University of the Witwatersrand

The University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, also known as Wits University, is a leading, internationally-ranked, research-intensive university located in Johannesburg, South Africa, the economic heartland of Africa. Committed to academic and research excellence and social justice, Wits generates high level scarce skills for a globally competitive world, while addressing local social and economic development. At the forefront of a changing society, Wits is a social leader, dedicated to advancing the public good.

Wits is known for its work in deep level mining, science, health sciences, accountancy, law, governance, and the humanities, amongst others. It houses five faculties which comprise 34 schools. Wits offers approximately 3 600 courses to about 32 500 full-time students, of whom about a third are postgraduate and 55% are female. Almost 65% of all doctoral candidates and about half of all enrolments are in the Science, Engineering and Technology fields. Wits has developed about 130 000 graduates in its 93 years of existence. It has a proud record in that about 87% of all publications are in accredited international journals.


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Journalists Thami Mazwai, left, and Jon Qwelane before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s special hearing on the media. They accused the white-owned press of colluding with apartheid. Reuters

Media feel pressure as divisions widen on the role of journalists in South Africa

South Africa seems more divided than ever on the media, as the governing ANC revives plans for a dreaded tribunal many fear would muzzle the press.
A billboard campaigning against crude oil theft. Nigeria is under pressure from falling oil prices and China’s economic slowdown. Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye

What Nigeria can do to weather low oil prices and slow economic growth

How should Nigeria weather yet another episode of oil price shock? This time it's likely to be worsened by two events of significant global effect.
Initiates undergoing the traditional passage to manhood in Qunu, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa. Many either die or get maimed during the winter practice. Reuters/Siegfried Modola

Changes in gender norms are making initiation safer for South African boys

The practices around the traditional passage to manhood in South Africa are changing and beginning to encompass women as family patterns change. But, there are mixed feelings about the changes.
A painting from Botha’s Shelter in the Ndedema Gorge in the Drakensburg, said to be home to a rich tapestry of San art and life. Wits University Press

An enigmatic theme in San rock paintings is finally unlocked

Formlings are representations of flying termites and their underground nests. They are associated with botantical subjects considered by the San to have great spiritual significance.
Women wait in line to fill buckets from a communal clean tap in Masiphumelele, Cape Town, South Africa. The country has extremely high levels of inequality. Nic Bothma/Reuters

Why inequality will not be fixed with Pikettian posturing and distorted data

Thomas Piketty's visit reminds us of the need to reconsider South African inequality-fibbery. His inequality critique is vital, but only if it can withstand the neoliberal embrace.
A view of Alexandra township, a slum overlooking the Sandton skyscrapers in Johannesburg. Addressing inequality has been a major challenge for South Africa. Reuters/Juda Ngwenya

Piketty’s contribution to unpacking inequality: timely and relevant

Will Thomas Piketty's visit to South Africa trigger the rewriting of the country's recent economic history? His analysis and ideas on how to address inequality are hard to ignore.
The Global South is engineering new anti-poverty strategies, leaving traditional left analysts in a quandry. Reuters/Nacho Doce

The study of inequality has been mainstreamed – what now for the left?

Could the surge of worker and popular resistance worldwide provide the global trade union movement with an opportunity to take the lead in developing a broad coalition of social forces?
The Economic Freedom Fighters’ entry into parliament is the most dramatic example of political realignment in South Africa. Reuters/Skyler Reid

Why South Africa is primed for fundamental political realignment

The Marikana massacre of 2012 triggered strikes across South Africa and political realignment. But could this, and the formation of the United Front to rival the ANC, have long-term significance?
French economist and author Thomas Piketty. His book on inequality has lessons for developing economies such as South Africa. EPA/Bart Maat

What South Africa can learn from Piketty about addressing inequality

Inequality remains one of South Africa's major problems. Thomas Piketty's visit to the country provides an opportunity to explore ways to deal with this problem.
Africa needs to utilise different kinds of capital to grow its entrepreneurs. Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote relied on family savings to start his businesses. Reuters/Denis Balibouse

How Africa can instil entrepreneurship as a tool of development

Innovators and entrepreneurs will ensure that Africa continues to grow. But they need to be nurtured to lead the development.
Dung beetle rolling in the shade. Marcus Byrne

Five things dung beetles do with a piece of poo

Dung beetles have been cleaning up the planet for at least 65 million years. The 6000 species across the world have adapted to a life at the back end of the food chain in the most remarkable ways.

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