Jeanette Curtis (nee Schoon, 1966, b.1948 – d.1984)

Jeanette was honoured posthumously at an awards ceremony at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on 27 April 2014. She was awarded the bronze Order of Luthuli.

The Order of Luthuli is a South African honour. It was instituted on 30 November 2003, and is granted by the president of South Africa, for contributions to South Africa in the following fields: (i) the struggle for democracy, (ii) building democracy and human rights, (iii) nation-building, (iv) justice and peace, and (v) conflict resolution.

For more details on her life, please visit the links below:
– Jeanette’s role in creating SA history
– Jeanette and her daughter killed by a letter bomb
– Artwork in remembrance of Jeanette Curtis

Tsakani Ratsela | Deputy Auditor-General

Tsakani Ratsela has become the first woman to be appointed to the position of deputy auditor general in the organisation’s 103-year history, the auditor general announced on Sunday.

“We are pleased to have a leader of Ratsela’s calibre in our midst,” said auditor general Kimi Makwetu in a statement. He said that Ratsela, a chartered accountant, had been working at the organisation as the leader of audit services. “Since joining our office, she has ably led our office’s efforts in building our national audit capabilities.” He said Ratsela’s appointment would come into effect on April 1, 2014.

The auditor general of SA – established in 1911 – is in charge of auditing and reporting on how the government spends public funds.

Kirsten McCann | Rowing Gold & Silver dedicated to Madiba

Kirsten McCann and the women’s coxless fours quartet were delighted with their performances on Monday after the rowing team bagged South Africa’s first medals of the World Student Games, which they immediately dedicated to ailing former President Nelson Mandela

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KirstenMcCann1Kirsten McCann and the women’s coxless fours quartet were delighted with their performances on Monday after the rowing team bagged South Africa’s first medals of the World Student Games, which they immediately dedicated to ailing former President Nelson Mandela.McCann held off Russian Olga Arkadova by alittle more than four seconds to win gold in the A final of the women’s lightweight singles sculls, crossing the line in 8:10.62, on day three of the Games in Kazan, Russia.

“This is awesome! It was such a hard race and she (Arkadova) pushed me so hard,” said McCann, who also won gold in her specialist event at last year’s World University Rowing Championships at the same venue.

“It’s not often you get to see the SA flag raised, so to show the world that South Africa is on top, and can compete at this level, is awesome.”
McCann said she had Mandela, who is in critical condition at a Pretoria hospital, on her mind throughout the race.

“My coach said to me that not many people get to wear SA colours and represent the country,” she said. “The first thing that came to my mind was Madiba and how we could make him proud. He suffered so much for us, and when I was feeling pain on the course, I knew that he felt so much more for us, to give us the freedom to race here. So he was in the back of my mind the whole race.”

McCann thanked University Sport South Africa (USSA) for assisting her in the build-up to the biennial event.

“This makes me so proud , after the support we got for these Games – the medical staff physios, doctors, and having the funds to get over here for preparation. It feels cool to be able to reward USSA for awarding us the opportunity, and give something back by putting SA on top of the world.”

Minutes after McCann crossed the finish line, the women’s coxless fours team – Claire-Louise Bode, Kate Christowitz, Holly Norton and Catherine Stark – secured the country’s second medal of the Games when they finished second in the A final of their event.

KirstenMcCann2

Kirsten McCann holding the SA flagThe SA quartet grabbed silver in 7:07.44, with Russia snatching the gold medal in 6:59.92.

“It was an incredible experience and I’ll definitely be back here next time if I’m still studying,” Christowitz said. “We all had an amazing race and we did the best we possily could have.”

The women’s fours team also stepped on the podium in honour of Madiba.
“He’s the father of our nation,” said Christowitz, “and there’s nothing more special than dedicating this medal to him.”

Sheila Kohler | Author

Sheila Kohler was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, the younger of two girls. Upon matriculation at 17 from St Andrew’s, with a distinction in history (1958), she left the country for Europe. She lived for 15 years in Paris, where she married, did her undergraduate degree in literature at the Sorbonne, and a graduate degree in psychology at the Institut Catholique. After rasing her three girls, she moved to the USA in 1981, and did an MFA in writing at Columbia.

In the summer of 1987, her first published story, “The Mountain”, came out in “The Quarterly” and received an O’Henry prize and was published in the O’Henry Prize Stories of 1988. It also became the first chapter in her first novel, “The Perfect Place”, which was published by Knopf the next year.

To date Sheila has written 13 books, the latest being “Dreaming for Freud”. She is also now blogging forPsychology Today. Follow this link to Sheila’s website for more on her books.

Lebo Modiba | Performer

Our very own Lebo Modiba performed at the 2012 Grahamstown Fest!!! Here is a link to their promo video for their play: “By The Apricot Trees.”

Melissa Whitecross | Young Scientist Award

18 January 2012 was the annual congress dinner of the South African Association of Botanists.  It was a very proud evening for the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand.
Melissa Whitecross (matriculated from St Andrew’s, 2006) presented an oral paper based on her Honours project at the congress.

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Melissa-5b18 January 2012 was the annual congress dinner of the South African Association of Botanists.  It was a very proud evening for the School of Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand.

Melissa Whitecross (matriculated from St Andrew’s, 2006) presented an oral paper based on her Honours project at the congress.  Honours, Masters, Doctoral and Postdoctoral candidates from around the country competed for the prestigious Young Scientist award, which is presented for the best paper delivered by someone under the age of 30. 33 young scientists received a distinction mark for their presentation, but Melissa was the top candidate with a mark well into the nineties.

CONGRATULATIONS, this is brilliant.  WELL DONE, Melissa — we are very proud of you and your achievement.
A big thank you to everyone in the school (academics, support staff and fellow students) who in so many ways support the efforts of your colleagues.  It is through this mutual support and collegiality that members of our school are able to achieve so highly.
Kind Regards
Kevin Balkwill, WITS

Dr. Madeline Masson-Raynor (nee Levy, 1924/1925)

She was born in Johannesburg in 1912 and educated at St Andrew’s School for Girs. She studied History and Philsophy at the Sorbonne in Paris. She has a Ph.D in Philosophy

Claire McEwen (nee Jackson, 1993)

Claire Jackson circumnavigated the world in 10½ months in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. She left Liverpool, UK, on 18th September 2005 and stopped in Portugal, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Singapore, the Philippines, China, Canada

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Claire Jackson circumnavigated the world in 10 ½ months in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race. She left Liverpool,UK, on 18th September 2005 and stopped in Portugal, Brazil, South Africa, Australia, Singapore, the Philippines,China, Canada, Mexico,Panama,Jamaica,New York, Jersey and arrived back in Liverpool on the 29th July 2006. The boat was called Durban Clipper and was sponsored by the city of Durban, South Africa.Craig Miller, from Durban, was their skipper.They came overall second out of 10 internationally sponsored boats in the race; the race being won by the Western Australian Clipper.There were 10 crew who did the whole race(including Claire) and others who did one, two or three legs only.Claire took a year out of working as a doctor to do the race.

She had been working as a GP in the UK. Claire is currently working in New Zealand.

Diary Excerpt

‘Steak, medium rare, please!’

In your dream, the waitress puts down a plate of calamari, grilled, served with rice and a lemon butter sauce. Your glass of sauvignon blanc is slightly chilled, creating streaks of condensation on the outside. Suddenly, the maitre ‘d (who sounds suspiciously like one of your crewmates) calls your name, saying ‘It’s that time again’. You wonder if he’s talking about the bill, but you open your eyes to see the white bulkhead of the boat above you. You hear the sound of water rushing past, the creak of the deck above you and feel the easy motion as Durban Clipper moves on the waves. You push the button that illuminates the face of your watch. It’s two thirty-eight AM!! No snooze button on this alarm clock, your crew mate is insistent that you reply and you grunt that you are awake. You peer over the side of your bunk to the sloping floor 5’ below- this will require a dismount worthy of Nadia Cominech!

You walk into the saloon, narrowly avoiding a kamikaze apple that is escaping from the netting holding his comrades, along with oranges and potatoes, in place above your head. The saloon looks like a cabaret dressing room, just with less glitz. The dim red light illuminates your crewmates in various states of dress, from tight leggings to full dry suits; the floor is littered with boots and socks. There is a low murmur of noise as they ask how everyone is and if everybody slept. Once on deck, you are handed a cup of tea that is slightly weak and insipid and also half full to prevent spillage, but you think it’s the best thing you’ve ever tasted. You are asked to check the trim of the headsail’s and stagger up to the heaving foredeck as though you’ve just had 10 tequila slammers in the time you’ve been awake. Despite this, your head feels the clearest it’s been in months, and even the dousing that you get from the freezing spray coming over the bow is invigorating thanks to your foul weather gear and trusty boots. You sit on the rail and lose count of how many shooting stars you see flying across the Milky Way in the darkness above you. For a few minutes you listen to the hasty breaths of dolphins each time they surface briefly alongside before speeding along next to the boat and then diving into the depths again. You spend some of the time chatting to your watchmates and some of the time pondering the fluorescence in the water rushing down the side of the boat and wondering how you got to be here in the first place.

Two hours later, the horizon starts to lighten and you know that dawn is about to break. You watch as an albatross glides past you, its majestic wingspan barely flinching as it glides just above the water. You think that it probably has quite a good philosophy on life: go with the flow and only flap if all other options have failed! There is a smattering of cloud on the horizon as the sun makes an appearance in a haze of pinks and reds. You spend half an hour on the helm surfing down waves, watching the speedometer rise and fall and thinking that life is pretty good.

A few hours later, a succession of red-clad bodies emerges from the hatch, blinking in the light, as if hatching for the first time from a darkened lair. Their voices are still bleary with sleep. You are cleared to go below and try to maintain your balance while you remove your foulies, boots, hat, scarf, two pairs of gloves, socks and midlayer. You vaguely wonder if Narnia lies at the back of the wet locker and then laugh at yourself for such abstract thoughts; however, it is 6am on day 18 and you use this as your excuse for such frivolity. You brush your teeth, spitting into the toilet, which thank goodness is now working. You toy with the idea of flossing, but realize that you haven’t eaten anything that vaguely required chewing in the last two and a half weeks and probably won’t for the next week, until land.

You prepare yourself to launch back into your bunk, waiting for the last heel of the boat on that side and realize once you’ve got there that you are wearing the same thermals that you have had on for the past 14 days. You use your self-made equation to check if this is acceptable: that is, number of days that the clothes have been worn multiplied by the average temperature both above and below decks, multiplied by the crewmate coefficient (number of crewmates who have commented on the smell in the previous 24 hours) and divided by motivation to get out of bed to change. You decide that you can probably wash later in the day if you get time, but for now, the next 3 hours, 36 minutes and 28 seconds are all yours. As you slowly drift off to sleep, your waitress asks how you would like your fillet steak with pepper sauce done. ‘Medium rare, please’ you reply… And a smile crosses your face!

Durban Clipper coming into Durban Harbour

Durban Clipper coming into Durban Harbour


Spinnaker from the top of the mast.

Spinnaker from the top of the mast.


Tropical Squall

Tropical Squall

Wet Weather Gear

Wet Weather Gear