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Jan 2011 :Letter from Nadede Serman

Hi Derek

Loving running my won business...hectic as it is! I focus on running large programs of work in Banking and Financial Services..M&As, change management, integrations website is … After working for Andersen Consulting in SA and here, I contracted for a little while and then figured out it was far more fun calling the shots (some things don't change!). I met up with Saul Berkowitz here in Sydney who told me he did the same course as me and we ended up reminiscing about the good old days with you, Mike and Steve :) I look forward to hearing your news and hope life is treating you very well

Kind regards


Oct 2010:Letter from Sebonyane Theletsane

Dear Prof Smith, Three years ago I asked you for an advise regarding which PM certification to pursue between PMP and PRINCE 2 and you advised me to do both. At first I thought this was an insurmountable task. In 2008 I wrote and passed PRINCE 2 Practitioner exams and on 28-09-2010 I wrote and passed PMP. I would like to thank you for raising the bar for me and your encouragement. The next step for me is to collect the PDUs and was wondering if you and or FTI could consider me for some part-time work in order for me to accommulate these PDUs. I am now based in Jhb working for one of the major banks as an IT PM. Please have a look at my updated cv and let me know your thoughts.

Kind regardsSebonyaneTheletsane

Oct 2009: Message from Malcolm Hall

Kevin / Derek

I thought that I'd drop you a quick note to express our continued appreciation for the relationship we have with your department. We have once again this year had a great experience with working with the student project teams and we have 7 of your 2009 Honours students joining us as graduates in 2010 including Amber, Milan, Ziyad, David, Jerome, Mylo and Ryan. In addition we are also looking at some IS students doing vac work with us during the year-end holiday. We are already seeing that 2010 will be a continuation of the high pace we have experienced in the latter part of 2009 and we look forward to the impact that each of these individuals will have.

I look forward to seeing you at the Expo.


Malcolm Hall

Open Box Software

26 March 2008: Message from: Tina Runeyi (2007)

Hi Derek

How are you doing? I hope UCT is still treating you well and the Honours class is keeping you on your toes. I thought I should send you an email to find out how things are and update you on the latest happenings in my career. I am working at Procter and Gamble at the SA Head office in Johannesburg. I am working as a Systems Manager. It�s a very interesting job and I am enjoying it a lot. My job mainly involves project management. All the seminars we did last year are definitely coming in handy, just the other day I was using Kotter�s Model for change management. Everything makes so much more sense now that I am using it in my work everyday.

Send my regards to the lecturers in the department. Keep up the good work you guys are doing, my Honours has definitely put me a step ahead of the other people that I joined the company with and this is evident in the quality of deliverables that I produce.

Kind Regards and many thanksTina Runeyi


23 October 2007: Message from: Jonathan Stein (2002)

(IS FT Honours graduate 2002)

HiI work for Foschini. Foschini has a manufacturing arm that manufactures approximately 60% of its clothing. I run the smart-casual manufacturing business. Very tough business especially with the quota from China. I'm still quite involved with IT, I run the IT strategy for the whole manufacturing business (known as TFGA - The Foschini Group Apparel Supply Co).

Hope you are well,


27 August 2007: Message from: Imtiaz Moola (2006)

Hi Kevin,

How are you doing? How are things going in the Information Systems Department?

I hope all is well and that the Honours students are having a fun time even through all the stress.... Cause I know I did!

I was just chatting to my colleague today telling him how well the IS Honours degree prepared me for the working world. I must say a big THANK YOU once again for assisting with making 2006 one great year. I really miss campus....although the money is one sure attraction to stay in the working world.

I hope the efforts to attract students to the Information Systems degree have been going well. Has there been a positive change in this regard?

All the best and I will be in touch....

Send my regards to all at the IS department.

Kind regardsImtiaz

ERNST & YOUNG RErnst & Young South Africa

Imtiaz MoolaAssociateRisk Advisory Services: Technology & Security Risk Services

16 August 2007 - Honours graduate from 2002: Fazlyn Petersen Samsodien

August 2007: Old Mutual SA's Female Entrepreneur Role Model Competition is won by Fazlyn!!

Fazlyn joined the Old Mutual Chief Information Office in February 2006 as part of the Accelerated Development and Mentorship in IT programme (ADMIT).The main objective of this programme is to accelerate employment equity growth across OMSA's IT community, by providing high quality thought and people leaders which would be successful in assuming senior management positions within the IT community over a period of time.

The Senior HR Consultant at Old Mutual says "Fazlyn became the IT Quality Manager a year ago and even though she had limited exposure Quality Management, she has introduced many changes in terms of the way the team works. Her dedication and passion is displayed inher drive to come up with whatever it takes to get the job done but also believes in the value of delegation and giving the team-challenging job to grow their talents and skills."

The Department of Information Systems Congratulates Fazlyn!!

17 April 2007: Message from: Jon Arnold (2005)

As far as myself and what I've been up to goes, well, you can see from the pretty little banner above that I have the grand job description of programmer (sounds scintillating doesn't it). Well it really is, because the company i work for, although small, and not terribly corporate, is one of the most cutting edge mobile development companies in South Africa. We've done work for Nokia Finland (We designed software, content and ringtones for their last two winter conferences), MTV Europe, Johnny Walker Singapore etc (half of my company are currently working out of Singapore for the next three months, and bouncing around between there and Sweden:)).

Anyway, the pay isn't great, but i get to work flexible hours, work with really creative people (there are five guys in our company, 2 illustrators/animators 2 programmers, 1 sound designer [thats part of my job as well as the development] and one producer) and work with really cutting edge technology which we get to mess around with in really creative ways which is fun:)

Enough rubbish from me though, all I want to say is how fantastically the whole honours thing and the way it taught me to think and approach problem solving has prepared me for working. Half the projects I've worked on I didn't know anything about the relevant technology before i started, but that degree helped me to come to grips with things relatively quickly, just because of the way it taught me to think.

My only gripe:), is that we weren't exposed to open source technology on a greater scale. The one thing that i have learnt in the last year, is that there's generally a commercial solution to a problem, and an open source one. On a Microsoft platform, there are very few products addressing certain problems which are open source. You have to pay for them. Students generally can't afford to pay for these products, and they can't mess with them and innovate because the source is closed. It's all very well to allow students freedom of choice regarding platforms when they do their honours project, but if all they've been exposed to is .net since year one; you can't expect them to know anything about LAMPP and it's general workings, how to admin a non Microsoft box, or how to get into something like Symbian OS or Python for S60 for example.

Otherwise Kevin, I hope this brief letter finds you in good health, and still challenging your students to think for themselves, the most important important skill that one can ever have, one which is sadly oft undervalued in the faculty of commerce. Thank you for drilling that message home whenever you taught us, and please whatever you do, keep your lessons as interesting an unpredictable as I remember them to be. Thank you so much for all your time and effort in teaching me.

Kind regards Jon Arnold 

August 2006 - Honours graduates from 2004: Spiro Malamoglou, Hagen Rode and Steven Langley: Running their own Businesses

Lima Bean (division of Intellinc Solutions (Pty) Ltd) W:

Lima Bean - Exceeding Expectations

Since leaving UCT I has been quite busy in the development of our company, Mindvate (pty) ltd. Together with Hagen Rode and Steven Langley, we have been working extremely hard to push our company as a provider of quality business solutions. Mindvate is the holding company for the three very unique businesses we run. They are:

Globalvoice This is our flagship product. It provides businesses with the ability to conference with up to 30 users from remote destinations using voice over IP (VOIP) and IRC technology. Users are able to dynamically share presentation material (powerpoint, word, excel, pdf and images) while annotating and talking in real time. Cutting edge technology, still developed in VB6, can you believe it.

Limabean - This is our custom development, graphic design, business solution and hosting company. Currently we are getting most of our business through this avenue of IT. There is such a high demand for these types of services in the industry.

Mailblaze - A permission based email marketing solution. Users can log into this web service and send their newsletters, brochures, event listing, etc. through this mass mailing solution. The power of such a solution is the report generation, we track exactly where and what happens with every mail.

 July 2006 - News from Terry Lu

Terry Lu (IS Masters in 2003) visited IS this morning. He works for Accenture in Taipei at the moment

and has just finished a 6m project in San Francisco on CRM followed by a 6m project in Beijing.

He is on a short holiday here (he calls it home).

Next project - Japan.

(Prof Smith)

 June 2006 - News from Stephen Linnell

Hi Prof(s),

All well here in Joburg (so long as you can squeeze in the odd flight to the Cape to maintain sanity).

Work has its ups and downs. I have been at JSE since leaving UCT. I am working on a large (+/- 3 year) project at the moment and enjoy the challenges coming with it. My roles have thus far been very functional, so not much Tech interaction (although as of today I have been made the project architect). The JSE listed this morning which was a bit of a highlight, and although we had little to do with it, I did manage to get searched for bombs this morning which adds to the excitement of an otherwise tame day ;-).

The aspect I have missed most whilst working...believe it of not - is THINKING!! Although the work has been stressful and hard, there is little avenue for letting the mind wonder and contemplate unrelated things...which for good or bad is all I did at UCT

So I hope all is well there. I have bumped into a few guys working at Accenture who studied under the two of you...quite nice are both becoming some what of an institution ;-).

Next time I'm in CT during the week I'll pop by, say hi, and see how the IS department has swelled.

Keep well and chat soon


 May 2006 - News from Ruwanga

Hi Elsje,

At the moment I work for JP Morgan Investment Bank as a Testing Analyst.

A requirement of my IS Honours degree at UCT, was to write a thesis on Software Testing. This thesis was presented at a conference and subsequently published. Two years later, JP Morgan were looking for testing experts and a basic Google search on the Internet revealed the published paper on the thesis. I was called in for an interview, given an impromptu quiz on some of the technical aspects of testing, offered the job, and the rest is history. Although it had been more than 3 years since I wrote the thesis, the dept and scope of knowledge provided by the UCT IS curriculum (as well as the lecturers), had given me such a solid knowledge base that answering technical questions in the interview was easy.

A good thing about the UCT Information Systems curriculum is that as well as giving you solid theoretical knowledge; it also provides you with the necessary practical skills to research and learn new technologies and identify current trends in the IT industry. The practical experience gained from the various projects and thesis gives you an excellent foundation when you are required to problem-solve in the workplace. Problem solving ability is always recognized and highly appreciated by management.

Although I never realized at the time, an IS degree from UCT is considered a tremendous asset by the serious employers. The UCT IS degree is on par with world standards I know because everything I do has to meet the prescribed JP Morgan New York standards in terms of using recognized principles and processes, and for me its what Ive been doing at UCT all along anyway - so its no big deal.

Some of my non-UCT colleagues sometimes find it difficult to meet the required standards. I finally realize what all the fuss about documentation was for :-) and I firmly believe that I got the best possible head start in my career from the IS Department at UCT.

I will always be thankful to UCT IS Department for giving me the necessary skills sets because the difference between UCT graduates and graduates from other universities is sometimes blatantly obvious in the workplace.


February 2006 - News from Evan Castle

Hi Dr Hart,

I hope you are well and your new year thus far has been successful. Currently I am studying at the University of Tel Aviv as I was awarded a bursary to study at the business school here; I am doing a Masters in Management Science and Organisational Behavior. Although a large section of my course is in English all my lectures are in Hebrew as you can imagine it can be tough to be studying in your 3rd language at times. However I seem to be doing well so far and the school has great opportunities to study abroad for a few months. It seems the business school is well respected around Europe and the United States. This is the reason I am contacting you. I am currently applying to do a semester at the London School of Economics and a few other universities.

The reason I am especially keen to study at the LSE is a number of professors at the Institute of Social Psychology do research in areas of information system obviously focusing on the psychological aspects of these fields, such as cognitive science.  I see this is an opportunity to bridge both my backgrounds in Information systems and psychology. I am especially interested in the social psychology of decision support systems, and how people represent and perceive information within an organization. Between 2003-2004 I was a data analyst working at CapitalOne Bank in Johannesburg. The banks business strategy is information driven, and all analysis and development is based on mining their databases. I felt it was a modern and successful approach to business and I guess in a way sparked this interest too. I wanted to know if I could still put you down as an academic referee? I require two references, one of the professors here, who completed their Ph.D at the LSE kindly offered to stand as a reference. I would really appreciate your support as well.

If you are interested to see more details about the academic staff at the Institute of Social Psychology, I have listed the link below. The two members that really interested me were Dr Andy Wells and Prof Patrick Humphreys.


Evan Castle


January 2006 - News from Anita Morar

Hi Derek

How are you doing? I thought it might be nice to update you on what is happening with me. I am living and working in Slough in the UK for Progress Software. Progress Software is a global organisation with over 60 offices all around the world. Our corporate headquarters is in the US. We sell a technology suite (including a database, a language and development tools, app servers and web-enabling software) which makes it possible for customers to create and manage a variety of business applications.

I have been working here since March, and really enjoy what I am doing. I am not doing your typical IS graduate type job. I was hired to do telemarketing for the company with the view of progressing to a sales role. Since I was hired, they hired another telemarketer who incidentally is also a South African, and we get on really well.

A couple of months back a Marketing manager was hired, and she has now asked me to clean up the customer data within the UK. This is quite interesting work as I have to work with our internally developed systems, and find out where this information is kept. I am using Corvu to develop queries to extract this informationI think this is where the many hours of getting SQL queries provided me with the knowledge to pick it up quickly!  I have come to realise that a businesss data is the most important thing to keep the business going and allow us to send the right messages to our customers. It is important that the data is up to date and clean (which our data is not, and I am trying to remedy this situation). 

Highlights of my year include being sent to Boston for training; whilst I was out there, I took some time off and went to see the lights of New York for a week which was brilliant. I have also been sent to our European HQ in Rotterdam for more training, which was a really good experience too. I received an email from Kevin this morning inviting me to the IS Honours Expo, and I couldnt believe where this year has flown to, it feels like yesterday when we had our IS expo and when SD was handed in. I am convinced that time goes a lot quicker in the northern hemisphere! 

I hope that you are keeping well, and are looking forward to a good summer!

Kind Regards,


November 2005 - Some news from Rene Knight

Subject: Hello from Cisco

Hello Elsje,I'm sorry I haven't got in touch with you since I told you I was successful in obtaining a position with Cisco Systems!Just wanted let you know that if any of the current graduates are interested Cisco offers an internship for anyone with a degree looking for a networking/sales internship. The link below is where they will find information on how to apply.

The enrollment is currently closed but should open again in January 06.

Cisco is a fantastic company to work for and the opportunity I have to learn, work and play in Amsterdam as part of the associate sales representative program in the Sales Academy is really outstanding.

I attribute my success in obtaining this position to the education I received with you all at UCT. I just want to commend you all on the exceptional "real" world curriculum that is provided by the Information Systems department. Every component of the curriculum (besides Thinking about Business) was beneficial to providing me with the competitive advantage over applicants with MBA's, masters and some with at least two degrees!!! Of 25 candidates 4 were chosen and I was one of them! I couldn't believe how much presentation skills were necessary for the real world, but alas - most of the day long assessments required team work presentations and individual presentations!

I am really glad that I chose the UCT Information Systems Degree - look where I am now! I am working with one of the leaders in the Internet and IP services. I am getting exposure to a diverse global learning environment and earning a fantastic salary within a year of graduating. Cisco's channel partners include Microsoft, IBM, Dimension Data etc and meeting and chatting to CFO's, CIO's, CEO's (not often) and other members of big organisations is fantastic.

I still have 8 months to go and I cant wait to be a certified Sales rep at the end...some much opportunity, some little time.

I hope you are enjoying the new and old students and my ex-class-mates are not giving you too many grey hairs.

All the best, and

Take care,Rene KnightAssociate Sales Representative

 Aug 2005 - Some news from Kaz B.Sc in Computer Science, B.Com. Honours in IS (2004)

Some comments from Kaz:  

I switched to IS from computer science because I felt there was a gap between the technology and the people using it, especially in business. I wanted to be working in this gap between technology and people. I studied computer science at school and choose computer science over IS at university because of the perception of it being more rigorous. This perception was due to a misunderstanding of the difference between the two fields. IS has as much rigour as computer science, it just has a different focus. In many ways it is more challenging because of the people focus. Whats important is to realize that the two complement one another; whereas one focuses on developing the technology, the other focuses on the people that will use the technology."


July 2005 - Some news from Lia Gough (Hons 2004)

I saw Derek's name included in Nicole's London bombing e-mail and it reminded me to let you know what's happening here in SA too - not such drama thank goodness!

I accepted a position in the Products Operating Group at Accenture, but made sure not to start too early - I got in a wonderful 4 months holiday, during which I backpacked through Argentina for a month, got more than my fair share of relaxing on the beach at the family holiday spot in the Eastern Cape and then went on to explore the Transkei for a few weeks before a leisurely last month enjoying Cape Town!

Finally at the end of Feb I moved up to Joburg to start training at Accenture. After 3 weeks training I did some bits and pieces at the Head Office and at the beginning of April got posted on my first project - in Cape Town!

I'm working at Woolies, doing system testing at the moment and starting the preparation for integration testing. It is amazing to realise the scope of these projects and how huge the impact really is. I'm working with a great team, a nice mix of Woolies employees & contractors and the handful of us from Accenture - it is generally a very supportive environment which makes a huge difference when you're in it every day.

March 2005 - Shih-Ya Huang

One of our honours students of 2004, Shih-Ya Huang, was one of this country's leading female participant's in fencing. See the previous NEWS. She again excelled in 2004:

'The good news is that I won at Senior Nationals last year to become the South African National Ladies' Epee Champion of 2004. It was my moment of ultimate triumph: I worked my way to the finals by beating the four members of the team that went to Athens.' Now that says a lot!!

Shih-Ya is currently applying to the University of Taiwan to do her masters at the start of their new academic year in September.

February 2005 - Martin Doens

Martin Doens, an exchange student from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, recently completed his masters study in Electronic Commerce, under the supervision of Dr Eric Cloete. He spent six months of his study year (2004) at UCT, gathering material for the thesis 'The Current State of B2B E-Marketplace Adoption in South African Agriculture'. Martin graduated with distinction.

Congratulations from all of us at Information Systems, UCT!

Below is part of the e-mail from Martin:

Hello Eric,

Well, I graduated on Thursday! Everything went nice and smoothly, and there was plenty of good champagne afterwards.. Mr Ribbers asked me to stay connected to Tilburg university, which I probably will. Of course it would also be nice to keep the connections with UCT alive, and keep in touch.. Mr Ribbers agreed with that..

All the pictures that were taken during my presentation and afterwards are attached to this email. Until the 1st of march when I start at Accenture, I have a nice job on a project in Eindhoven which gets the whole neighbourhood I live in connected to a broadband glass fiber network..

So, nothing but good news from Eindhoven. Hopefully all is well in Cape Town as well!

Regards, Martin

November 2004 - David Laing

Hi Mike, Derek & Eric

I blinked, and suddenly Ive spent almost as much time working as I did achieving my IS degree in 2000! So far its been an interesting ride; Ive been through my first bankruptcy, started my own companies, and now find myself living and working in London.

Lucid Communications is a small London based new media company that delivers training materials into the UK railway industry. We specialise in the web, but also deliver content by video, newsletter, and on CDROM. Im the technical director its my role to provide the IT infrastructure and development resources to support the communications.

The company is growing, and were looking for someone to support my role. Which brings me to the purpose of this email; Im hoping you can put me in touch with some recent graduates eager to come to the UK; who might be interested.

Initially were looking at a 6 month internship; which may turn into a full time position if the match is good. Given that the company is small and entrepreneurial; an enthusiastic person would have the opportunity to dabble in all aspects of running a small IT business, from the finances through to sales through to server administration. It would be fantastic training for someone who envisages themselves running their own company at some future stage.

The ideal candidate would have the following technical skills:

* HTML coding skills are a must* Experience with ASP.NET and/or PHP. A desire to do more programming would be advantageous

Would you be as kind as to pass this email along to anyone who you think might be interested.

Many thanks

David Laing

Lucid CommunicationsT: 020 7575 3280M: 07793 742 792

October 2004 - Gareth Bailey:

Dear Derek,

I hope all is going well with the marking of system development projects. Please find a summary of Ubersoft's involvement in the Small Business Week event attached, as requested. You mentioned that you would like to put it up on the IS site to show the progress that we have made as a new IT start-up a couple months out of your IS Honours programme.

Please let us know when the public presentations for the projects are taking place - we're interested in taking a look.

Thanks Derek.

Kind regards,Gareth Bailey

Ubersoftweb: 021 674 1081

Small Business Week, hosted by the City of Cape Town and the Provincial Government of the Western Cape, is a high-profile SMME support showcase. Small Business Week 2004 is set to present at least R100M of tangible business opportunities directly to SMMEs by facilitating access to Finance, Business partnerships and Capacity building. The event consists of an Exhibition with Government, Parastatals, Private Corporations, and Business Development Service Providers as well as Business Support Seminars.

Ubersoft was commissioned to handle all website and database development for the event. The website was built to provide a platform from which to market the event, and facilitate efficient event coordination and management. Registration of exhibitors, sponsors and attendees is handled through the website, which also provided facilities to generate management reports for each of these areas, through a password protected administration section. The adminstration section is also used internally to coordinate the various sub-events e.g. the press-lunch launch of Small Business Week.

An online meeting schedule was created for each exhibitor, allowing attendees to book meetings with the exhibitors via the website (from the beginning of September 2004). This meeting system is to be used extensively during the event itself to coordinate the business linkages programme, and facilitate the ultimate event goal of bringing together big and small business. 

September 2004 - Bishnen Tisani:

Prof Smith and Prof Licker,

You will both be pleased to know that I completed my MSc at the London School of Economics. Finally. The results are out and I'm proud to say that I have represented South Africa and the University of Cape Town reasonably well. Competition was high and although I had been aiming for a distinction for graduation (missed it by 2%) I am nonetheless pleased with my Merit.

Kind regards to you both and I can send you a copy of the report if interested it was titled "Software Exportation: South Africa's Suitability to the World Market".

All the best,Bishnen Tisani

Aug 2004 - Yacoob Manjoo:

Dear Dr Cloete

Just wanted to let you know that I got a business analysis internship at an I.T. company in town. They specialise in e-business solutions, and so far the work has been pretty good (this is my 3rd week) .

Anyway, thanks for being 1 of my references, and I hope all is well in the I.S. department.

July 2004 - Anthony Fellowes:

Im currently working with Nicholas Kotze and Gareth Lennox under their company Dwakn Consulting. We share offices with our partner company, Saratoga Technologies, in the Greenwich Grove office block here in Rondebosch. My job title at the moment is Project Manager, but spend most of my time as a developer. We handle Saratogas infrastructure, and spend a lot of time working on projects which they pass on to us. The main one of which is the Saratoga Utility Management System, which has recently gone live for one of our clients in the states. 

You can see our products and read other information about Dwakn on our website,

June 2004 - I moved to London in February and have experienced a tough four months trying to find a job. Fortunately I have just secured a job with Harvey Nichols in London working as a junior business systems analyst. I am going to be doing a lot of Web work on the company intranet and work on major projects to revamp enterprise wide systems like time and attendance.

This is a dream come true for me and I have enjoyed my first week of work for this company very much. I would like to thank you and everyone in the department for helping me achieve this goal. I think that the IS degree at UCT is world class. Christian Astl

June 2004 - Bishnen Tisani, an ex-UCT Information Systems Honours student, is currently completing her MSc at the London School of Economics in Information Systems.

May 2004 - Clip from the email of Keith du Plessis:

I don't know if this is a first for the IS Hons programme but Ann Burgoyne (1996) and myself were married in Cape Town in December. On second thought, Sean Manley and Tania Forlee beat us to it by about 6 months! So there you go, more than just an IS programme. Our wedding was great and we enjoyed catching up with some old Hons friends including Mark Tudor (who I work with from time to time), Lance Williams, Brett Yarlett, Tania Forlee (Ann's Bridemaid) and Sean Manley,  Stephen Tredrea (my Best Man), Vanessa Kopke and of course my sister, Cathy.