University of Pretoria Logo
English |  Afrikaans |    


Welcome to AlumNews, a regular item in the TuksAlumni Newsletter in which you can read all about the latest achievements of fellow alumni as reflected in the media. In this edition, we pay tribute to Dr James Howell, former chairperson of the UP Council who passed away recently. We also focus on Prof Fritz Eloff, who published a book entitled Giants of the Desert at the age of 90. 

You are welcome to submit contributions to Be sure to include your UP qualifications and the years in which you graduated. 


  • Spalding Fourie (MCom Industrial Psychology, 1992) is an investment strategist and certified financial planner with 12 years' experience who has been heading up First National Bank’s Investment Product House since 2005. Prior to this, Spalding was employed at Sanlam for eight years in several capacities after he had had his own training consultancy.
  • Prof JW (Pretorius) Heuchert (BA, 1981; BA(Hons) Psychology, 1984) received the Outstanding Service Award from the Peace Psychology Division (Division 48: Society for the Study of Peace Conflict and Violence) of the American Psychological Association (APA) at the most recent convention of the APA in San Diego, California.
  • Charlene Gunter (BA, 2005; BA(Hons) Professional and Technical Writing, 2006), currently enrolled for an MPhil in Entrepreneurship and Small Business Management at UP, has been the director of the Golden Key International Honour Society: South Africa since 2008. Golden Key will celebrate ten years of existence during a regional conference between 24 and 26 September 2010 at the University of Pretoria.
  • Leon Pretorius (BProc) was appointed legal specialist officer at the head office of the United Association of South Africa (UASA) from 1 May last year. He will provide professional support to the Legal and Specialist Services division and has extensive experience of labour law.
  • Dr Linda Makuleni is the CEO of the South African Weather Service (SAWS). The SAWS celebrated 150 years of meteorological services to South Africans on 26 October 2010. Under Linda’s leadership, there have been major improvements and innovations in the observation network, in particular.
  • Frikkie (FT) Kotzee (BCom Accounting, 1992; BCom(Hons), 1993) is the group financial director of African Oxygen (Afrox). He is a CA(SA) and completed his articles in 1996. He obtained a BProc in 1997 as well as a Bachelor of Law in 2000.
  • Gus Mills (BSc(Hons), MSc, PhD) has recently launched a book entitled Hyena Nights and Kalahari Days, published by Jacana Media. The book deals with the hyenas of the Kalahari, where he did extensive research.
  •  Lodewyk (Don) Turvey  (BEng Mining Engineering) has been appointed as the inaugural CEO of Continental Coal. He has more than 25 years’ experience in and knowledge of the South African mining industry and has held several senior management positions. He also holds a master’s degree in business leadership from Unisa and serves on the advisory board of the Department of Mining Engineering at UP.
  • Prof Mandla Makhanya (DPhil Sociology) has been appointed as the new Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of South Africa. He will succeed Prof Barney Pityana. In addition to the qualification he earned at UP, Prof Makhanya completed a management programme at Harvard Business School.
  • Dr Thami Mazwai (DCom, 2009) is the director of the Centre for Small Business Development (CSBD) at the University of Johannesburg. He is passionate about small business and also has qualifications from Harvard and Oxford universities.
  • Kobus Goosen (BSc Eng Mechanical, 1975) was appointed as the general manager of the Klein Karoo Cooperative in Oudtshoorn shortly after the 50th anniversary of the cooperative.
  • Dr Langelihle Simela (PhD, 2005) has been appointed the new CEO of the National Emergent Red Meat Producers’ Organisation (NERPO).
  • Kgosientsho Ramokgopa  (M Public Admin, 2003) was appointed as new mayor of the Tshwane Metropolitan Council. He is studying towards his PhD in public administration at UP and was named 2008 MTN Boss of the Year, 2009 CEO of the Year and the Young Business Achiever of the Year by Black Business Quarterly.
  • Luckson Mujati  (MSc Project Management, 2009) is the new country manager of SSI Engineers and Environmental Consultants’ Zimbabwe office. Luckson has worked for SSI since 2007 as an airports engineer responsible for managing local and multinational projects and maintenance works throughout Africa. Recently he worked on several strategic aviation planning and aviation-related projects for the World Cup 2010 in South Africa.
  • Cuthbert Mamabolo (BSc, 2002; MSc Agric, 2008; PDBA, 2008) joined Novus International as regional technical marketing manager for Southern Africa. He and his team render technical support to the distributors, agents and key customers for methionine and specialty products. Novus is an international developer of animal health and nutrition programmes.
  • Chamonix Terblanche was selected as student representative at the University Council of the Curtin University in Australia for the term 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011. Chamonix is currently doing her PhD at this university and acts as alumni representative in that part of Australia. The University Council consists of 17 members, nine of whom are selected from Curtin and eight from outside the university. Curtin University is the biggest university in Western Australia and the second biggest international university in Australia, and currently has 45 000 students.   
Prof Jeanette Hacket, Vice-Chancellor of Kurtin University,
oseph Quick, student-elected university council member, 
Chamonix Terblanche, student-elected university council
member and Dr Jim Gill, Chancellor and chair of the
University Council



Prof Fritz Eloff publishes book at 90

Prof Fritz Eloff, former head of the Zoology Department at UP, has recently published a book at 90 years of age. Giants of the desert was published 50 years after Prof Eloff promised his friends he would write a book about desert elephants – that is according to Mr Nicol Stassen of Protea, publisher of the book.

Giants of the desert is a fascinating introduction to the harsh world of the Kaokoveld and its denizens, vividly brought to life in both images and words. The Kaokoveld, one of the world’s most forbidding wastes, is host to an assortment of animals that have found ways of surviving in this hostile environment. Here giraffes go entirely without water and rhinos climb towering mountains in search of that scarce resource.

But most unforgettable of all must be the elephants of the Namib. Witnessing these giants cross bare sand dunes is a once-in-a-lifetime sight, and Prof Eloff writes evocatively of their habits and environment.

Prof Eloff was head of the Zoology Department for 31 years from 1954 to 1985. During this period he made an endelible mark on this field of study, both in Southern Africa and internationally. He was the chairman of the National Parks Board of South Africa for 15 years (1979 to 1994), chaired the Council of Curators, Transvaal Museum, for 28 years and has contributed to numerous scientific and zoological publications.

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Prof Cheryl
de la Rey, visited alumnus, Prof Fritz Eloff, recently.   

In memoriam: Dr James Howell 

With the passing away of Dr James Howell on 24 January this year, the University of Pretoria lost one of its most famous alumni.  As one of Tukkies’ first students in the Faculty of Dentistry, and later (in 1949) as chairperson of the Student Council, Dr Howell made a constructive contribution to the establishment of a healthy student life.  

He was elected a member of the University Council in 1964, where he distinguished himself to the extent that he served as chairperson from 1984 until his retirement in 1990. In this capacity he made an incalculable contribution to the growth and development of the University through his purposeful leadership and his civilised and charming conduct. 

The honorary doctorate DSc(Odont) (honoris causa) the University conferred on Dr Howell and the Laureate Award he received in 1985 are proof of the recognition and high esteem that Dr Howell enjoyed in the University community.