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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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Researchers crack the conundrum about why African Baobab trees in southern Africa differ in terms of fruit production. Sarah Venter

The sex organs of baobab flowers may solve the puzzle of trees that bear more fruit

Baobab flowers have male and female parts but individual trees appear to be favouring one rather than the other. To keep tree populations healthy and fruitful, both types are needed.
The late, legendary percussionist Mabi Thobejane pictured in 2018. MELT 2000/Forest Jam Southern Africa

The magnificent Mabi Thobejane, master South African drummer

He did not so much play the drums, as become the drum. His influence was felt through his trailblazing percussive work and his many collaborations.
A woman sweeps outside her shack in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. South Africa is among the most unequal societies in the world. Getty Images

Book calls for a rethink of capitalism amid the ravages of COVID-19

Rethinking capitalism requires that the primary focus should be on the distribution of economic power as the potential leading causal factor driving inequality.
Water flows from the Vaal Dam after several sluice gates were opened in February 2021. Heavy rains in the Gauteng province resulted in a spike in dam levels. Deaan Vivier/ via GettyImages

Why full dams don’t mean water security: a look at South Africa

Gauteng citizens need to know the uncomfortable truth: for the next six years, their water supplies will increasingly have to be restricted.
White River Primary school in South Africa, sponsored by Coca Cola. Roo Reynolds/Flickr

South Africa must ban sugary drinks sales in schools. Self regulation is failing

A ban on sugary drinks sale and advertisements in schools is likely to hold more promise in improving the diets of children and help prevent obesity in children than voluntary actions.
Zim Ngqawana (1959-2011) on saxophone leading his Zimology Quartet in New York, 2008. Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

Remembering Zim Ngqawana 10 years on, a singular force in South African music

Despite devastating setbacks like his studio being vandalised, the saxophonist and teacher believed that music can heal - part of a vision that shaped a future generation of jazz artists.
Fossils of Shuvuuia deserti depict a small predatory creature with exceptional night vision and hearing. Mick Ellison/American Natural History Museum

Nocturnal dinosaurs: Night vision and superb hearing in a small theropod suggest it was a moonlight predator

By looking at the eye bones and ear canals of extinct dinosaurs, researchers show that a small ancient predator likely hunted at night and had senses as good as a modern barn owl.
The pandemic has driven university students’ stress levels up as they grapple with remote learning. thembi.jpg/Shutterstock/For editorial use only

How the pandemic is hurting university students’ mental health

Ultimately, these studies will help us to make sense of how the pandemic is reshaping higher education.

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