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Laureate Awards 2011

This year's recipients are:

Dr Cecile Cilliers (née Pretorius) is a literary artist, writer and journalist. She was born in Franschhoek and later obtained a BA degree in Languages from UP. Subsequently she obtained a BAHons degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, followed by an MA cum laude and a DLitt et Phil degree from RAU, currently known as the University of Johannesburg. After her marriage to John Cilliers the couple settled in Johannesburg.

As early as in 1976, together with Bridget Oppenheimer, Dr Cilliers was a co-founder of the organisation Women for Peace, which aimed at ensuring equal opportunities for all. She still addresses reading clubs and since the church is one of her interests, she occasionally delivers a sermon. She was the first woman to serve on the synodal board of the Dutch Reformed Church in Southern Transvaal and the General Synodal Commission of the Dutch Reformed Church. She was a former chairperson of the Board of the Centre for Christian Spirituality and is still involved in the activities of this organisation.

Since 1981, Cecile has been writing a regular column for Beeld and also writes reviews and articles for other newspapers and magazines. Some of her short stories and essays have been published in anthologies, the most recent being As almal ver is, compiled by Danie Marais and published by Tafelberg. Her published books include Ma's het engelvlerke, Begenadigde vroue, Jy's veelkantig and Magspel, as well as numerous biblical diaries. Collections of her columns written for Beeld and De Kat were published by Lux Verbi and Tafelberg Publishers respectively. She also appeared in many television programmes, including programmes screened by CNTV and kykNET, and did many radio broadcasts. She now
lives in the Cape again and is an honorary citizen of Biesiesvallei in the Northern Cape.

Mr Moses Kgosana is the Chief Executive and senior partner of KPMG South Africa, chairperson of KPMG Africa and a member of KPMG's Europe, Middle East, Africa and International Board. He completed the Executive Development Programme at the University of Pretoria's Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in 2004.

He is a trustee of the Thuthuka Bursary Fund, which makes a major investment every year in assisting and financing approximately 200 Accounting Sciences students at UP. The Thuthuka Bursary Fund is a transformation initiative of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA). Mr Kgosana is a former Board member of SAICA and serves as the chairperson of the Accounting Practices Board.

Recently Mr Kgosana was the guest speaker at a UP graduation ceremony for BCom and BComHons graduates in Accounting Sciences and was a great inspiration to everyone attending. His speech highlighted the discipline and motivation that took him from being forced to leave school in Grade 11 to eventually qualifying as a CA and becoming the African and South African Head of KPMG, one of the biggest accounting firms in the world.

Mr Kgosana is a former president of the Association for the Advancement of Black Accountants of Southern Africa (AGASA), a founding member of KMMT Chartered Accountants, which merged with KPMG in 2002, a member of Business Leadership South Africa and a member of the Institute of Directors in South Africa (IoDSA).

Dr Willie Koen is the Head of the Heart Transplant Unit of the Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in Cape Town. He obtained his MBChB degree from UP and an FSA (SA) qualification from the College of Medicine SA. Subsequently, in 1997, he became the first candidate ever to obtain the degree MMed cum laude from UCT. In the same year he also received a Medical Research Council award for his project entitled "The Tissue Engineered Bioprosthetic Heart Valve".

To date he has been involved in more than 150 heart transplant operations and has personally performed more than 100 heart transplants. After receiving the necessary training at the Deutches Hertz Zentrum in Berlin, he performed the first transplant of an artificial Berlin heart in SA in 1999. He has conducted extensive research, has published many papers and has done numerous presentations at local and international conferences.

Since 1993, Willie has been actively conducting afterhours research at the cardiovascular research unit of the hospital. He is involved in collaboration with the Germanbased African Cultural Institute whose goal is to serve the educational need of cardiovascular practice in underdeveloped African regions.

Ms Nomfanelo Magwentshu is a seasoned executive with several years' experience in strategic development and operational management. She is currently providing advisory services to corporate and government departments and is setting up an investment company which invests in start-up and existing businesses with a potential to grow. She obtained a Master of Business Administration from UP's Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), a BSc in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Transkei, and a BScHons in Statistics from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. She also completed a Management Development Programme at the University of Cape Town.

Nomfanelo was appointed chief operations officer of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Organising Committee in 2007. As second in command she played a pivotal role in ensuring the success of the tournament, and of her share in the best international sporting event ever staged on South African soil. She started her career as a research statistician and later held several positions at local and international corporations, which gave her a wide range of experience. Her most recent assignment was as Group Integration Executive at Absa Bank. She was also a director in the
director-general's office at the Department of Public Enterprises and held a number of positions at South African Airways, the last two of which were General Manager: Business Development and Chief Restructuring Executive.

She received the Presidential Award for Managerial and Leadership Excellence from the Black Management Forum in 2010 and is chairperson of the South African Forestry Company Limited (SAFCOL) and a non-executive director at Nampak. She is an active, involved and inspirational alumna of the GIBS alumni group.

The late Emeritus Professor John Skinner was an Extraordinary Professor in the Centre for Veterinary Wildlife Studies at UP before his recent death. He obtained an MScAgric cum laude from the University of Pretoria, a BScAgric from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a PhD from the University of Cambridge in the UK. The University of the Witwatersrand bestowed its highest academic honour, DSc honoris causa, on Prof Skinner in recognition of his huge contribution to SA and international science in the fields of zoology and mammalogy. Unfortunately, Prof Skinner died in August before he could receive his Laureate Award. The TuksAlumni Board decided to proceed with the award as the decision had already been made at the time of his death.

In 1972, he was appointed Director of the newly established Mammal Research Institute at UP, a post which he held for 26 years. During his tenure John has made the Institute the best-known centre for mammal research in Africa and one of the best-known centres of its kind in the world. During his years as Director he was also Head of the Department of Zoology for many years. Nineteen of John's numerous students have become professors at universities, four have become deans of Science and more than 100 PhD students enjoyed his attention and encouragement over the years. During his career he has championed zoology and has written or edited several books about Southern Africa's mammals, the best known of which is Mammals of the Southern African Subregion found in university libraries all over the world.

He has published more than 350 original scientific papers. During the past year he was the principal author of at least another five papers, one of which will appear as a chapter in the forthcoming Handbook of World Mammals. He held several international posts, such as chairperson of the Hyena Specialist Group of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and served as a consultant to foundations, councils and trusts in the USA, UK and Germany.

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