GEORGE NEWS - The first and very exciting Eden Dux Alumni Homecoming held at Tramonto recently follows four years after the Jeda Foundation and EDENfm established the Dux Awards for the top matriculants in the district, together with the Western Cape Education Department (WCED).
Over the last several years, the Jeda Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation that focuses on Education and Development for leadership, has partnered with EDENfm to expand the Dux Awards.
"To this end, it initiated the Dux Homecoming to strengthen the leadership, mentorship and networking of the alumni at their reunion," says Jeda president, Prof Quinton Johnson.
According to Johnson, they initiated the Dux Homecoming to strengthen the leadership, mentorship and networking of the alumni at their reunion.
The director of the Jeda Foundation, Dr Bridget Johnson, said that with EDENfm they created a fantastic programme for the dux alumni, as well as aspirant dux learners from schools. George Mayor Melvin Naik opened the Homecoming and warmly welcomed the alumni back. Many are now university students enrolled for medicine, accounting, management, nursing and education.
Speakers included Dr Johnson, Roger Jacobs of the WCED, Prof Tania Douglas, the South African Research chair for biomedical engineering at the University of Cape Town and Presidential Rising Icon awardee, Councillor Colan Sylvester, the mayor of Oudtshoorn and acting group CEO of PetroSA Bongani Sayidini, who also received the Presidential Rising Icon award. Douglas is a former learner of Pacaltsdorp High School and Sayidini is from Oudtshoorn.
EDENfm's Morne Pietersen was programme director and Melvin Naik welcomed the guests while Knysna Mayor Mark Willemse offered a wonderfully uplifting message of congratulations to all the dux alumni for their many outstanding achievements.
The Homecoming was made possible by a partnership with the municipalities of George, Oudtshoorn, Knysna, Mossel Bay and Knysna as well as Cape Estates and the WCED, to all of whom they expressed grateful thanks.
PRESIDENTIAL RISING ICON AWARDEES
Prof Tania Doulas, UCT:
Douglas receives this Jeda Presidential Rising Icon Award for over 20 years' excellence in academic, professional and community achievements. She matriculated from Pacaltsdorp High School with distinction. She went on to finish her degree at UCT, MS (Vanderbilt, US) and PhD (Strathclyde, UK), all in biomedical engineering. She specialised in Japan, Germany, England and the United States. She also holds the MBA (UCT) for which she received the Old Mutual Gold Medal and MPhil (SUN) in applied ethics. She returned to UCT where she rose through the ranks to full professor over 19 years. She was Deputy Dean in the Faculty of health sciences and now holds the prestigious South African Research chair in biomedical engineering. She is a journal editor-in-chief, fellow of the South African Academy of Engineering, member of the Academy of Science of South Africa, a fellow of UCT and fellow of the International Academy for Medical and Biological Engineering.
Acting Group CEO Bongani Sayidini, PetroSA:
Sayidini receives the Jeda Presidential Rising Icon Award for over 20 years' excellence in academic, professional and community achievements. Sayidini matriculated at Fezekile High School in Oudtshoorn. He holds a Bachelor of technology in chemical engineering (BTech) [Cape Peninsula University of Technology]; a Master of science (MSc) in petroleum engineering [University of London] and diploma [Imperial College London]; a Master of laws (LLM) in petroleum law and policy with distinction [University of Dundee, Scotland] and a Master of business administration (MBA) [University of Cape Town]. Furthermore, he is completing a PhD in petroleum law, at the University of Cape Town. Sayidini started his petroleum industry career 19 years ago as a production engineer at PetroSA's GTL refinery. He later became a reservoir engineer and worked in multi-disciplinary project teams evaluating oil and gas opportunities in Africa. He rose up the ranks in petroleum engineering until he reached the level of principal reservoir engineer. He subsequently joined PetroSA's corporate strategy and planning as a strategist and head of business intelligence. Sayidini became regional manager for East Africa, and was responsible for the identification, and techno-commercial evaluation of oil and gas opportunities in the region. His role within PetroSA increased in 2016 to cover unconventional resources in South Africa within the context of business development across Africa and rest of the world. Sayidini is vice-president for exploration and production and was recently appointed Acting Group CEO of PetroSA.
PRESIDENTIAL LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT ICON AWARDEES
She receives the Jeda Presidential Lifetime Achievement Icon Award for over 50 years' excellence in academic, professional and community achievements. She attended Hibernia Primary School and George High School. Furthermore, she studied at Battswood College, qualified as a teacher and taught at Pacaltsdorp as well as Kretzenshoop primary schools. She married Franklin Sonn in George and they have two children, both astute entrepreneurs, as well as four loving grandchildren. In Cape Town, she taught at Bishop Lavis Primary School and Spes Bona High School specialising in accountancy, English and Afrikaans. Furthermore, she hosted her own show on Radio Good Hope over 19 years, engaging the public on a number of topical matters and interviewing many famous personalities including heart pioneer Dr Chris Barnard. Sonn was president of the Kaapse Vroueklub. They were instrumental in initiating contact across the boundaries of race, religion and culture.
She was appointed president of the South African Women's Cultural Association (SAWCO) that built creches and schools in Malmesbury, Bishop Lavis and Kraaifontein. She was instrumental in the name change of the Nico Malan Theatre to Artscape, and served on the latter's board. She was one of the founding members of the Turfhall Cheshire Home for the handicapped as well as the Langa Home, and served as vice-president of the board. While in the USA, Sonn was appointed deputy president of the SADC Ambassadors Wives Club. She also served as the deputy president of the Commonwealth Ambassadors Wives Club. She worked closely with the women's group of the NAACP and temporarily filled the position of cultural and educational attaché hosting many important dignitaries. Since her return home, she is often seen at her alma mater, George High School's cultural evenings supporting the arts, whilst contributing to her community in many important ways through her philanthropy.
Ambassador Dr Franklin Sonn:
He is a well-known educationist and anti-apartheid activist and receives the Jeda Presidential Lifetime Achievement Icon Award for over 50 years' excellence in academic, professional and community achievements. He has two children who excel in business and four adoring grandchildren. He holds the BA and BA (Hons) degrees from University Western Cape and 13 honorary doctorates from national and international universities. He was a teacher, principal and president of Teacher Unions for many years. In 1978, he became rector of Peninsula Technikon and for a long time led marches against apartheid education with the late Prof Jakes Gerwel and Archbishop Desmond Tutu, amongst many, to move the nation towards a democratic South Africa. While organisations like the ANC were still banned, he attracted attention by leading the teacher's union to openly identify with the democratic struggle via the ANC, while at the same time ensuring a safe environment for staff and students to continue their studies. In 1995, President Nelson Mandela appointed Sonn as ambassador to the United States, where he served with distinction. Upon his return home, he was appointed chancellor of the University of the Free State, where he successfully inspired transformation. Among his many prestigious awards, he received the Order of the Disa from the Province of the Western Cape, a special order of distinction from the Mayor of the City of Cape Town and the National Order of the Baobab from President Mbeki. He has served on the boards of numerous multinational companies, and continues to support many good causes through his philanthropy.
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