About Lauren Kansley

Lauren is a Communication Officer in the Marketing and Communication Department. She writes stories about general news and the faculties of Health and Wellness Sciences and Informatics and Design. Tel: +27 21 953 8646 Email: kansleyl@cput.ac.za

Diamonds and Divas dine at Hotel School

An afternoon of inspiring speakers, entertainment and a bulging goodie bag was on the offering for guests at the recent Diamonds and Divas event.

Hosted by the Daily Voice newspaper at the Cape Town Hotel School the event profiled interesting female entrepreneurs and introduced readers to the all-female reporting staff.

Comedian Marc Lottering and Cape Town favourite Alistair Izobell entertained the mostly female audience in between a decadent three course offering of canapés, fish or chicken and vanilla panacotta.

The entire event was serviced by the second year hospitality students and the school’s Marketing and Functions coordinator Lauren Christians received a special gift basket from organisers to thank her for going above and beyond to assist them.

Positivity infuses Vice-Chancellor’s vision

One month into his new job as Vice-Chancellor, Dr Chris Nhlapo is already seeing small changes that he is optimistic will translate into a transformed CPUT ready to tackle its Vision 2030 ambitions.

Nhlapo has been at the institution for 11 years and is the architect of the university’s research and innovation blueprint, the seeds of this initially sown when CPUT was still grappling with its transformation from a Technikon into a University of Technology.

These seeds are now bearing fruit and Nhlapo says CPUT is primed and in position to take its rightful place as a leader in the fourth industrial revolution where robotics and artificial intelligence are key industries.

“This institution is one of the top universities in the country and I am positive that it can and will be done,” he says.

Nhlapo says his career at the National Research Foundation and later as Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research, Technology, Innovation and Partnerships has prepared him well for the rigours of the job at hand.

“I have to say thank you to the former VC’s in my career who have allowed me the space to experiment and try some of the ideas that I had. They created a positivity in me and that infuses the attitude that I now have for the role of VC.

“There is much that can be done and it will be done, with the support of my executive management team we will accomplish our ambitions.”

Nhlapo says evidence of the hard work taking place across campuses is already being felt.

“Years ago at the NRF I would do campus visits and I was always struck by how well maintained the campus was – from the gardens to the buildings. When I returned for the second semester in July I was reminded of that same feeling when I drove into campus and walked into the administration building with its shiny floor.”

Nhlapo is determined that all staff should feel the same sense of pride and a major infrastructure and development renovation is underway across campuses to return them to their former glory. From new residences to fixing the damage caused during crisis the new look buildings are already common place.

“CPUT does not belong to us who are here now, rather we are the guardians of the institution for the future generations. We will leave behind a legacy far beyond our time here,” says Nhlapo.

Keen to Green

The plants in the administration building of the Bellville campus have been lovingly cared for by the same pair of hands for well over a decade.

Christiaan Wynand has been a member of the gardening service department for 30 years and for the past ten years he has been tasked with tending indoor plants, of which the admin buildings greenery is a big part.

Wynand says caring for plants is second nature and he knows exactly what they need to keep thriving. Many of the plants are well over 20 years old and are showing no sign of age.

“I know when to feed and water them, prune them. It’s a big privilege for me to work with these plants, they don’t stress me out,” he says.

He says the plants are also extremely hard wearing and have survived weeks without water during campus closures.

Wynand is also the mastermind behind the creative stage décor at all graduation ceremonies.

Food for Thought

Conceptualising a five course meal for industry experts can be an intimidating experience but Food and Beverage students took this in their stride at their latest practical assessment.

The third year students prepared a feast which included homemade brioche, rosemary chicken goujons, butter basted Chateaubriand with a crispy potato rose flower and for dessert a black sesame macaroon with a yogurt and honey panna cotta paired with iced coffee.

The meal was accompanied by a wine pairing and front of house students were also expected to act as sommeliers and explain how the wine complimented each course.

At the end of the meal the front of house staff joined the kitchen staff for a face to face critique from industry experts, alumni, suppliers and staff.

Allister Esau the Vice President of the SA Chefs Association gave a lengthy critique on each course and complimented the students on a job well done.

“When we judge we always start at 100% and deduct from there but rarely go below 50% because we don’t want to break anyone’s spirit,” he says.

Engineering his own destiny

It was a case of third time lucky for a dyslexic Second Chance graduate who tried to improve his matric results in order to get into CPUT.

Today Naasih Mallick, 21, is enrolled into his first year of Civil Engineering studies and is looking forward to the day he can look at a building he had helped to create after graduating.

Mallick first matriculated from Harold Cressey High in 2015 but was unhappy with his mediocre pass. A year later he attempted to study for a rewrite by himself but again his lacklustre final results were not enough to get him a spot in university.

Luckily his father spotted CPUT’s Second Chance programme being offered by the Service Learning Unit and the young man enrolled for three subjects – Mathematics Physics and Accountancy.

Manager of the Second Chance programme Jacqui Scheepers says Naasih was the ideal student because he was diligent, considerate and supported by concerned parents.

“Despite his disability Naasih was a role model to other students and his parents also played a critical role in his success, he is an example of how well a student can do if they have the appropriate level of parental support,” she says.

Naasih says the programme brought out the best in him and today he has ambitions of finishing top of his class.

“I really connected with the teachers and I also assisted in class as much as I could,” he says.
“I organised study groups and made sure I attended every single class.”

The Second Chance programme is having a limited run in 2018 and is already full.

Caro Wiese Bursary Awarded

The Caro Wiese bursary recently honoured two CPUT students for succeeding against all odds at CPUT.

This award is given to two CPUT students (one female and one male)  who have succeeded in overcoming extremely difficult circumstances to realise their full academic potential. They have a track record of high achievement despite the most formidable social, physical, or other personal challenges.

The 2017 recipients are Ntombimazondwa Ndaku and Motlhabani Moremi. Both students have focussed their attention on their studies and achieved excellent results relative to the opportunities they have had.

Prof Joseph Kioko, who was on the selection panel, says an award of this nature doesn’t just stop with a financial benefit.

“Students like these inspire us and the people around them. It says that ‘if they can make it then it means that I can too’. It’s like a pebble in a pool, if one person succeeds in spite of challenges it makes a difference to them and to everyone else in their communities,”

Ntombimazondwa, who is a fourth year Radiography student, says the bursary has eased the pressure on her, her sister who is also a CPUT student and her elderly father back home. Setting her mind on one day serving her community, she plans to own a mobile truck with x-ray machines which she can take to the far-flung rural areas to assist her extended community.

“Today I have very little stress apart from the academics. Today is a big step forward towards achieving what I always dreamed of and I am really grateful for that,” she says.

Motlhabani a third year Mechanical Engineering student, says there have been three significant individuals at CPUT who have cared for him and these are: Mr Luvuyo Kekaza – the Student Engagement Co-ordinator of the Faculty of Engineering; and Mr Simpiwe Nqabisa, a lecturer in Mechanical Engineering and his house parent Zukiswa Sebokedi.  He also thanked Mrs Wiese for this incredible opportunity.

Committee Chair, Prof Janet Condy, reflected on the selection process saying it was a difficult task to select only two recipients out of a large pool of students who have achieved academically and yet are needy candidates.

“It was pleasing to see so many students apply for this Caro Wiese Award. We received 36 applications from females and 46 from males. This list was reduced to 4 males and 4 females and after a day of interviewing the candidates we had to finally make a decision.  These two students came out tops!” she says.

The Caro Wiese Committee members wish these students well with their futures. The next Caro Wiese award will be awarded in 2020 and only to one student.

New look for Design Building

First year students will be visiting a refreshed looking Design building thanks to lecturers who used their own time and money to give the space a makeover.

Senior Lecturer in Fashion Design Annadine Vlok used an unconventional method to fill the space left by broken tiles, filling the crevice with a transparent plastic dotted with buttons.A R5 coin glued to the floor is also certain to attract lots of attention.

Other lecturers also painted the stairwell a vibrant geometric pattern and the benches, which are a popular seating area for students, have also been covered with fun vinyl covers.

At Surface Design some of the remnants of a fire have been artfully presented alongside interesting student work.

Dean of the Informatics and Design Faculty Prof Johannes Cronje says he is proud of the lecturing staff for taking ownership of their work space.

“They used their own time and money to revamp the space in a creative way after it was ruined during the crisis. I am sure the incoming batch of students will appreciate the effort too,” he says.

Special Donation to Delft School 


While others focused their attention on the recent protests one CPUT student had very different things on his mind.

During the third semester BTech student Sibabalwe Nqamla started his Donate a Pad Project (DAPP) and after a few weeks of collecting had collected around 100 packs of sanitary towels.

Each of the brightly marked collection boxes were decorated with a poem about a girl called Akhona who missed school because of her period.

Sibabalwe wrote the poem and co-ordinated the project with fellow student Karabo Yankho Ciocha.

The pair came up with the idea after Sibabalwe was involved in a similar project at his alma mater, Tshwane University of Technology.

“The nursing students there told me about some of the things that women went through and the illnesses that they could face because they don’t have access to sanitary towels,” he says.

“When I came to CPUT I saw that it was also a problem here and I decided to launch DAPP.”

The lucky recipients of the boxes were students from Masibambisane High School in Delft where a grateful Deputy Principal Nomfundo Mzazi accepted the donation.

“We received a similar donation from a company a while back and that stock was running low. We were trying to limit the number of pads we were handing out so that we always had for emergencies. This donation from an angel has come at just the right time which means our prayers were answered,” she explains.

Sibabalwe says he selected the Science and Mathematics speciality school because it was recommended by people who donated to DAPP.

Belgium bound students

Three Faculty of Informatics and Design students will be jetting off to Hasselt University in Belgium shortly for a once in a lifetime student exchange programme, funded by the Flemish Priority Country Programme (PCP).

Xenophen Masipa, Tiana Rall and Lorraine Cronje were selected after an intensive double application programme that saw students go through two shortlisting processes – one in-house at CPUT and one in Belgium – to get to the final three. Lecturer Rudolf Perold says the competition was open to third year Interior Design and Architectural Technology students and would see them travel to Belgium for the September to January semester.

“We were looking for academically strong students, with an enthusiasm for representing our institution abroad and getting to know one of our partner universities better”.

“While the programme allows for a travel and subsistence allowance, students are required to cover a portion of the costs themselves.”

Perold says that CPUT students have done exceptionally well in previous exchanges and that Xenophen, Tiana and Lorraine would return as ambassadors for the experience while studying towards their BTech qualifications.

Recently, CPUT Interior Design graduate Rifqah Allie returned from Hasselt University after successfully applying for a Flemish Mastermind scholarship and completing her International Masters in Interior Design at the institution.