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Wits on course to rename Mathematics Science Building

Chante Schatz
October09/ 2017

The Mathematical Science Building will be renamed in honor of the late mathematician, Thamsanqa Wilkinson Kambule.

WITS UNIVERSITY will rename the Mathematics Science Building on West Campus as T.W. Kambule Mathematical Sciences Building in honour of the late mathematician.

This comes just two weeks after Central Block on East Campus was officially renamed as Robert Sobukwe Block in honour of the late Pan Africanist Congress leader.

The motivation for the renaming came from the Faculty of Sciences, whose dean, Professor Ebrahim Momoniat, said, “One of the things that we as mathematicians were concerned about was that there were no role- models for students, who come from the black community.”

Thamsanqa Wilkinson Kambule became the senior tutor at the Department of Mathematics in 1987 and later became a member of Wits Council just two years later.

He was the first person to be awarded honorary membership of the Actuarial Society of South Africa. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Wits for his contribution to the education of mathematics in 1997 after he had retired in 1996.

“During apartheid there were so few people who pursued mathematics at a higher level, that if you were interested in mathematics you would have to get a tutor. He [Kambule] was one of the few people who tutored mathematics,” said Momoniat.

The Naming Committee confirmed the approval of the faculty’s proposal. According to chairperson of the committee, Professor Tawana Kupe, “The role of the Naming Committee is to receive nominations from the university community, discuss them and make a recommendation to the Wits Council which decides on whether a recommendation should be accepted or not. The Naming Committee’s recommendations also go through Senate,” said Kupe.

Mathematics Science Student Council Chairperson Omphemetse Lebeloane expressed his excitement at the change. “I feel very proud and happy. It is our wish that it does not end here.

“We believe that naming a building would help us as South African black people, to reclaim our pride. We must also be able to separate ourselves as an African institution in the world,” he added.

According to Momoniat, the new name will be put up on the building in 2018.


Wits VuvuzelaWits honors giant of anti-apartheid struggle, September 19, 2017

Wits Vuvuzela, Dismantling apartheid at Wits, February 11, 2017


Chante Schatz