for tomorrow



A LEADING newspaper editor is among those who will receive a top award at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s annual Alumni Awards function on Friday, 30 October 2015.

Business Day editor-in-chief and author of Raising the Bar: Hope and Renewal in South Africa, Songezo Zibi, will receive a Rising Star Alumni Award at an event that aims to acknowledge the work of alumni who have made a difference in their communities and beyond.

The NMMU Public Relations (PR) Management graduate started his career as an intern in corporate communications at Volkswagen South Africa in 1998, running the company newsletter. Today, he is one of the youngest newspaper editors in South Africa.

Zibi’s skills as a VW intern were quickly noticed, and he was promoted to that of the public relations officer for the company’s motorsport division, before taking over as PR manager for the VW brand in Southern Africa.

In 2006, he joined Xstrata (now Glencore Xstrata) as Communications Manager and became a member of the   company’s Executive Committee and Social Ethics Committee in 2010.

He has authored opinion articles for various national publications on politics, political economy and ethics.  In June 2013, he joined Financial Mail as Senior Associate Editor and last year, he was appointed as editor of Business Day.

His book is now in its second print run.

Also receiving awards in the Rising Star category are Gugu Nxiweni, Prof Nkqubela Ruxwana, Ruan Viljoen and Zanele Mdodana.

Nxiweni was internationally honoured asa Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and nationally recognised by the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants (SAICA)  as one of the “top 35 under-35 Chartered Accountants (SA)”. In addition, he was named in Destiny Man Magazine's “Power of 40” report.

After graduating from NMMU with as BCom Hons (Accounting) in 2002, Nxiweni devoted two years to building up the Emmanuel Haven HIV/Aids NGO. The model he developed and implemented resulted in the NGO receiving numerous awards, including winning the “health category” award in London’s World Leadership Awards in 2007.  Currently, through the Improvate Group, Nxiweni is spearheading the turnaround strategy of the Emmanuel Haven project  for the benefit of Motherwell and the wider Bay community.

In Nelson Mandela Bay in 2013, Nxiweni became the youngest recipient of the Honours Tie award (awarded by SAICA trainee accountants of Port Elizabeth) in recognition of his contribution towards the Chartered Accountancy profession. In 2012, he featured among the Nelson Mandela Bay Business Chamber’s “Top 40 under 40”, the same year in which he was recognised as one of the Inaugural Rising Star Finalist as Top 4 in Finance and Accounting.

Prof Lennox Nkqubela Ruxwana was just 26 when he completed his PhD in Information Technology in 2010. Six years later, he is an Associate Professor at Tswane University of Technology in Pretoria – a world away from the rural village of Qumbu where he was raised.

Ruxwana has extensive industry experience in domains such as business analysis, strategy, project management, business intelligence, enterprise architecture, ICT for Development (ICT4D) and health informatics (which is a specialisation linking IT and healthcare to improve patient care).

He has worked for major companies, like Telkom, Vodacom, Nedbank and also the Department of Trade and Industry.

Some of his many awards include M&G Young South African 2015 Award, Best Paper Presentation Award at the International Association for Development of the Information Society (IADIS) conference in 2011, an International Development Research Centre (IDRC) PhD research grant on ICT for development in 2010, Best Employee Spotlight Award in 2008, 2005 and 2004 and the best manager award in 2012 and 2013.

Another recipient is Ruan Viljoen, a vice-president of Engineering at ACI Worldwide – a global company with 4500 employees, 5000 clients and an annual revenue exceeding US$1 billion – where he plays a leading role in product development of ACI's Merchant Retail, Payment Risk Management and Mobile solutions.

Ruan, who completed his BCom (Computer Science and Information Systems) cum laude in 2000, is responsible for managing and growing ACI's development centre in Cape Town, focusing on the Postilion product suite for retailers and financial institutions, used by 14 of the leading retailers globally. Within his portfolios, he manages a team of about 250 people, working in South Africa, India, Russia, Romania, United States of America and the Netherlands.

Viljoen is a member of NMMU’s Industry Advisory Board and an invaluable partner of NMMU’s Computing Sciences Department. For the past four years he has sponsored a visit by the top graduate from this department to ACI’s Cape Town offices. He was also instrumental in facilitating a once-off   R80 000 sponsorship, which went towards revamping the Department’s Honours lecture venue into a 20 PC laboratory, improving the teaching of honours modules.

He has secured ACI funding for four undergraduate bursaries worth R300 000 a year for top students across South Africa, and his company has employed many Computing Sciences graduates over the years.

Earlier this year, he was awarded the Department’s prestigious “Industry Ambassador Award” for his ongoing support.

Sportswoman Zanele Mdodana is a former national netball player and captain who was listed among the Mail and Guardian’s “200 Young South Africans” for 2014.  Last year also saw her being named a sports star ambassador by the Sport for Good Hope Foundation, and she was honoured as a South African Sport Heroine by Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula.  

Her own sporting achievements includes captaining the Spar Protea Netball Senior Team from 2012 to 2013, participating in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014, New Delhi in 2010 and Melbourne in 2006, as well as the Netball World Cup in Singapore in 2011. She was South Africa’s Netball Player of the Year in 2009. 

She played for the Eastern Cape Comets Netball Team from 2007 to 2009, captaining the team in 2009. That same year, she received the Eastern Cape Sportswoman of the Year Premier’s Award. Mdodana is also an ambassador for the renowned sporting organisation the Laureus Sport For Good Hope Foundation.

Awards will be made in three categories: Rising Stars, Special Awards and Alumni Achievers.

Enquiries can be directed to Liscka Hendricks on

Songezo Zibi

Prof Lennox Ruxwana

Gugu Nxiweni

Zanele Mdodana

Ruan Viljoen

Contact information
Ms Roslyn Baatjies
Media Liaison Practitioner
Tel: 041-5042777