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Exceptional Achievers 2013


The University of Pretoria's standing as one of South Africa's leading research-intensive universities is largely due to the achievements of its academic staff. Through our annual awards ceremony we have an opportunity to pay tribute to our academic staff who have distinguished themselves in teaching and research.

The Achievers featured in this publication have each achieved significant milestones in their careers and collectively reflect the breadth and depth of scholarly work at the University across nine faculties and a business school.

Congratulations to all the Academic Achievers and academics successfully rated by the National Research Foundation (NRF). You are a source of great pride to the University. We salute your achievements!

As we look ahead there is no doubt that with such outstanding academic talent and expertise, the University will make an even greater impact in developing people, creating knowledge and making a difference locally and globally.


The Chancellor’s Award in the Category Research

The Chancellor’s Award is made in recognition of exceptional achievement in the field of research aimed at the advancement of science and the associated promotion of the interests of the University of Pretoria. Click here for more infromation



Exceptional Academic Achievers

This award is made annually to senior academics who have already achieved the status of professor, are regarded highly by their peers and have consistently excelled in the areas of under- and postgraduate teaching and learning, research, community service and administration over a period of time. Any academic who has been awarded an A-rating by the NRF automatically qualifies as an Exceptional Achiever for as long as he or she remains an A-rated researcher. Only 50 such awards are made in a three-year cycle.



Exceptional Young Researchers

This award is given to exceptional emerging scholars in the field of research, who foster the University's strategic goal of achieving excellence in various research fields.

Any person who has been evaluated by the NRF as a P-rated researcher automatically enjoys Exceptional Young Researcher status. Any school within a faculty, and any faculty without a school may recommend one candidate per year. Only ten awards are made annually, excluding those who have acquired P-ratings.





Newly Rated NRF Researchers

Prof Patricia Alexander

Prof Alexander is an extraordinary professor in the School of Computing at the University of South Africa. Until her retirement at the end of March 2013, Prof Alexander was an associate professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of Pretoria.

Prof Alexander's research covers the management of change triggered by new information systems and technology, particularly in eHealth. She heads interuniversity research on factors that influence students in choosing computingrelated majors at university.

In the past five years she has published, among others, in accredited international journals with co-authors from other South African universities. Prof Alexander received a C3-rating from the NRFF.


Prof Roumen Anguelov

Prof Anguelov is a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. His primary research area is differential equations and their numerical analysis, with the main emphasis on reliable numerical computations. He has also received recognition for his work on Spaces of Interval-Valued Functions, Type-Independent Theory of Partial Differential Equations, and Image Analysis.

In recent years Prof Anguelov's work has focused largely on applications to biological sciences. He plays a key role at the University in promoting interdisciplinary collaboration in the general field of biomathematics, and is instrumental in the organisation of many activities such as the Biomath Forum series of lectures at the University. Prof Anguelov is a co-chair of the organising committee of the International Conference on Mathematical Methods and Models in Biosciences (BIOMATH) taking place annually in Sofia, Bulgaria. Prof Anguelov received a B3-rating from the NRF.


Prof Zeno Apostolides

Prof Apostolides is an associate professor in the Department of Biochemistry in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. He is the founder and leader of the Tea Research Laboratory that has been doing research on various projects in the tea industry for black and green tea since 1984.

Most of his work has been on metabolomic studies to predict the value of tea. Currently, he is working on genome-wide association studies for traits of agronomic interest in tea, especially drought tolerance. He was a member of the organising committee for the 4th International Conference on O-CHA (Tea) Culture and Science – ICOS 2010 – which took place in Shizuoka, Japan, in October 2010. He has presented keynote addresses at international conferences in Kenya, China and Japan.

Prof Apostolides contributed a chapter on 'Health properties of black, green and oolong tea from Camellia sinensis' in the publication Trends and developments in ethnopharmacology, edited by Resia Pretorius, 2009. Two patents were granted to the University of Pretoria in 2012 – one in South Africa and another by the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO). He has co-authored a book with Liang Chen and Zong-Mao Chen entitled Global tea breeding: achievements, challenges and perspectives, released in early 2013. His research team has produced 21 publications that have generated an ISI h-index of 13. Prof Apostolides received a C2-rating from the NRF.


Prof Karel Bakker

Prof Bakker (PhD) is a professor in the Department of Architecture in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology.

Prof Bakker's research is interdisciplinary and comprises theoretical, technological and applied aspects in the fields of architecture, management of historic environments, urban regeneration, historical studies and pedagogy. His fields of specialisation are urban and architectural conservation, urban regeneration, heritage theory, heritage impact management, interpretation and presentation of heritage, shared built heritage, African built heritage and architectural history and pedagogy.

He has received international recognition from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre as an international educator in heritage impact assessment for the International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM) in Shanghai. He was an invited speaker at the UNESCO workshop on the application of the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach in Africa that culminated in the Zanzibar Declaration on the Conservation of Historic Urban Landscapes.

Prof Bakker has been involved in numerous internationally reviewed, invited specialist reports for reactive monitoring missions, state of conservation missions and impact assessment missions involving World Heritage Sites. These sites include the Richtersveld, the Kasubi tombs in Kampala (Uganda), Le Morne Cultural Landscape and Aapravasi Ghat in Mauritius. He has undertaken numerous missions to Zanzibar Stone Town. He was an invited co-author of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) publication, Guidance on heritage impact assessment in Cultural World Heritage properties. He has received a creative output award for the design of the UNESCO Slave Route Monument in Mauritius. Prof Bakker received a C3-rating from the NRF.


Prof Johan Beckmann

Prof Beckmann is a professor in the Department of Education Management and Policy Studies in the Faculty of Education. His main research areas are education and law, educational governance, human rights, educational reform, and education and culture.

Prof Beckmann has been appointed until June 2014 as adjunct professor at the National Training Centre for Secondary School Principals, East China Normal University, Shanghai. He is a guest lecturer at the Institute of Educational Leadership at the University of Jyväskylä in Finland and was appointed with Justus Prinsloo, a researcher at the Faculty of Education (University of Pretoria) and an advocate of the Supreme Court of South Africa, as co-editor of Juta's education law and policy handbook. Prof Beckmann received a C2-rating from the NRF.


Prof Andriëtte Bekker

Prof Bekker is an associate professor and acting Head of the Department of Statistics in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

The focus of Prof Bekker's research is the study, development and expansion of distributions and of addressing their parametric statistical inferential aspects within the classical as well as the Bayesian framework.

One of the more recent articles co-authored by Prof Bekker in 2012 is entitled 'A generalised multivariate beta distribution: control charting when the measurements are from an exponential distribution', published in Statistical Papers (53, 4, 1045-1064). Another co-authored article published in 2012 is entitled 'Distribution of the product of determinants of noncentral bimatrix beta variates', published in the Journal of Multivariate Analysis (109, 73-87. Prof Bekker received a C2-rating from the NRF.


Prof Dave Berger

Prof Berger is a professor in the Department of Plant Science, Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. He is the leader of the Molecular Plant-Pathogen Interactions Research Group.

His study of plant transcriptional responses using microarrays has led to the development of five bioinformatics software packages, which have been applied for gene discovery. His work has shown that the fungus Cercospora zeina is the cause of the economically important grey leaf spot disease of maize in Southern Africa. Studies are continuing to identify pathogenicity genes in the fungus, as well as resistance genes in maize.

Prof Berger's laboratory is also involved in a more basic research project on the model plant Arabidopsis and a bacterial wilt pathogen. In this work, his research group has uncovered the genetic basis of a novel mechanism of disease tolerance. As part of a European Union project, he led the development of the first tomato diversity array for genetic mapping in wild tomato species. He was awarded a prize by the Department of Science and Technology for Capacity Development in the European Union Framework Programmes. Prof Berger received a C1-rating from the NRF.


Prof James Blignaut

Prof Blignaut is a professor in the Department of Economics in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences. He is an environmental resource economist focusing on the interface between economics and the natural environment, and specialising in food, water and energy security in the context of restoring degraded natural capital. He is engaged in several research initiatives dealing with the management of water catchments, the introduction of payments for ecosystem goods and services, the management of natural resources, and climate change adaptation and mitigation measures.

Prof Blignaut has a strong publication record in journals, such as Ecological Economics, Ecological Engineering, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustain-ability, the Journal of Energy of Southern Africa, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, Conservation Letters, Applied Energy and the South African Journal of Science. He received a B3-rating from the NRF.


Prof André Boraine

Prof Boraine is the Dean of the Faculty of Law. His current research interests include insolvency law, the law of civil procedure, and aspects of property law and consumer protection.

Over the years, Prof Boraine has taught a variety of law subjects at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and supervises doctoral students on a regular basis. He is on the roll of practising attorneys and is still involved in practical legal training programmes for candidate attorneys, as well as insolvency practitioners. He was the International Association of Restructuring, Insolvency and Bankruptcy Professionals (INSOL) scholar for 2008, and is recognised as
an Exceptional Academic Achiever at the University of Pretoria.

He has published widely and regularly presents papers at local and international conferences. During 2011, he served as a consultant to the World Bank in relation to the Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) analysis of the South African insolvency law system. Prof Boraine received a B1-rating from the NRF.



Prof Phil Botha

Prof Botha is a professor in the Department of Ancient Languages in the Faculty of Humanities.

His primary area of research is the Biblical Book of Psalms, with a specific interest in the intertextual influence of the Book of Proverbs on the Psalter. He has published articles on a number of individual psalms, in which he showed that these were either composed by or, alternatively, extensively edited by people who lived during the late Persian or early Hellenistic Period, and who tried to apply the teaching of Proverbs to the problems of economic hardship and religious apostasy which the Jewish community in Jerusalem was experiencing at the time.

A member of six academic societies, Prof Botha also conducts research in the field of patristics, concentrating on the work of a fourth-century Syriac-speaking theologian, Ephrem the Syrian. During the past five years, Prof Botha has published 14 articles in accredited journals, two chapters in refereed conference proceedings and two chapters in academic books. Prof Botha received a C2-rating from the NRF.


Prof Adam Bumby

Prof Bumby is an associate professor in the Department of Geology in the
Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

His research interests are in structural geology and the development of the Precambrian basins on the Kaapvaal Craton, together with the structural controls on the emplacement of the Bushveld Complex.

In addition to numerous projects within these fields, he also supervises postgraduate projects on the structural development of the Lufilian Arc in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Pan-African tectonic event in the Nuba mountains of Southern Sudan, and the tectonic history in Western Dronning Maud Land, Antarctica. Prof Bumby received a C3-rating from the NRF.


Prof Drucilla Cornell

Prof Cornell is an extraordinary professor of Jurisprudence in the Faculty of Law. Her areas of research are jurisprudence, legal philosophy, the living customary law, indigenous values and subaltern legality.

Her most important publication in the past year was uBuntu and the law: African ideals and post-apartheid jurisprudence. Prof Cornell is the founder of the University of Pretoria's uBuntu Project, with a number of constitutional justices regularly participating in the Project's annual conferences and seminars. She received the Frantz Fanon Award from the Caribbean Philosophical Association in 2010. Prof Cornell is ranked as an A1 researcher by the NRF.


Prof Don Cowan

Prof Cowan is Director of the Institutional Research Theme in Genomics, a virtual institute comprising some 35 academics working in a wide range of genomics fields. He is also Director of the Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics, housed in a newly refurbished 800 m2 laboratory suite. Prof Cowan has published over 215 research papers, review articles and book chapters, and serves on the editorial boards of nine international journals. He holds the post of adjunct professor at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa in 2007, member of the Academy of Sciences of South Africa in 2008, and an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2009. He was awarded the UWC Vice-Rector's Award for Research Excellence in 2008 and the Silver Medal of the South African Society for Microbiology in 2009. He is currently President of the Royal Society of South Africa.

Prof Cowan's research work includes microbial ecology, microbial processes, genomics, metagenomics and gene discovery, and applied microbiology. For the past decade, he has worked with scientists in New Zealand and America, studying the microbiology of the Dry Valleys of Eastern Antarctica. His interests also extend to the microbial ecology of the halo-alkaline African Rift Valley lakes, the prokaryotic and phage communities in high salt environments, and the structure and function of hot desert communities. His collaborators include researchers in South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Zambia, Argentina, New Zealand, the UK, Germany and the US. He received a B1-rating from the NRF.


Dr Bridget Crampton

Dr Crampton is a senior lecturer in the Department of Plant Science in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and a research leader at the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI). She leads the Cereal Foliar Pathogen Research Group, which studies two economically important maize diseases.

In Africa, one of the diseases, grey leaf spot in maize, is caused by the destructive fungal pathogen Cercospora zeina, and the research group focuses on functional genomics of virulence factors of C. zeina. Northern corn leaf blight (NCLB), caused by the fungus Exserohilum turcicum, is a devastating leaf foliar pathogen that occurs in most maize-growing areas throughout the world. As part of a long-term project to identify and isolate virulence factors from maize foliar fungal pathogens, the research group is characterising E. turcicum isolates from South
Africa using simple sequence repeats (SSRs) as molecular markers.

In 2007, Dr Crampton was awarded a bronze medal from the South African Association of Botanists for the best botanical PhD thesis. Dr Crampton received a Y2-rating from the NRF.


Prof Philip Crouse

Prof Crouse is a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering in the Faculty of Engineering, Built Environment and Information Technology. He is the current SARChI chair of Fluoro-materials Science and Process Integration.

His research covers industrial fluorine chemistry and technology, and has a strong focus on fluoropolymer synthesis, characterisation and applications. In addition to NRF funding, the chair is financially supported by the Fluorochemical Expansion Initiative (FEI) of the Department of Science and Technology, and has several industrial contracts. Prof Crouse received a C2-rating from the NRF.


Prof Elmarie de Klerk

Prof De Klerk is an associate professor and Head of the Department of Consumer Science in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

Her research goal is to understand consumer behaviour in the field of consumer science (mainly in the field of clothing) and to contribute, through the development of products and services, to the well-being and quality of life of diverse consumer groups in South Africa and in other African countries. Her focus falls under two major themes, namely socio-psychological and cognitive aspects of consumer behaviour, the latter primarily involving apparel sizing, fit and quality.

Prof De Klerk is the most experienced and most cited South African researcher in the field of apparel sizing, fit and quality. Through an anthropometric survey conducted in Kenya it was possible to establish the most prevalent Kenyan female body shape, which displays totally different characteristics to the more prevalent Western female body shapes. This work contributed to the knowledge regarding the importance of body shape in the development of apparel sizing systems, and demonstrated the important role of body shape in perceived apparel sizing and fit problems experienced by the female population, specifically those in emerging economies. Prof De Klerk received a C3-rating from the NRF.


Dr Rian de Villiers

Dr De Villiers is a senior lecturer in the Department of Science, Mathematics and Technology Education in the Faculty of Education.

His research focus areas are inter- and intracontinental teacher migration studies, teacher training in life sciences education, and community-based service learning. His research career in the field of education started in 2002 when he was awarded one of the most prestigious fellowships of its kind in the world – a Commonwealth Academic Fellowship. Dr De Villiers received a C3-rating from the NRF.


Dr Jules Djoko Kamdem

Dr Djoko Kamdem is a senior lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

He works on numerical solutions for partial differential equations (PDEs). The aim of his research is to design numerical algorithms for solving PDEs. He is particularly interested in mathematical aspects of numerical schemes, such as convergence, stability, reliability, and efficiency. Dr Djoko Kamden received a C2-rating from the NRF.


Dr Suné Donoghue

Dr Donoghue is a senior lecturer in the Department of Consumer Science in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. She obtained a PhD in 2008 from UP and specialises in consumer behaviour, specifically consumer complaint behaviour and consumer protection (consumerism). She is especially interested in consumers' cognitions, emotions and behaviour following product and service failures, as well as the implications for retailers and service providers.

Dr Donoghue co-authored various articles that were published in the Journal for Family Ecology and Consumer Sciences (JFECS) and the International Journal of Consumer Studies (IJCS). One of the articles, published in the JFECS, was chosen as the best paper published in 2006/2007. Her most recent article published in the IJCS is entitled 'Consumers' anger and coping strategies following appraisals of appliance failure' (2013). She has presented various research papers at national and international conferences. She currently supervises or co-supervises four master's students. Her first postgraduate student graduated with distinction. Dr Donoghue acts as a reviewer for the IJCS. Dr Donoghue received a grant from the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) and a Research Development Programme (RDP) grant from the University of Pretoria. She received a Y2 NRF rating.


Prof Elfriede Dreyer

Prof Dreyer is an associate professor in fine Arts in the Department of Visual Arts. She is the Head of the Fine Arts section and her teaching activities focus on senior undergraduate and postgraduate students. She has revised the postgraduate degrees in fine arts to offer three specialisations: theorising and writing about art, producing art (creative production), and showing art (curatorial practice).

Prof Dreyer was educated in South Africa and the Netherlands in French literature, philosophy, music, multimedia, art history and fine arts. As a specialist in curatorial practice, she engages discursively and creatively with the genre of utopia/dystopia, technologisation and post-Africanism. She has curated extensively and published several book reviews, chapters, articles and catalogues on utopian/
dystopian/heterotopian world-making and art production, specifically of black artists from Gauteng and Limpopo.

She has produced a large body of her own creative work (most of which is in public collections) and curated exhibitions that have regularly received awards from UP since 2006. She was shortlisted for the Chancellor's Prize for Excellence in Research at Unisa, and received artist's awards and curatorship grants, such as the Indigenous Knowledge Systems (IKS) (originally KISC) grant of the NRF and an Absa Bank grant in 2012. Prof Dreyer received a C2-rating from the NRF.


Prof Amanda du Preez

Prof Du Preez is an associate professor in the Department of Visual Arts, where she teaches Art History and Visual Culture Studies. She obtained a DPhil in English on the topic of cyberfeminism and embodiment in 2003.
Her current research interests include social media platforms and visual identity constructions, as well as dissenting scopic regimes in contemporary South African visual culture. She has published widely on a variety of topics, mainly pertaining to gender, embodiment and the sublime.

Prof Du Preez co-edited South African visual culture (2005), which introduces visual culture studies to a broader South African audience. This was followed by an edited volume entitled Taking a hard look: gender and visual culture (2009), which mainly focuses on the intersection between gender and contemporary visual culture. In 2009 she also published Gendered bodies and new technologies, unravelling the complicated way in which technologies – specifically image technologies – are implicated in constructing and perpetuating gender biases. The co-editor of two South African journals, namely De Arte and Image & Text, Prof Du Preez also serves on the governing board of the Inter-national Association for Visual Culture. Prof Du Preez received a C2-rating from the NRF.


Prof Rocco Duvenhage

Prof Duvenhage is an associate professor in the Department of Physics in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

His research area is operator algebra and dynamic systems. His work involves studying the long-term behaviour of dynamic systems or ergodic theory, with a focus on mathematical structures emanating from quantum mechanics and statistical mechanics.

Prof Duvenhage regularly publishes articles in peer-reviewed journals. The most significant

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