relations at UP.

Prof Basil Brooke is Head: Vector Control Reference Laboratory at the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and Professor, Research Institute for Malaria, Wits.

Prof Kelly Chibale is a Professor of Organic Chemistry at the University of Cape Town (UCT) and a Full Member of the UCT Institute of Infectious Disease & Molecular Medicine.

Prof Margaret Chitiga-Mabugu is the Director of the School of Public Management and Administration, UP.

Prof Mark Cotton is the Director of the Children’s Infectious Diseases Clinical Research Unit at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Tygerberg Children’s Hospital.

Prof Michael Davies-Coleman is Professor Emeritus and Dean of Natural Sciences and Professor of Chemistry, University of the Western Cape.

Prof Erika de Wet holds the DST/NRF South African Research Chair in International Constitutional Law in the Faculty of Law, UP.

Prof Rangan Gupta is a Professor at the Department of Economics, University of Pretoria.

Prof Chaudry Khalique is Professor of Applied Mathematics at North-West University.

Prof Lise Korsten is the Co-Director in the DST Centre of Excellence Food Security. She is also the Head of Plant Pathology in the Department of Plant and Soil Science at UP.

Prof Helena Kuivaniemi is Professor in the Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Stellenbosch University (SU).

Prof Virna Leaner is Professor in the Division of Medical Biochemistry, Faculty of Health Sciences, UCT.

Prof Kevin Naidoo holds the DST/NRF South African Research Chair in Scientific Computing and is Director of the Scientific Computing Research Unit, Chemistry Department, UCT.

Prof Jan Neels is Distinguished Professor of International Commercial Law, University of Johannesburg (UJ).

Prof Charles Ngwena is Professor at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, UP.

Prof João Rodrigues is Head of School of Physics, Wits and Director of the Centre for Theoretical Physics at the same institution.

Prof Marissa Rollnick is Professor Emeritus at the Wits School of Education.


The ten new SAYAS members are:

Dr Fanelwa Ajayi is a Senior Lecturer at the Chemistry Department and a research leader at the Enzyme Sensor Laboratory, SensorLab at the University of the Western Cape. 

Dr Tatenda Dalu is a Senior Lecturer, Department of Ecology and Resource Management at the University of Venda.

Dr Sarah Fawcett is a Lecturer in the Department of Oceanography at UCT.

Dr Samson Khene is a Senior Lecturer in Physical Chemistry at Rhodes University.

Dr Pradeep Kumar is a Senior Lecturer of Pharmaceutics Wits Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, and a Senior Researcher at the Wits Advanced Drug Delivery Platform.

Dr Nhlanhla Mpofu is Director for Teaching, Learning and Programme Development as well as a Senior Lecturer at Sol Plaatje University.

Prof Fulufhelo Nemavhola is an Associate Professor and Head of Department in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at the University of South Africa.

Dr Tozama Qwebani-Ogunleye is Project Manager of Dihlare Pty Ltd. based at the Vaal University of Technology.

Dr Amy Slograve is a Senior Lecturer at SU, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences in the Department of Paediatrics and Child Health and is based at the Ukwanda Centre for Rural Health in Worcester, South Africa.

Dr Leyla Tavernaro-Haidarian is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Communication at UJ.