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The Beat

Editor’s Note


Three months into the job and I am still as excited at prospects of being part of the TUT Alumni Relations Team as I was when the offer was made. I am mostly proud to join the team that produces this award winning newsletter. The pressure is mounting though, to up the standard while exploring other innovative ways of keeping you, our Alumni engaged.


This first edition for 2017 promises to live up to the accolades brought by the 6 editions we had last year. True to our objectives, we will take you on a journey in celebration of our fellow Alumni. Read about the talented Ntsepa Pitjeng-Molebatsi’s globetrotting with the Lion King cast or the ground-breaking medical technology pioneered by Marthinus Bekker in Germany. We also had a pleasure of a one-on-one conversation with Lerato Tshabalala, exploring a life of a young woman in Engineering Research.


We are also making a call for you to

participate in one of the University’s

Building Naming and Renaming project.


This initiative is aimed at contributing to the otherwise deeper transformation discourse touched on by the VC in his regular column. You may choose to make a submission as an individual or contribute via your Convocation Executive.


Lastly, we have decided to reduce the number of issues for Our Beat from 6 to 4 per year. We did this in order to also focus our attention on engagement via the social media and other online platforms. We encourage you to please follow us on Facebook and Twitter, like our pages, tag your fellow alumni and lead the engagement. Look out for our Instagram page which will be launched soon.


Join us in true TUT style – we empower people!


Mosimanegape David Sedumedi

Manager Alumni Relations and Fundraising


EDITOR: Kefentse Molotsane

CONTRIBUTORS: Bongani Mtshwene,
Willa de Ruyter, David Sedumedi


Do you think South Africa needs a cabinet reshuffle ?
Poll Maker

Win yourself this awesome laptop bag

All you have to do is answer the following question (don’t fret, you should get the answer somewhere in this edition): WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE CHARACTER THAT NTSEPA MOLEBATSI PLAYS IN THE LION KING?


Please send your answer, name and contact number to before or on 30 April 2017. Please mark the subject field: COMPETITION.


The winner for last edition’s competition is
Ashley Crookes. Only registered TUT alumni can enter. Good luck!



In the spirit of collective participation and fast-tracking the process of transformation, we would like to call for submissions for the naming and renaming of TUT facilities.


We invite stakeholders to make submissions for any facility deemed fit for consideration in the naming and renaming process. The submissions should be in line with the Policy on Naming and Renaming of TUT Facilities. Kindly note that there are two submission dates, 30 March 2017 and 28 April 2017.


Please click on the links to access the policy on Naming and Renaming TUT Facilities and the submission form.






All submissions should be addressed to the Chairperson, Prof HM Sirayi, and the submission e-mail is

Submission form

Naming and Renaming Policy

This publication may contain third party advertisements and links to third party sites. The Tshwane University of Technology does not make any representation as to the accuracy or suitability of any of the information contained in these advertisements or sites and does not accept any responsibility or liability for the conduct or content of those advertisements and sites and the offerings made by the third parties.

Dear Alumni,


With the first term of 2017 already drawing to an end, the TUT community certainly has a lot to reflect on.

Update from the VC

First of all I would like to express the University’s deepest condolences to the family and friends of Ahmed Kathrada on his recent passing. Uncle Kathy, as he was affectionately known, is the last of a generation of struggle heroes. He was a humble humanitarian, who lived an inspirational life of servant leadership. I would like to share one of his quotes that has struck an emotional cord with me: “Hatred, revenge, bitterness - these are negative emotions. The person harbouring those emotions suffers more.”


Looking Back


The successful completion of the academic project in 2016, despite serious threats and challenges, is undoubtedly something to celebrate. This not only allowed TUT to qualify for the projected NSFAS funding and subsidies for 2017, the University actually received almost double the projected NSFAS allocation. In addition, an allocation of more than R1.2 billion rand will go a long way in assisting the so-called missing middle this year.


The University is excited that it achieved its first year enrolments with a total of 14 995 new students registered this year. The 100 000 applications received from prospective students for study is a strong indication of the need for access to higher education and training by young people who want to better their lives.




Long-term stability and sustainability are high priorities for both the TUT Council and Management. I would like to thank and commend Council for their staunch support of Management to steer the University in this direction.  At a Governance level, the re-election of the Chair and Deputy-Chair for another two-year term, is a tangible motion of confidence in the leadership they have been providing to assist TUT to achieve these priorities. Two Council experts who are Ministerial appointments, Prof Janis Grobbelaar and Ms Lulama Nare’s reappointment for another term, as well as the appointment of an expert with a specific maintenance skills set by the Minister, will further support the drive towards stability.


Filling vacancies at Executive Management level is being addressed as a matter of urgency. The positions of Deputy Vice-Chancellor:  Postgraduate Studies, Research, Innovation and Engagement and Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Student Affairs and Extracurricular Development have been advertised.

In addition two positions for Executive Directors and one Senior Director have been advertised, namely Executive Director:


Institutional Effectiveness and Technology, Executive Director:  Institutional Support and Senior Director: Strategic Operations.


Re-igniting the brand


Recurring adverse events, such as staff strikes and student protest action, have had a markedly negative impact on the image and reputation of TUT. In view of this, Council has approved the establishment of a Strategic Marketing and Communication Committee (a subcommittee of Council) to assist with the roll-out of institution wide projects and campaigns aimed at improving TUT’s image and reputation. One of the important focus areas of this committee will be to work closely with Corporate Affairs and Marketing and provide support in generating positive media publicity for the University.


Commitment to transformation


The number of #MustFall campaigns that have surfaced in the country since 2015, is a clear indication of the need for change, especially in higher education. During the EMC Strategic Workshop late last year, it was decided that TUT will hold a Transformation Summit in 2017, to give concerted attention to transformation at the University. Broad Transformation conversations, driven from my office, have since begun in earnest. It is intended that these discussions and other activities will lead to the finalisation of a comprehensive TUT Transformation Framework, which will provide an intellectually and conceptually sound contextual underpinning to developing a new transformation narrative and plan of action.  The proposed Summit would be one of the activities in support of enabling University stakeholders to reach consensus around a new University transformation narrative or story.


In conclusion, we look forward to the Autumn graduation ceremonies that will commence towards the middle of April. Giving recognition to more than 10 000 successful students, is one of the highlights on the academic calendar. I would like to congratulate each and every student who will receive a qualification and trust that they will become active Alumni who will go the extra mile to assist in alleviating the financial woes of students country-wide.


Born to



When Ntsepa Pitjeng- Molebatsi, auditioned for South Africa’s edition of Idols in 2009, she didn’t think for a second that she would even land a leading role on one of the most successful musicals in history – Broadway’s The Lion King.

The Mokopane born lady holds a Pretoria Technikon Diploma in Drama and plays the role of Rafiki, a mandrill who lives in a baobab tree in the Pride lands and performs shamanistic services for the lions of Pride Rock. Rafiki, whose name means “friend” in Swahili, relates well with Ntsepa’s jovial charisma. “Rafiki is a strong character who pulls all the other characters in the play together,” Ntsepa said.


Coming from a drama background, landing the role in theatre, meant that she needed to learn how to get into the character of Rafiki. “I had to learn how to embody the character. I absorbed the traits and mannerisms of the character.”


Ntsepa, who is the last born in her family, has always had a knack for performing, “From a young age everyone, including my family, would tell me that I needed to be on television because I was so talkative and dramatic. I would entertain my family, mimicking the actresses that I saw on TV.”


Ntsepa has been with the production for the past eight years, touring the globe. The production started in Las Vegas, USA and later moved on to other countries such as, Switzerland, Australia and Brazil, to name a few. The production is now showing in Shanghai, China.

“In this industry, you need patience to survive. It’s also about who you know. One needs to go out there and meet people, work hard, socialise more and build relationships.”

For someone who sings, dances, and performs so much, she is actually a bookworm. Ntsepa says she enjoys working out, watching TV and relaxing when she’s back home. She also knows how to speak various languages including Portuguese and Mandarin.


The fiery feminist also has ambitions of making moves behind the scenes, producing her own local content and ideas. She looks up to Oprah Winfrey and would like to follow her footsteps by producing her own magazine and talk show.


“I’m passionate about women’s issues. I want to interview them, find out about their lives and inspire others with their actions no matter the area of expertise,” she said.


Her message to people who would like to be successful, especially students, is to learn and know oneself. She stresses the idea of patience and resilience. “There is a lot more going on in industry than we think. My wish for TUT students is that they receive more guidance and exposure to industry so that they see the reality of this business.”


One of her favourite lecturers to date is Janine Lewis of the Drama Department who helped her discover her body and her place in performing arts.


She has done educational theatre and children’s plays. Ntsepa auditioned for Idols SA in 2009, and eventually made it to the Top 10.


See Ntsepa in action on the YouTube links below:




AGE: 38


CURRENT OCCUPATION: Senior Research Engineer at CSIR - National Laser Centre

  • What does a Senior Research Engineer at CSIR - National Laser Centre do?
  • A The purpose of the position is to support SA industries through research and development. I provide research leadership within the group and create platforms where effective interactions can be facilitated with other professionals within the group, the CSIR, and other industrial stakeholders. Execute feasibility studies and pilot projects in the field of laser materials processing with Research and Development (R&D) in Additive Manufacturing currently being the focal point.


  • Why did you choose to do your post graduate studies with TUT than any other university?
  • TUT has offered me the best environment to nurture my passion and dedication for R&D. I joined TUT when I was doing my B Tech and the lecturers who were specialists in Physical Metallurgy brought to my attention great prospects offered by the subject, especially at post graduate level.


  • What is your biggest accomplishment in your career to date?
  • My greatest achievement is to have had the opportunity to inspire the love for education in South African youth while developing the mind and harnessing the skills. I found pleasure in ensuring that each student gained richly from their academic experience. Additionally, the passion to find the means to apply the academic knowledge gained were constantly emphasized and encouraged. I have since classified post graduate studies as another form of entrepreneurship which should build ones capacity and capability.


  • Who is your role model and why?
  • A I have more than one role model whom I also consider as my mentors, though at different points in my life:
  1. Prof Ben van Wyk, for his wonderful leadership style which is grounded on growing potential and fostering innovative ideas.
  2. Prof Ntebogeng Mokgalaka, she has done well for herself from humble beginnings. However, despite all odds, she rose to high levels of academia as an established rated research professional. When I grow up I want to be just like her.


  • What goal have you set for yourself, to achieve in 2017?
  • I aspire to make an impact in research management structures.
  • How do you deal with negative criticism?
  • I try to find the silver lining in any negative situation I am faced with. Quite often, what may seem like negative criticism can actually grow a person, if one is willing to listen.


  • What do you do in your spare time?
  • I spend time with my family, my kids are my joy, and I read a lot any chance I get.


  • Do you have a motto that you live your life by?
  • A My deepest fear is not that I am inadequate, my biggest fear is that I am powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. Playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.


  • Where do you draw your inspiration from?
  • I draw my inspiration from my belief in God’s greatness, my church and my family.


  • How do you “give back” in life?
  • I am one of the founders of the EDUDESK program based in Mamelodi, St Francis Anglican Church. The key mandate is to encourage others to see the value in education and to be positive role models who encourage and support school learners to qualify and pursue tertiary level education. Over the years the program was able to facilitate tutoring, career expos and various activities to raise funds to cover registration fees for well-deserving students. The program has now grown to support full tuition for undergraduate studies.


  • Who has had an important influence on your life as an actor?
  • Leroy Jethro Gibbs, the most skilled at handling standoffs; he depends on his other agents heavily for technical forensics and background checks. He is patient but firm with his team and has little patience for bureaucracy.


  • What was the best advice you were ever given?
  • There’s no specific advice, I have wonderful people in my life, from my immediate family, to friends and strangers that I interact with daily. With each experience, I have drawn wisdom, values and principles which today, have shaped me to be the best version of myself. Thus, I don’t have any specific advice which I would qualify as the “best” because at different times in my life, I have received valuable advice from different kinds of people.




Marthinus Bekker, the genius behind the Unified Incubation and Detection System (UIDS)

Alumnus, Marthinus Bekker, has once again proved that he’s the new age kid Macgyver with his latest invention - the Unified Incubation and Detection System (UIDS). This is Marthinus’ second invention following the ‘The Rain Catcher’, a device he invented in 2012 that can collect hundreds of litres of drinking water when placed outside in the rain.


Marthinus, a TUT Clinical Engineering graduate, works as a medical device consultant and educational expert for a medical device company based in Germany.


“My active daily duties include, training of engineers on Hematology and Hemostasis analyzers and development of course material. I also run my own privately funded think tank where I specialize in designs and inventions relating to medical technology,” he says.


Marthinus says the UIDS which was published by his employer, focuses on reducing the size of specific medical diagnostic devices and the technology used.

“The design does not change the current main goal of testing blood samples but it allows for major system components to be integrated into one assembly. This integration thus allow for a smaller instrument footprint with regard to throughput, samples to be loaded in a measurement ring and yet be able to deliver results on moving samples”, he added.


The Pretoria born inventor says he’s currently working on another private design which focuses on assisting surgeons during Aortic Arch Surgeries when deep hypothermic circulatory arrest (DHCA) is applied.


“With this design, I also want to focus on providing a solution to Human Torporing to assist during possible future missions to Mars,” he indicates.


He says although most of his inventions rely on international interest as most major medical device manufacturers are located in Europe, Asia or America, he plans to bring some of these designs to the South African market.


“I currently don’t have any plans to return to South Africa, but I will definitely be visiting from time to time. I do however, dream of remotely driving R&D centers in South Africa, thus allowing talented students to develop their ideas with support,” he concludes.