Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: PhD Physiology student at Mandela University Itumeleng Zosela is one of four South African students that have been accepted to join the Novartis and University of Basel Next Generation Scientist Internship Program in Switzerland over three months from June to August 2023.

Pollen is one of the most powerful tools for reconstructing environmental change because it is perfectly preserved in sediments for as long as plants have been on Earth.

Top achievers in Forestry, Wood Technology and Veldfire Management were recognised for their excellence in the Diploma and Higher Certificate studies at a special awards ceremony recently held on George Campus in conjunction with the George graduation ceremony. 

South Africa and seemingly the rest of the world is experiencing a shortage of software developers.

With a powerful biorefinery to process microalgae as a renewable, health-giving resource, Nelson Mandela University's InnoVenton/DCTS innovates and develops products for the energy, pharmaceutical, agriculture and food sectors.

A call for a community of practice. 
Empowerment through Participation: Take Part in The Africanisation-Decolonisation Project at Nelson Mandela University (AFDEP-NMU) Survey.We would like to welcome you to participate in our AFDEP-NMU survey, which will assist us in exploring and developing a set of conceptual and programmatic criteria for the project. 

South Africa is known for its rich biodiversity, attracting tourists from all over the world. However, protecting this precious asset is a complex task, says Lize von Staden, who received her PhD in Botany at Nelson Mandela University’s Autumn Graduation.

Working in collaboration with medical practitioners at Livingstone Hospital, statistics lecturer at Mandela University Dr Sisa Pazi, has contributed to quality and benchmarking at the hospital with his statistical model for his PhD in Statistics.

When Dr Hlanganani Siphelele Nyembe was a child in Mahujini, a village in Mtubatuba, KwaZulu-Natal in the 1990s, he saw Eskom employees installing power lines in his village. It was his dream to work for them.

End-of-life rubber tyres from motor vehicles are a huge waste problem in South Africa. The recycling challenge is to devulcanise (soften) the rubber in these tyres in an eco-friendly manner so that it can be recovered and re-used in new tyres and other products.

Diabetes and obesity can be successfully treated with cannabis but only if the correct dosage for the individual patient is used. This is one of the crucial findings of a doctoral degree study at Nelson Mandela University. 

Nelson Mandela University recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) renewing their commitment to a mutually beneficial and equitable partnership, which will advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Discoveries of aquifers – underground earth formations that hold water – often create excitement around their ability to ease water scarcity in a region.

Building a giant geodesic dome or a soccer ball takes just as much maths as art – as hundreds of Grade 10 to 12 learners are discovering for themselves at three interactive workshops in the Eastern Cape this month, introducing them to Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) education. 

A Nelson Mandela University professor has been selected as one of two African mentors for an elite global mentorship programme.

A Nelson Mandela University professor has been selected as one of two African mentors for an elite global mentorship programme.

Some people are annoyed when they encounter a fresh pile of dung while out on a walk in nature. Others are excited because it points to the recent visit of a particular kind of animal. But some scientists, myself included, may just be disappointed that the dung isn’t fossilised.

Marine ecosystems have a valuable role to play in mitigating the effects of climate change.

Journalists and scientists often speak at cross purposes – even a “different language”. Are there ways for them to understand each other better in the interests of the public good?

A Nelson Mandela University professor has been selected as one of two African mentors for an elite global mentorship programme.

Did you know that Africa is home to some of the world’s earliest mathematical systems? Apart from the sophisticated maths that went into building Egypt’s pyramids, artefacts found across the continent indicate that ancient African civilizations were using maths in their daily lives. 

As the drought in Nelson Mandela Bay worsens, we are plagued by water-related questions. Carla Dodd is a PhD candidate in the Geosciences Department at the Nelson Mandela University and is currently working on answering some of these questions.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Francois Swanepoel, a Geosciences honours student at Mandela University, recently won the “best research poster” at the 17th biannual South African Geophysical Association conference.
Science is hope

Through science we are looking at the future and contributing positively to the protection of our complex natural environment and physical systems for the benefit of all life, including humankind.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Geosciences postgraduate student, Bamanye Takashe, was instrumental in guiding two high school learners to winning medals at the prestigious Eskom Expo International Science Fair (ISF) held recently. 

World Wetlands Day is commemorated on 2 February and the theme for this year is restoration and the urgent need to prioritise degraded wetlands that need revival.

Vuyani Chipunza never expected to become a maths and science celebrity, but these days he is stopped in the streets by learners asking if he is “that Vuyani from Yebo Tutor”.

Nelson Mandela University’s Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Centre recently participated in an international conference and co-hosted a national congress on Maths and Science Education.

Marine ecosystems have a valuable role to play in mitigating the effects of climate change.

The class of 2022 BSc Honours in Formulation Students showed their mettle at their recent year-end showcase, presenting the products that they have formulated during their year in the programme.

Despite his father’s wish for him to be become a mine worker, Khulekani Yakobi (30) has managed to become an academic, and will be graduating with a PhD in Computing Science and Information Systems at Nelson Mandela University on 12 December. 

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Master’s student in Mathematics, Ruan Olivier (26) has won the prestigious S2A3 (Southern Africa Association for the Advancement of Science) Medal for the best masters in 2021 in science.

Although we think COVID-19 has gone, our wastewater tells a different story.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Finding ways to treat diabetes using indigenous knowledge about natural remedies has won Dr Nehemiah Latolla of Nelson Mandela University the top place in the FameLab International science communication competition.

Three speakers from Brazil as well as participants from Chile, Finland, France, Latvia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sierra Leone, Pakistan, China and Austria formed part of a webinar at Mandela University’s Forestry Department.

Nelson Mandela University is gearing up to host one of the most globally recognised scientific schools – the 7th Biennial African School of Fundamental Physics and Application (ASP2022) – in Gqeberha from 28 November until 09 December 2022.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Tangible Africa, a local organisation that spreads offline coding skills to primary and high school learners across the continent, has received a prestigious accolade from the African Union.

Matthew 25 is a well-known scripture referring to Jesus challenging us as his followers to reach out to those who are hungry and thirsty, without clothes and in jail.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Mandela University master’s in Physics student, Luchian Pullen recently won a poster presentation prize for his research at the 21st Student Symposium in the Natural Sciences at North-West University. 

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: The Federation of Commonwealth Chemical Sciences Societies recently announced the 25 prize winners in its third, annual online poster event, with Mandela Uni’s Dr Nehemiah Latolla being selected as a winner.

Mandela University will host some of the Nobel in Africa Symposia Series outreach activities as part of The Nobel in Africa, a special Initiative of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS).

Diabetes is the second leading cause of death due to disease in SA, after tuberculosis. Finding ways to treat diabetes using indigenous knowledge about natural remedies has won Dr NehemiahLatolla of Nelson Mandela University a place on the world stage of science communicators.

“Mathematics the language of the sciences” was the theme for the fifth annual National MathArt Competition organised by Nelson Mandela University’s Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Centre (GMMDC).

There are nearly 240,000 protected areas globally, yet we have a growing number of endangered species. This conundrum troubles leading conservation ecologist Prof Graham Kerley.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Mandela University postdoctoral fellow, Dr Nehemiah Latolla, has been selected as a finalist in the South African leg of the international science competition, FameLab. 

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: The Southern African Wildlife Management Association recently awarded its prestigious “Wildlife Excellence Award” to Nelson Mandela University’s Prof Graham Kerley of the Zoology Department and Director of the Centre for African Conservation Ecology.

Professor Nadine Strydom stumbled upon a novel way to tackle the problem of collapsing coastal fishes populations, thanks to a radio show and a red traffic light.

This year is the centenary of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics of which South Africa is one of the 13 founding members, and which has 60 member countries. 

All of our lives are increasingly impacted by global sustainability challenges. We are living in a historical time in which the world labours under multiple pandemics, including leadership crises, poverty, inequality, hunger, environmental degradation, racism and other forms of discrimination. Not least of these is the widespread pathologizing of all that is Africa and African.


All of our lives are increasingly impacted by global sustainability challenges. We are living in a historical time in which the world labours under multiple pandemics, including leadership crises, poverty, inequality, hunger, environmental degradation, racism and other forms of discrimination

As higher education institutions we have to partner with schools to encourage more girl and boy learners to study maths and science. South African universities are not seeing sufficient enrolments in these subjects which are critical for research, innovation and the future of work. 

During a water shortage, water-saving strategies are widely communicated by municipalities to encourage minimal domestic use.

What is the role of Physics in society?” This question was tabled at this year’s annual conference of the South African Institute of Physics (SAIP 2022), which Nelson Mandela University's Physics department hosted earlier this month.

The addition of herbal teas to a healthy lifestyle could well add a few more good years to your life says Nelson Mandela University cellular biochemist, Professor Maryna van de Venter.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Lecturer in Chemistry at Mandela University, Dr Zikhona Tywabi-Ngeva, has won the best, in-person speaker award at the 14th Green Chemistry Postgraduate Summer School (GCPSS) in Venice, Italy.

In a first of its kind for the African region, over 5 000 learners from all nine provinces in South Africa as well as African countries, including Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Zambia, will be #Coding4Mandela on July 18.

A group of postgraduate students from the Botany Department are currently in Spain participating in a Palaeoecology Workshop at the University of León.

Any organism out of place from its natural environment will always intrigue an ecologist. In the Tabasco region of Mexico at least 131 species of plants that normally occur at the coast were recently discovered in an inland lake 170 km from the sea. 

Nelson Mandela University’s School of Engineering recently supported ocean research with airborne drones and a kite borne surveillance system to study marine mammals up close - not possible from the research ship.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Mandela University Chemistry lecturer, Dr Gletwyn Rubidge, once again took top honours at the SA Pool Freediving Nationals held in Gqeberha last month.

Marine Spatial Planning research at Nelson Mandela University is continuing to make waves with new research including the impacts of the pandemic on coastal tourism.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: BSc Honours in Botany student Marishka Govender, has been selected as one of 20 young scientists to attend a Science Communication conference in Germany this July.

The first-ever Unplugged Coding Competition for primary school coding clubs in Nelson Mandela Bay was hosted on Friday (June 10) at Summerwood Primary School.

It’s been said that the next world war may well be fought over water. Countries are already pulling political pranks to secure inflow from upstream across their borders, while entrepreneurs scramble for first place in the race to offer solutions to a thirsty, embattled Eastern Cape.

Where have all the African penguins at St Croix Island gone?

Nelson Mandela University’s Physics Department recently expanded its already comprehensive range of world-class facilities for semiconductor research and development. From synthesis to characterisation and limited device processing and testing, these facilities are unique in the country and Africa.

Smart cities could have great impact, but involving every citizen, at every level, is key to ensuring that ‘smart’ means nobody is left behind, according to research by a Nelson Mandela University academic.

Isuzu Motors South Africa has teamed up with Mandela University’s MobiTutorZA Academy programme to help Grade 12s ace maths.

The beautiful Garden Route natural landscape is undoubtedly one of the biggest assets of the George Campus of the Nelson Mandela University.

South African universities need to be globally competitive to attract partnerships, investment and top academic staff and students.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: two Mandela University professors have been recognised by the Institute of Information Technology Professionals of South Africa (IITPSA).

Most of the Eastern Cape’s Nelson Mandela Bay (NMB) Metro and the adjacent Kouga Municipality will soon run out of water.

We have to work out how to share our oceans between a mounting number of stakeholders in a manner that values and conserves our rich marine resources. Professor Mandy Lombard is finding a way, Heather Dugmore reports.

Kahl Kritzinger is the first Mechatronics graduate to also obtain an MSc in Computer Science at Nelson Mandela University, and cum laude to boot!

Using the principles of international law and the regulatory systems in Germany and the UK, the PhD study of Roelof van Huyssteen proposed a new renewable energy statute for South Africa to promote environmental, economic and social development and to assist South Africa towards a just transition.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Jean Greyling, Associate Professor in the Department of Computing Sciences at Mandela University, has been awarded the 2021 Distinguished Service in ICT Award.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: The work of the UK’s National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in collaboration with Mandela University’s Photovoltaic Research Group, presented at the 16th Photovoltaic Science, Applications and Technology Conference (PVSAT-16) was awarded Best Poster for its poster and conference paper.

New Business Development Manager at the Transnet National Ports Authority, Nozipho Booi, is the first MPhil in Maritime Studies graduate at this year’s Autumn Graduation at Nelson Mandela University.

Phozisa Dlokweni (aka Phozy) an Eastern Cape born student from Ngceleni village, and the last-born daughter amongst her four siblings, will graduate with her MSc in Forestry (cum laude) at the George Campus graduation ceremony this week.

Emily and Samantha McCulloch-Jones, will both graduate with a PhD in Nature Conservation at Nelson Mandela University’s George Campus Ceremony on 8 April.

At the end of 2021, more than 23,000 matriculants in the Eastern Cape failed maths, along with thousands more across SA.

The largest research project ever undertaken by multiple nations, using tracking data of seabirds and mammals over the entire Southern Ocean, is calling for conservation areas to be urgently established.

Computational and data science is a new essential language, and all students and graduates today need to be versed in computational thinking and data-handling skills.

Piloted for the first time last year, Nelson Mandela University’s Govan Mbeki Mathematics Development Centre has extended its incubator school programme to assist past matriculants, giving them a second chance to pass their exams or improve their marks.

The state-of-the-art Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu Science Centre was launched in Cofimvaba in the Eastern Cape on October 6, and from its conceptualisation the faculty of science at Nelson Mandela University was deeply involved.

The research of Nelson Mandela University student Itumeleng Zosela introduces an innovative treatment, namely nanoparticles, which are only toxic to cancer cells and not normal cells. The treatments currently available have severe side effects, damaging normal cells and not only the colon cancer cells.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Mandela Uni Geosciences PhD student, Carla Dodd, was selected for the specialised African/German field training programme (Train-ME2) as part of a group of only eight postgraduate students from across Africa.

Under the umbrella of celebrating excellence, Nelson Mandela University recognised its top academic, professional, administrative and service staff in the categories of research, teaching, engagement, creative outputs and institutional support on 23 November.

Reasons to be Proud – R2bP#: Computing Sciences honours student, Marco Venter, has developed a smart phone security app that is already creating waves in Germany and the United States.

Mathematics and science are often considered the two most difficult school subjects that are so often avoided by students, yet they can have a significant impact on what a learner can do when they leave school. 

What is being offered as schooling in rural South Africa is not nearly good enough and we need to stand together as communities to create something better; create community schools that produce top-achieving learners based on a culture of learning and teaching.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Two Mandela Uni Geosciences students won awards at the recent three-day annual Groundwater Conference in South Africa, attended in person and online by professionals and students involved in groundwater-related issues.

Reasons to be proud - #R2bP: Computing Sciences student, Amica de Jager, walked away with an arm full of medals at the recent DHL Lifesaving South Africa National Championships which took place in Gqeberha.

The 2021 Nobel prize in physics, shared by three laureates, means the conversation about climate change should no longer be about debating the science itself or whether climate change is real, but rather on what we should be doing about it. 

Four student academic award recipients at the recent virtual annual academic student awards ceremony are top achievers in the world of computers and numbers.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Dr Lorien Pichegru, a marine biologist at Mandela University and Acting Director of the Coastal and Marine Research Institute, has received the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Merite (Knight of the Order of Merit) award from the ambassador of France in SA.

The aquaponics project on Nelson Mandela University’s Missionvale Campus is an example of how  the university is working with private enterprise, a non-profit organisation and schools in the area to grow food sustainably all year round.

The symmetry of a face, the angles of a city skyline, the way fireflies start flickering in unison: Mathematical shapes and patterns are all around us – and they can take our breath away.

The Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and adjacent Kouga Municipality will soon run out of water.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Professor in Computing Sciences at Mandela University, Jean Greyling, has been selected as one of ten winners in the Future Learning category of the international, Falling Walls Science Breakthroughs of the Year 2021.

Dr Zikhona Tywabi-Ngeva is a finalist in The Herald Citizens of the Year Awards in partnership with Nelson Mandela University.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Mandela University Chemistry lecturer, Dr Gletwyn Rubidge, once again broke a national record at the AIDA Freediving World Cup held in Egypt last month.

With the University having to come up with all kinds of innovative ways to save water in this water crisis, the Botany Department has implemented a closed water distilling system for their research needs, saving an enormous amount of water.   

It took a village to get her over the finish line, but for Arcadia resident Anthea van der Hoogen, finally obtaining her doctorate was well worth the battle.

Florian Orgeret (Marine Apex Predator Research Unit), Nelson Mandela University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa) and colleagues have published in the Journal of Animal Ecology on tracking globally Vulnerable Wandering Albatrosses at sea from Marion and Possession Islands’

The Nelson Mandela University computing sciences department is one of the main role players in a new global family tech programme created by Amazon Web Services.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Mandela University Chemistry lecturer, Dr Gletwyn Rubidge, broke two national records and matched a third at the Freediving World Cup held in Egypt last month.

In recognition of his own past, Azwinndini Muronga has brought STEM enrichment opportunities to youth in remote, underserved towns and villages.

Humans delight in creating patterns in the sand, and more than 100,000 years ago it would appear we were no different. 

As SA heralds Gqeberha’s Aspen Pharmacare for producing 30 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, a chemistry professor in the same city is quietly hoping to take the drug story much further.

“My granny is my inspiration and motivation”, says 21 year old Avelile Lutho Cishe, a cum laude Forestry graduate from Idutywa in the Eastern Cape. 

“Guys I did it, who would have thought a girl from the farm could achieve such immaculate grades”, posted Tematfombeni on her social media page as she bagged 22 distinctions out of 30 modules in her four-year academic journey.

Zoology Master’s graduate Hendrik du Toit overcame the challenging trials of doing a field and laboratory-based research project during the lockdown of 2020, to graduate cum laude at Nelson Mandela University’s April Graduation.

The Zoology honours class of 2020 who will obtain their degrees at this year’s Autumn Graduation, achieved a new record for Zoology honours with a 100% pass rate and 67% of the class passing cum laude.

A coding app has exposed thousands of pupils from disadvantaged areas to computer programming without the need of a computer or a teacher.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Mandela University Computing Sciences Distinguished Professor, Andre Calitz, has been honoured with a Distinguished Service in ICT Award at the 2020 Institute of IT Professionals South Africa (IITPSA) President's Awards.

The Eastern Cape Department of Health has identified eight cities and towns as the origin of 44 coronavirus cases that were imported into the province over the past two weeks, as active cases rose by 18.2%.

The third COVID-19 wave is due to hit the two big Eastern Cape metros of Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City by the end of March/beginning of April. This is sooner than expected and we are confident of the prediction as it is based on a range of local and regional data and on a year of national modelling, from the time that COVID-19 hit South Africa in March 2020.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Mandela University scientists from the Centre for High Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy, have been awarded the annual prize for the 2020 best paper in the field of Applied Physics Research from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Russia. 

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Mandela University’s Department of Computing Sciences has received funding from The British Council Creative Commission as part of Project-ArC – an international consortium of 12 universities that will collaborate to deploy local initiatives for Climate Change accountability and responsibility.

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Dr Chris Oosthuizen, a Nelson Mandela University postdoctoral fellow hosted by Prof Pierre Pistorius, was recently awarded a prestigious CCAMLR (Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources) Scientific Scholarship.

Following the celebration of woman in science, we caught up with George Campus, PhD Forestry student, Noxolo Ndlovu, to hear from her what bearing this day has to her as a female in the industry. 

When Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, coined the phrase ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ (4IR), he argued that this new industrial revolution would happen at an exponential pace, and that new technologies would change society in unpredictable ways. 

Reasons to be Proud - #R2bP: Mandela University Geosciences lecturer Navashni Naidoo, has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to study towards her PhD at the University of Illinois in the Unites States.

The two subjects that most matric learners fear and dread are mathematics and science – and often these are the two subjects that cause learners either to fail their year, or miss out on a university pass.

Five professors at Nelson Mandela University have received the prestigious title of Distinguished Professor, which entails an elevated status in recognition of their dedication and commitment to their field of expertise.  

Emeritus and distinguished Botany Professor, Richard Cowling, published a position essay on biodiversity conservation in response to an invitation from the world’s most prestigious science institution, The Royal Society (London).

MAPRU postdoc Chris Oosthuizen was awarded a prestigious CCAMLR Scientific Scholarship (2021–2022) to develop monitoring indices that can quantify functional responses of penguins to changes in their prey field. This work is a precursor to developing new monitoring parameters using marine predators such as penguins to improve ecosystem-based feedback management of fisheries.

Nearly two-thirds of schools in SA lack computer labs. One professor has found a way to fill the gap.

Going for gold
AN unwavering commitment to water conservation culminated in a doctorate for a Southern Cape academic, whose lifelong dream to change her world through education began under an avocado tree two decades ago.

An unwavering commitment to water conservation culminated in a doctorate for a Southern Cape academic, whose lifelong dream to change her world through education began under an avocado tree two decades ago.