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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A young man wearing an African National Congress shirt joins in student protests in South Africa. Party politics and student politics shouldn’t mix. Reuters/Sydney Seshibedi

Why student leaders should be elected on merit, not party affiliation

It's time to change how student representatives are elected at South Africa's universities. The existing process gives far too much space and power to political parties.
President Jacob Zuma took over as leader of the ANC with a promise to reconnect the party with the people. His legacy suggests otherwise. Reuters/Sumaya Hisham

Jacob Zuma likes to be cast as a man of the people – but is he?

Judged by general citizen sentiment expressed at the grassroots, Jacob Zuma has failed to bring the ANC closer to the people. Research shows substantial alienation between the ANC and communities.
Producing brilliant graduates is one thing – developing and nurturing those who want to remain in academia is quite another. Jason Reed/Reuters

Universities must rethink how they retain and nurture young academics

Universities in South Africa have tried to "grow their own timber" in a bid to diversify staff bodies. These programs haven't been wildly successful. Why, and what can be done differently?
Ejuba, the drone that was used to research the effectiveness of the cargo-carrying drones, is now being used to transport medical supplies. Supplied

How drones can improve healthcare delivery in developing countries

Drones could provide an essential cargo-carrying service in rural areas where there are fewer clinics, less healthcare workers and limited transport services.
A Kenyan woman does a financial transaction using her mobile phone. Africaknows/Joshua Wanyama

Why financial inclusion needs a new frontier – asset building

Financial inclusion has so far focused on enhancing a poor person’s cash flow. But it needs to involve more. Not enough consideration is given to encouraging poor people to build assets.
For the first time in a long time, South Africans are hearing stories about those who have been silenced. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Student protests give South Africans a glimpse into hidden lives

Student protests in South Africa, as well as an unrelated clash between lawyers, have offered a chance for the country to hear voices that are usually marginalised.
The Angolan government failed to use revenues when the oil price was high to tackle massive social and economic challenges. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Why Luanda’s residents are asking: where did all the oil riches go?

As the oil price crisis deepens, Angolans are beginning to ask what actually happened to the glut of oil dollars. Very little has come from the oil boom of 2004-14.
Thousands of students from the University of the Witwatersrand demonstrate during protests against fee increases which have spread to other major universities in the country. EPA/Kim Ludbrook

Q&A: Young scientists say wealth tax could aid tertiary funding troubles

Innovative new forms of funding must be pursued to address the higher education challenges in South Africa.
The fight for lower or no university fees should be taken beyond campuses to places where South Africa’s financial elite rule. Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Only pressure on South Africa’s elites can ease university fee stress

The next step in South African students' fight against high university fees could be taken beyond campuses. The final battle will be fought at the country's National Treasury and Reserve Bank.
A student at Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand sums up the motive for ongoing campus protests. Pontsho Pilane/The Daily Vox

Fee protests point to a much deeper problem at South African universities

South Africa's higher education sector is dramatically underfunded. Polite conversations between vice-chancellors and the government have failed. It's time the voices of student activists was heard.
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.

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