Featuring in the Science and Technology category, Dr Aurelia Williams was selected for her work in the HIV metabolomics field, investigating the impact of the virus and its treatment on the host’s metabolism.

Recognition all the sweeter for being unexpected


Hard work, consistency, dedication and a positive attitude are the main ingredients of Dr Aurelia William’s recipe for success.


She was selected from approximately 6 000 people for the Mail & Guardian's 200 Young South Africans list for 2019, and features in the Science and Technology category.


Her research includes investigating the effect of certain genetic traits and the immune response on HIV/Aids disease development and progression.


Aurelia has been working for the NWU for three years and before that did her postdoctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco.


Academics earn well-deserved external recognition

Four trailblazers and change-makers in their respective research fields have held the NWU’s name high, receiving external recognition for being the best of the best.

Prof Elvis Fosso-Kankeu has received an NSTF-South32 award, also known as a “Science Oscar”, while the Southern African Accounting Association (SAAA) has bestowed a lifetime achievement award on Prof Susan Visser.


In addition, Dr Aurelia Williams from the subject group Biochemistry and Dr Musawenkosi Saurombe, NWU alumna and former postdoctoral research fellow, are featured in this year’s Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans list.

Prof Elvis Fosso-Kankeu from the School of Chemical and Minerals Engineering has been working for the NWU for six years. He says this award will earn him more credibility and respect from his peers.

Science Oscar is the fruit of collaboration


At the recent NTSF-South32 awards, which are the largest and most distinguished awards for science, engineering, technology and innovation in South Africa, Prof Elvis Fosso-Kankeu won the Engineering Research Capacity Development Award. This was in recognition of his research on improving water quality in the country.


His particular interest is research in communities affected by extreme water scarcity and pollution, as well as innovative technologies to assist the power industry to minimise their water footprint by ensuring a zero liquid-effluent discharge.


“The category that I was nominated in was extremely competitive, and I am truly honoured to have received this prestigious award, which is the result of joint efforts with my students and collaborators,” he says.


“I urge researchers not to work in isolation, but to collaborate with their peers to reach greater heights.”




Prof Susan Visser is the manager for academic grants in the offices of the deputy vice-chancellors for research and innovation, and teaching and learning. She says she appreciates the recognition for her efforts to train accountants and for the research she has conducted in the accounting sciences over the years.

A lifetime of sharing expertise


With more than 42 years of experience in the academic sphere, it is no surprise that Prof Susan Visser has left a lasting impression among internal and external stakeholders.


Her lifetime achievement award from the SAAA acknowledges her for her outstanding contribution to the accounting industry during the past four decades.


Susan, a former dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences, is no stranger to receiving awards. During her career, she has received four national awards and one international award from different organisations for her contribution to teaching and learning, as well as research, in the accounting sciences.


Susan holds six qualifications from the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, obtaining her highest qualification, a DCom in management accounting and finance, in 1983.





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Dr Musawenkosi Saurombe features the Education category. She says she is humbled and honoured that her efforts to make a difference in this world have been acknowledged.

Hard work pays off


In 2017, when Dr Musawenkosi Saurombe graduated from the NWU at the age of 23, she became the youngest woman on the African continent to obtain a PhD.


After obtaining her PhD in industrial psychology, she joined the university as a postdoctoral research fellow in 2017.


She recently assumed the position of senior lecturer at the University of the Free State.


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