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Nelson Mandela University

Nelson Mandela University, as a dynamic African University, is committed to excellence and innovation, and fostering a pioneering and inventive spirit among our students and scholars. It is a University that acts as a social laboratory for experimentation, innovation and creativity to find answers to epic challenges facing society and the economy today.

NMU recently established and launched a number of research hubs such as the Centre for Broadband Communication to conduct pioneering research around optical fibre data transport for the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope; an innovation hub to support small business in Port Elizabeth and beyond; a Centre for African Palaeoscience; and a Research Chair in Earth Systems Science. More exciting is the development currently underway of a range of new maritime and marine education and training, research, innovation and engagement programmes to support South Africa and the continent’s blue economy initiatives.

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Displaying 1 - 20 of 104 articles

South Africa’s Constitutional Court is considered the bedrock of the country’s democratic order. Here it is in session in 2019. Photo by Alon Skuy/Sowetan/Gallo Images via Getty Images

South Africa’s 1994 ‘miracle’: what’s left?

The growing defence of South Africa’s beleaguered constitutional democracy is bolstered by African thinker Mahmood Mamdani’s latest book.
These fossil trackways resemble the tracks left by flamingos today, but are bigger. Just above the scale bar one can see (more faintly) the ‘tramline traces’ made by the ancient birds’ stomping action. Charles Helm

Fossil tracks reveal which birds once roamed South Africa’s Cape south coast

One avian track, probably made by a large gull or a small goose, was found in sediments that have been dated to about 400,000 years. That makes it the oldest avian track reported from southern Africa.
Reptile, avian and mammal tracks and Middle Stone Age artefacts on a large track bearing surface which has since been buried by a landslide. Images modified from Helm, et al. 2020. South African Journal of Science, 116

Fossil track sites tell the story of ancient crocodiles in southern Africa

While crocodylian fossil swim traces have been described from other continents, to the best of our knowledge the examples we describe are the first such reptilian swim traces from Africa.
A rock surface containing a circular pattern with a central depression. The scale bar = 10 cm. Images modified from: Helm, C.W.; Cawthra, H.C.; De Vynck, J.C.; Helm, C.J.; Rust, R.; Stear. W. Patterns in the Sand: A Pleistocene hominin signature along the South African coastline? Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association (2019)

Ancient humans may have made patterns and sculptures on South Africa’s beaches

Given that we know humans moved across these landscapes, we wondered whether there might also be evidence of other forms of human activity on these surfaces of sand.

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