sails into the sunset

Indaba 2019 was an unforgettable event thanks to the team at the Quality Enhancement Office, including Tommy Pietersen, Johanna Müller, Antoinette Vermeulen and Johan Erasmus.

Watch this video to see staff members enjoying the last Indaba.

An era has ended. When 2019 drew to a close, staff of the NWU had the final opportunity to attend the annual Indaba.



Remembering the team spirit

Johanna Müller says she will remember the last Indaba for the wonderful team spirit and positive attitudes of all involved. “One could feel the spirit of Ubuntu. It gave me goosebumps to see how the whole audience sang together at the end. For me it was proof of the breakthrough that was made to unite staff from all our campuses.”

After the Indaba, it was clear that great progress was made to build the unitary character of the NWU, she says. “There are enough staff members who want the university to be successful and they are willing to give everything to achieve it.”

Although the Indaba is no more, the team at the Quality Enhancement Office promises that there will be new initiatives this year to fill the gap.


The last Indaba was facilitated by popular NWU staff members, Corneels Schabort (centre) and GP van Rheede van Oudsthoorn (right), who dressed as carnival characters. With them is Rudi van der Merwe.



The Quality Enhancement Office, which hosted the event, announced beforehand that the 2019 Indaba would be the last of its kind.

The enormously popular Indaba had a rich eight-year history and leaves a lasting legacy among academics and support staff. It gave them food for thought and an open platform for discussion on how to overcome challenges in creating an optimal working environment.

The Indaba was the brainchild of Johanna Müller, former quality manager for support services, who retired at the end of last year. Under her guidance, the team at the Quality Enhancement Office ensured that the final Indaba ended on a high note: they hosted a carnival where staff could play games, enjoy the spirit of camaraderie and reflect on what the Indaba had meant to them.

The last Indaba was the biggest ever with more than 200 staff members attending.

Excellent themes and expert speakers

Through the years, the Indaba presented various themes relevant to general work matters. These included discussions on collegiality and professionalism, ethics, good communication and also specific NWU matters such as difficulties implementing changes linked to restructuring, and the relationship between academic and support staff.

To understand the Indaba’s effectiveness in motivating and supporting staff over the years, look no further than the themes. These included “Pursuit of excellence: Staying up in an upside-down customer world”; “Life is tough, but I’m tougher”; “Success in the workplace – meerkat style” and “Super support.”

Some of the expert speakers who educated, motivated and entertained participants were organisational psychologist Dorianne Weil, professional speaker and meerkat expert Estienne de Beer, and Prof Deon Rossouw of the Ethics Institute of South Africa.

Staff also had the opportunity to learn from esteemed current and former lecturers such as Prof Susan Coetzee van Rooy, Dr Johann (Jabu) de Jager, Prof Alfred Henrico, Dr Ina Rothman, Corneels Schabort and GP van Rheede van Oudsthoorn.